Wodapalooza Leads the Way for Inclusive Competitions
February 19 POWERED BY
Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. The big news today is that we are partnering with the Lowlands CrossFit Throwdown and the Reykjavík CrossFit Championship, bringing the total number of official media partnerships between the Morning Chalk Up and Sanctional events to ten. And, Wodapalooza is coming up this weekend and it’s the most inclusive event for adaptive athletes in the sport. Today:
Official release: Morning Chalk Up partners with Lowlands CrossFit Throwdown and the Reykjavík CrossFit Championship.
Wodapalooza offers the most inclusive field in CrossFit, the team from Adaptive Training Academy has more.
“There’s no substitute for hard work. If you work hard and prepare yourself, you might get beat, but you’ll never lose.” — Nancy Lieberman
Reykjavik, Lowlands Added as Official Media Partners
Today, the Morning Chalk Up announced that two additional Sanctionals have been added as official media partners, bringing the total tally to 10 Sanctionals for the 2019-2020 season. These media partnerships give fans and followers increased access to sport coverage at these ten events as well as access to watch livestreams on the Morning Chalk Up’sYouTube channel when available.
Reykjavik CrossFit Championship — April 3-5, 2020
CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown — May 29-31, 2020
“Both Reykjavik CrossFit Championship and CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown have emerged as premier events in the Sanctionals circuit,” said Justin LoFranco, Morning Chalk Up’s Founder and CEO. “We’re excited to bring CrossFit fans access and coverage from the sidelines of Reykjavik and The Netherlands.”
What this means for CrossFit fans.
Already this season, these media partnerships have given fans exclusive access to behind the scenes footage and interviews at these sanctioned events, with dozens of videos and full livestream coverage of events.
Each Sanctional will have custom coverage in their own event content hub with livestream embeds (as available), live updated leaderboard, stories and interviews.
To get in touch with Morning Chalk Up about being an official media partner, please contact Justin LoFranco.
Wodapalooza Leads the Way for Inclusive Competitions
Wodapalooza (WZA) was the first major functional fitness competition, and the only CrossFit Sanctional, to officially support an inclusive opportunity for adaptive athletes to compete alongside able-bodied athletes. While there is still no official “adaptive” CrossFit division in the CrossFit Open or Games, competitions like WZA are providing an arena and an opportunity for adaptive athletes to show their talents.
Adaptive athletes from all over the world come to Miamifor an opportunity to share the competition stage at WZA. Four years ago there were 20 adaptive athletes competing at WZA, and most were from the United States. But since then, the awareness of adaptive fitness and competition has grown exponentially. This year, there are 60 adaptive athletes competing, representing 14 different countries.
WZA is more than just a fitness competition. It touts itself as a “Fitness Festival” that is community-centered, and that vibe is definitely felt throughout the 4-day event. WZA offers all athletes, but especially those in the adaptive division, a chance to meet and connect with other like-minded people.
Steven Walker, who volunteered in 2018 and now will be returning to compete in the adaptive division for the second year, said “Wodapalooza is the place I fell in love with CrossFit! And then watching the other adaptive athletes compete is when I found my place in the world.” The camaraderie and support in the adaptive community is second to none and WZA has been a host for this inclusive setting since 2014.
It all started in 2014 when Stephanie Hammerman, who is an adaptive athlete, asked WZA co-founder Guido Trinidad if she could compete alongside the other athletes. Hammerman was born with cerebral palsy that affects her lower-body muscle function and inhibits her ability to complete workouts designed for able-bodied athletes. WZA agreed and allowed Hammerman to compete, using her own adaptations. That led to her proposing to add a formal, dedicated adaptive division the following year in 2015.
Hammerman: “I competed in my first competition in 2014. After that amazing experience, it was very obvious that the adaptive presence was needed and was missing from most competitions.”
Up until 2015, there was no adaptive division at WZA, or any other major fitness competition, and athletes like Hammerman had no way of participating.
Then in 2016, after getting the green light to create an adaptive division, Hammerman was diagnosed with cancer and was not able to travel to Miami from her home in North Carolina. She turned to her friend and WheelWOD director, Chris Stoutenburg to take over the on-the-ground operations. Stoutenburg was already running an adaptive version of the CrossFit Open and at the time had the most experience with adapting able-bodied workouts for people with impairments.
Stoutenburg took over in 2016 and continues to run the adaptive division with the staff from Adaptive Training Academy (Kevin Ogar, Logan Aldridge, and Alec Zirkenbach). The task of leading the adaptive division includes the challenge of adapting all of the able-bodied competition workouts and designing the equipment floor plan with all of the unique adjustments for various abilities.
The competition is real: Don’t be fooled by the close-knit camaraderie between the athletes in the adaptive division. There are two main subdivisions for adaptive athletes: Standing and Seated. Each is categorized by how the athletes will complete their workout tasks — in either a standing form or seated position. Then each has an Rx and a scaled subset, making four total divisions. In the end, there are 12 podium spots up for grabs.
Jedidiah Snelson, from Boise, Idaho, who has podiumed multiple times, says that WZA allows him to express his hard work. “Competing is a part of my makeup. CrossFit is a deep passion of mine, and Wodapalooza has given me an outlet for that competitiveness against some of the best in the world. I’m very grateful”
Paula Chlik, from Chicago, who competes in the Standing Rx division, said “Having the opportunity to compete means so much to me because I am consistently challenged to do things I never thought I would be able to do. Wodapalooza gives [adaptive athletes] a platform to be judged as an athlete. They don’t take it easy on you because you are adaptive. I’m truly seen as an athlete with them and that drives me to never stop pushing my limits to see what I’m capable of!”
Tresa Honaker, Artistic Director, AirAligned Aerial Dance Group: “As a professional dancer, becoming paralyzed ended a big part of my life. Discovering Competitive Crossfit and working towards competing at Wodapalooza has given me a reason to live this new life after injury. WZA has given me something to work towards. Truly giving me a reason again to Celebrate Fitness, Celebrate Community, Celebrate Life.”
WZA adaptive numbers over the years:
2015: 8 athletes (picked from a lottery of applicants)
2016: 24 athletes (picked from a lottery of applicants)
2017: 36 athletes (through online qualifiers)
2018: 48 athletes (through online qualifiers)
2019: 60 athletes (through online qualifiers)
2020: 60 athletes (through online qualifiers)
*The total number of adaptive athletes permitted at WZA is limited by stage space and time, and staffing support.
Even big-name gyms like Invictus are supporting adaptive athletes. CrossFit Invictus, who has been represented in the last 10 CrossFit Games, is sending its first adaptive athlete to WZA. Austin Roth will be representing with a green “Athlete” shirt after qualifying for WZA and also winning his division in the 2019 WheelWOD Open — the adaptive version of the CrossFit Open.
WZA kicks off this Thursday and continues through the weekend.
To follow the athletes in the adaptive division, tune in to WZA on the FloElite Livestream (subscription required) or follow the newly created media team at All Things Adaptive (Instagram and Facebook) for exclusive updates, daily recaps, and athlete stories.
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The Brazil CrossFit Championship has confirmed CrossFit P9 from Rio de Janeiro and Taranis Lifetree from Canada will compete in the elite team division. And, it released event 4 and event 5 for the team divisions.
Cody Anderson has confirmed that he will compete at the Atlas Games.
Last year’s runner-up in the team division at the German Throwdown, Team Motion Foodspring, is confirmed to compete again. Also, the German Throwdown has confirmed Simon Mantyla and Manon
Angonese will compete in the elite individual division.
The deadlineto accept invitations for all divisions at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge is Feb. 21 at 12:00 PM EST.
The Rogue Invitational has announced that CrossFit Pro1 is confirmed to compete in the team division.
CrossFit Yas has confirmed they will compete at the Madrid CrossFit Championship.
Hayley Murillo, Gabriela Migala and Runa Egeland After the Snow Run in Norway
Tommy Marquez caught up with all three athletes, including the eventual Sanctional winner — Gabriela Migala, to get their thoughts on the first-ever CrossFit snow run at the Norwegian CrossFit Championship last week at the Storejfell Resort in Gol, Norway.
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Hosts John Wooley and Niki Brazier interview two-time Fittest Woman on Earth, Annie Thorisdottir, on the heels of her pregnancy announcement. She gives some insight on her hopes and fears, and how she is managing her training through pregnancy.
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Javi Gonzalez snatch balances 286 pounds for a PR.
Here are a few quick hits that are on our radar today:
A new affiliate, CrossFit Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, TX opened on January 27. The owner, Jessika Loving, and the staff of coaches is offering fitness and nutritional guidance, as well as a kids zone on-site.
At Too Far North Fitness, in Fort Kent, ME, children as young as two years old are taking part in Shane Durost‘s CrossFit Kids program. Durost said, “We do a lot of body weight movements like running, squats and push-ups/situps. We work on balance and agility using a variety of gym equipment. We also introduce some basic CrossFit moves.”
Bride vs. Groom Deadlift Competition: Caleb and Ericka Sommer, owners of Project Rise Fitness, got married in late 2019. But instead of a traditional first dance, they held a deadlift competition at the reception.
All of us at the Morning Chalk Up wish Tony Griffiths a speedy recovery after his shoulder surgery! Jessica Danger profiled Griffiths’ lifestyle transformation last year. Soon he will finally be cleared to return to Ute CrossFit.