It might seem like a surprise to many fans of the sport, but the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games was Alec Smith’s first time competing on functional fitness’ biggest stage. The athlete out of Virginia Beach, VA, is no stranger to the sport or its fans, though; he’s a multi-time Regionals competitor and the younger brother of 2015 Games Champion Ben Smith.
And while it seems from the outside like Alec Smith basically grew up around CrossFit, his athletic journey has taken some pretty sharp twists and turns. Before he took up CrossFit, the former youth gymnast suffered an accident years ago that left him with two herniated discs and required reconstructive shoulder surgery. While Smith took quickly to CrossFit and weightlifting after recovery, nagging back issues occasionally slowed his progress, and an L4 fracture in 2014 forced him to take six months off from all physical activity.
After battling back from multiple physical challenges, Smith qualified as a Games Individual in 2017 and ultimately finished in 37th place (out of 39 competitors) in Madison.
On August 13th, Smith shared an insightful and candid recap of his Games experience, along with how it fits into his athletic career (so far). From Smith’s post:
I went into the CrossFit Games excited, healthy, and most importantly in the best shape I have ever been in. All of the excitement and build up literally came down to this one weekend, and as expected, it FLEW by. I have been trying to figure out a way to describe my experience without sounding completely negative and down in the dumps… but lets just say the whole weekend was a series of unfortunate events, that were all timed pretty perfectly. Before reading any further, this isn’t an excuse as to why I didn’t place well or me pin pointing it on one thing in particular. Everyone at the games is extremely fit and mentally strong. This is a reflection on my own personal journey and the roller coaster I’ve been on the past few years of my life that I wanted to share with everyone.
The entire post clocks in at nearly 1,800 words, but it’s well worth a read. If you’ve ever struggled with injury or the mental exhaustion that comes from pursuing an athletic endeavor, Smith’s post is a worthwhile read.
Featured image: Alec Smith via Facebook