“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” — Bob Marley
Where Things Stand with the Theofanidis Situation
It only took a matter of minutes for the news of Greek national champion Lefteris Theofanidis’drug breach to shoot across social media and ignite myriad debates on how it’s going to play out.
One big thing: While it may seem that a positive drug test represents case closed, it’s actually not. He not only has a right to appeal, but he is exercising that right, a process that can take quite some time to fully fetter out. For more on that, read my lengthy behind the sceneslook inside the testing facility and what it looks like to test an athlete’s B sample.
It took more than two months to conclude Anna Fragkou’s positive test case last summer. It was a month after her initial test (August 2) that I observed her B sample test (September 5). It was another month before those results were released.
Long story short, this is going to take a little more time to conclude and a lot depends on what happens in the B sample test and any other parts of the appeal that are considered (supplement testing, etc.).
If past is prologue, however, Theofanidis will likely receive some kind of sanction and now we have to consider how that affects the CrossFit Games qualification process.
What might happen to the Greek national champion spot: The CrossFit Games rulebook is pretty clear how HQ will handle backfilling national champions; that is they will only backfill in a team scenario.
Section 4.02: “CrossFit, Inc. will only backfill a national champion spot if the national champion decides to compete as a member of a team that will be competing at the Games.”
A close reading of this section makes it fairly clear: “will only backfill…if the national champion decides” to go team.
If HQ did decide to backfill, the spot would go to Giorgos Karavis.
How this affects the Open leaderboard: The short answer is that it has zero effect on the Open leaderboard. A lot of scenarios began circulating immediately following the announcement, but the blue line marking the top 20 doesn’t move up or down. Here’s why:
There are only 20 athletes who can qualify via worldwide Open placement.
Theofanidis qualified as a national champion, not in the top 20.
If Theofanidis is disqualified, it doesn’t create a 21st spot.
Here’s another way to consider this: Currently there are eight national champions in the original top 20 (pre-backfill), that’s why the line extended to Ben Smith. Remove all eight of those national champions, Ben Smith is still the 20th placed athlete worldwide. Note: since three top 20 athletes have declined their individual spots, three additional non-national champions were added to complete the top 20, with the 20th spot currently going to Brent Fikowski.
Where things stand: It will probably take at least another month for the appeals process to conclude. From a close reading of the rulebook it seems clear that there won’t be a backfill in the Greek national champion race, but we won’t find for a while.
On the Sixth Anniversary: How CrossFit Saved Kevin Ogar’s Life and How He’s Given Back
On January 11, 2014, Kevin Ogar competed in a fitness competition (not sanctioned by CrossFit HQ) and went from completing an ordinary snatch — 235 pounds, lightweight compared to his one-rep max of 300 — to being paralyzed from the belly button down (T10 Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury).
Ogar was an emerging CrossFit competitor, a three-time CrossFit Regionals athlete who stood 6-foot-3 inches tall and weighed 210 pounds. An unsafe layout around his lifting platform resulted in a ricocheting barbell that bounced into his lower back, immediately severing his spine.
“I survived because of how fit I was due to CrossFit,” says Ogar. “I had an 85 percent chance of dying. They told me what got me through it was my red blood cell count was so high and so efficient that I could lose the blood during surgery, but my body was able to utilize the oxygen I had left more efficiently.”
After his surgery and 11 days in the Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, California, Ogar transferred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado — a rehabilitation hospital specializing in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
In just three weeks, with the blessing of his physical therapist, Ogar was back at the CrossFit box where he had previously trained. Just to move and start playing around with weights — very light weights at first.
Ogar’s wheels started to turn. Small lifts became bigger lifts. He began to connect with other wheelchair users and build community momentum.
Ogar opened his own CrossFit Affiliate, CrossFit Watchtower, and became a “red shirt” CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff member. CrossFit released a documentary on him in 2017 called Will of Steel.
Since then, Ogar has continued to exceed expectations, accomplish his goals and give back to his community:
Ogar Represented Team USA at the World Para Powerlifting Championship.
He coaches dozens of wheelchair users and adaptive athletes at his gym.
He’s a seminar staff member of Adaptive Training Academy.
Ogar is a head judge and coach for WheelWOD.
He continues to work Level 1 CrossFit Seminars.
He’s a board member of The Reveille Project [TRP] — a non-profit organization helping to restore veterans’ lives post active duty.
“I always felt my purpose in life was to help people, whether it be to coach or train them,” he said. “My injury has positively affected my ability to help others. I’ve been able to reach and help more people than I ever thought possible. I feel I was put in this wheelchair because I was supposed to help other people.”
What keeps Ogar motivated and inspired are the other wheelchair athletes he gets to work with, “What inspires me to go on is seeing the progress in my athletes as they achieve what they thought they could no longer do.”
Ogar has recently married the love of his life, Shannon Ogar, and continues to coach, teach, train and inspire others.
Logan Aldridge is co-founder, with Alec Zirkenbach, of the Adaptive Training Academy, an education-focused organization dedicated to providing adaptive fitness knowledge to trainers, coaches, therapists, and athletes. Adaptive Training Academy strives to make fitness training accessible and inclusive for everyone, regardless of disability, by providing real-world guidance that is practical and universally usable.
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Breathwork, Exposure Therapy, and Mindset with Robert van der Heyden
In this episode of A Fresh Cup of Fitness, hosts Jessica Danger and Brittany Marsh welcome Robert van der Heyden, who shares the benefits of breathwork, cold exposure, and mindset training. If you take just one thing from this episode: If you can do Murph, you can do an ice bath.
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