The quest of the CrossFit Games is to find the “Fittest On Earth” and athletes from around the world will compete in Carson, California starting on Tuesday.
The elite field of contenders was narrowed down from more than a quarter million athletes to just dozens.
To make it to the competition in Carson, individual athletes had to first qualify and rank among the top of the worldwide Open competition, then finish among the top five in their respective regional competition.
This year, the East Regional competition – including athletes from the Northeast U.S. and Eastern Canada – was moved from the Reebok world headquarters outside Boston to the XL Center in Hartford and CrossFit Milford was the only Connecticut team to make the cut to the games in the team division.
Coach and owner Jason Leydon said the home field advantage helped boost morale among his athletes.
“To turn around and see that energy and to see them all go nuts, it just pushed everybody even more,” Leydon said.
Milford is also sending four athletes in the masters division for athletes who are over 40 years old.
One of them is Elizabeth Warren, a New Haven teacher and mother of three who discovered CrossFit after a knee injury sidelined her from marathon training. It gave her a new arena to compete, and, she said, a healthy example to set for her kids.
“I walked in the gas station the other day and some guy said, ‘Oh, you’re in pretty good shape’ and my daughter said, ‘That’s my mom! That’s my mom,’” Warren said. “She’s proud of being strong. I teach her all the time the importance of being a strong girl and a strong woman.”
And rather than dreading getting older, Warren says CrossFit gave her a reason to embrace it.
“Oh yeah I was waiting, I couldn’t wait to turn 40 ‘cause I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she said. “This was my plan. ‘When I turn 40, I’m going to try out for the Masters. When I make it, I want to go to the Games.’”
Warren and the other CrossFit Milford athletes have been training year-round for an event that’s largely a mystery – the CrossFit Games workouts typically aren’t revealed until right beforehand, meaning athletes need to be prepared for anything.
“That’s the essence of CrossFit -- being ready for everything and anything,” Leydon said.
Events could include Olympic lifting, running, gymnastics, swimming, calisthenics or more.
It’s up to CrossFit Games director Dave Castro to decide and to eventually reveal in the dramatic workout announcements. But as NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight learned at the East Regional, he doesn’t give away his secrets easily. She asked Castro for a hint at what was in store for the Games. His answer?
The CrossFit Games are broadcast on ESPN beginning Tuesday, July 21 through Sunday, July 26. Follow the leaderboard at http://games.crossfit.com/leaderboard.