12 Athletes Before They Were Famous CrossFit Games Competitors

If you think CrossFit Games athletes started right at the top, skilled and unbelievably strong, think again. A bit of research through Instagram or YouTube channels will give you a different perspective on how long, and how much work, it takes to improve to the Games level.

Click through the “back then” list to get an impression what, current CrossFit Games athletes, were like before:

1. Mat Fraser

Before starting Crossfit Mat Fraser was an Olympic Weightlifter. His dream was to compete at the Olympic Games, like his parents did in figure skating. In 2009 he suffered a serious back injury.

Last year, in his rookie season, Fraser finished 2nd in Carson. In 2015 he already won the Open and the East Regional. He is the favourite to win the CrossFit Games in July.

2. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

Camille’s main sport was gymnastics, but she also played rugby.


For years Camille has been the favourite to win the CrossFit Games. She did it in 2014.


3. Rich Froning

Before becoming the “strongest name” in the industry, Rich Froning was a baseball player. He ended his career soon after getting a sports scholarship and started working at Cookeville Fire Department.

After winning the CrossFit Games four consecutive times, 2015 will be his first season competing on a team. CrossFit Mayhem Freedom recently won the Central Regional.

4. Julie Foucher

Julie’s background in gymnastics and track and field help her with bodyweight movements and engine, but Olympic weightlifting was a skill she had to learn from zero:

Julie finished on the Games podium twice, 3rd in 2014 and 2nd in 2012. Her last competitive season ended early due to an injury (torn Achilles during box jumps in event 3 at the Central Regional).

5. Jason Khalipa

In 2005 Khalipa worked in sales at the conventional gym, not really knowing what he wanted from life.

Ten years later he is one of the best CrossFit Games athletes in the field. He will compete in Carson once again this year, with a little twist: he is the captain of team NorCal CrossFit and consequently the biggest opponent to Froning’s CrossFit Mayhem Freedom.

6. Sam Briggs

Before starting Crossfit and winning the Games in 2013, Sam was a football (soccer) player. Later she built that pain-resilient engine, competing in triathlons and duathlons.


In 2015 Sam qualified for the CrossFit Games, finished 2nd at the Atlantic Regional, while competing with a broken foot.

7. Lucas Parker

Lucas was, well shaved. That was in 2011. In his youth he also played rugby, football (soccer) and did karate.

This year he won the West Regional and is headed once again to the CrossFit Games.

8. Annie Thorisdottir

Annie’s background is gymnastics and track and field. Her first CrossFit Games appearance was in 2009 where she learnt how to snatch and do a muscle-up.

This year Annie is going to her 6th CrossFit Games. Two of which she won, finished 2nd twice and who knows what’s her plan for 2015.

9. Scott Panchik

Scott got into CrossFit with his dad who was a certified coach. His background is football and wrestling.

Panchik recently won the Central Regional. He is also a 5th placed athlete from 2014 CrossFit Games.

10. Lauren Fisher

Lauren played basketball and tennis. The #tbt picture below goes to the times before getting competitive with CrossFit.

In 2014 she finished 9th at the CrossFit Games. This year she missed out on the Carson tickets, but still put up a solid performance, snatching 80 kg in event 5.

11. Noah Ohlsen

Noah played lacrosse, wrestling, did swimming and water polo. He also liked posing with his little sister:

He entered the 2014 Games as a rookie and surprised everyone with finishing in top 10. In 2015 he already won the Atlanic Regional.


12. CrossFit Games Competitors: Brooke Ence

Brooke was a dance major at the University of Utah. She also did “a few steps” in the world of miss figure and fitness.

Recently she won the California Regional and is going to her first CrossFit Games as an individual.


How about you? What is your background? What did you do before Crossfit?

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