Get to Know Kristi Eramo O’Connell: CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 Athlete

CrossFit HQ has released all three athlete match-ups for the upcoming CrossFit Open Live announcements — and we couldn’t be more pumped! Kicking off CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 is an “Engine vs. Skill” match-up between CrossFit Games athletes Kari Pearce and Kristi Eramo O’Connell.

Who is CrossFit Open 21.1 Athlete Kristi Eramo O’Connell?

The ‘engine’ in this match-up is Kristi Eramo O’Connell; dubbed as such for her background as an endurance athlete. Prior to CrossFit, Eramo was a collegiate swimmer and triathlete for much of her teenage years and early adulthood. In 2011 she came seventh in her age division in the USA Age Group National Championship Olympic Distance triathlon. 


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This background in endurance sports created a powerful base for her transition to CrossFit in 2014. She qualified for Regionals in her first year of the Open, placing 16th at the event. In 2016 she earned eighth place in her debut Games appearance; the best result of any female rookie that year.

From there Eramo has grown into a fearsome CrossFit competitor, with four Individual CrossFit Games appearances under her belt and three Top 10 Finishes. Since 2017 she has also been a NOBULL-sponsored athlete.


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In 2019 briefly Eramo retired from competition after feeling like “some things needed to change” but was unsure to what extent. She was then contacted by Games athlete Sam Dancer who asked if she wanted to join Team Invictus X. She agreed, joining Dancer, Margaux Alvarez and Holden Rethwill in the Teams Division of the 2019 CrossFit Games, coming in 7th overall.

Following her stint with the Teams Division, Kristi decided to return to the Individual competition, but this time with a brand new mindset.

“If I can maintain this fitness, the goal is always balance. We don’t want to go back to the old habits and to being non-existent for the gym, and a shell of a person because I’ve trained myself into a hole. If that means I fall a couple spots at the CrossFit Games this year so be it, I’ll give it my all.”

This new mindset seemed to work for Kristi. The following year she placed first in the Rogue Invitational Qualifier, second in the Mayhem Classic, and tied her best finish in the 2020 Open.

In 2019, Eramo married fellow CrossFit athlete Patrick O’Connell. The couple work, coach and train together. By day Eramo works as an accountant, while also hosting a popular YouTube Channel devoted to her training. At the time of writing Kristi has 67,000 subscribers

She also got her mum, Donna Eramo, into CrossFit. She also competes, and took home 10th in the Masters Women 55-59 Division at the 2016 CrossFit Games.

CrossFit Open Workout 21.1 

Kristi Eramo O’Connell first took on 5x Games athlete and 2020 Games third-place finisher Kari Pearce in the 17.2 CrossFit Open Live Announcement. Pearce bested Eramo O’Connell in 2017, but now Eramo has another chance to beat her rival and smash the opening workout of the 2021 CrossFit Open.

Read More: The CrossFit Open and Nutrition: How, When and What to Eat

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