Three years ago a friend of mine told me to come downstairs (he lived in the apartment below me) and check out what he was watching on the television. He had been telling about CrossFit for almost 6 months and I never really took him seriously. When I came in I saw something on the TV that was alien to me. Something like I had never seen before, and I had been an athlete my whole life.
I sat, mesmerized, as I watched men go through a nasty couplet workout of rope climbs and cleans-and-jerks. The one-day three-time champ (probably 4 time champion by the end of this year’s Games), Rich Froning, was in the heat of 10 or so men and crushing it. But it wasn’t him that I noticed. Chris Spealler was 5’5″, and barely 140 lbs, and was only a couple of reps behind Rich. To finish, Spealler would have to clean-and-jerk 225 lbs, over 160% of his bodyweight, and that was after 15 rope climbs and 14 other clean-and-jerks at lesser (though still heavy-as-hell) loads. That was event 3 of the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games.
2014 marks Speal’s final year competing at the Games as he has announced this would be his last go at it. He is the smallest competitor by far, though has more fire and competitive drive than anyone in any sport I have ever spectated. He is also one of the most humble and hard-working. Check out this great article and accompanying video.
Good luck, Speal, can’t wait to watch you ascend the podium.
Watch Speal and 47 other men, 48 women, and 30 teams battle to be the Fittest on Earth starting next Wednesday on ESPN.