One of my favourite aspects of any CrossFit competition is the bonding that goes on, especially over the course of a multi-day event. A perfect place to witness this bonding is in the warm-up area.
From my experience—having competed as an individual at five regional competitions and one CrossFit Games—Day 1 always looks the same: Athletes are tight and anxious. Very little talking happens.
By Day 3, the energy in the warm-up area becomes vulnerable and warm. Athletes are more relaxed, and emotionally exhausted, so they start opening up and genuinely supporting each other as a way to help each other through the weekend. There’s something beautiful about this shared suffering—something very powerful about competitors connecting as human beings.
Emily Abbott agrees this genuine bonding happens even at the highest level at the CrossFit Games to the point that she feels like she’s getting to know and connecting with the human beings around her.
“You just bond a lot when everyone is struggling. People start to open up and you get real camaraderie,” Abbott said. “Today, I talked a lot to Chyna Cho and Margaux Alvarez…Margaux is always so positive.”
Alvarez is so genuine, Abbott said, that during the first swim event, Alverez accidentally hit Abbott in the water and started to apologize profusely mid-swim.
One particular time Abbott said athletes open up with each other is right after an event, when they’re walking back to the athlete’s area with the others from their heat.
And while the fans at home are focused on leaderboard-watching all day, Abbott said emphatically that she is not.
“It can take just one event to change everything, so I don’t worry about the results,” she said. “For me, it’s just about getting through tomorrow…it has been an emotional roller coaster.”
Abbott explained the highs and the lows: “You get hit with a bunch of adrenaline and then all of a sudden you get super low. It’s a huge roller coaster. But everyone is in the same boat, and it’s about who can keep attacking it.”
Abbott admitted that she hit a low before the final event of heavy thrusters and bar muscle-ups on Saturday evening.
“I had to talk myself up so much. Before the 10-second call, I said to myself, ‘You have to give it everything now. Just get through it,’” she said.
So far, Abbott is doing more than just getting through it. She is sitting in 7th place and is only 25 points out of 4th heading into the final day. It’s not out of question at this point to say the podium is within Abbott’s reach, but she swears she hasn’t thought about it at all.
“I just have to remember it’s about the process, not the result…Worry about each individual workout, and who gives a shit how I finish,” she said.
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