At 38 years old, Chris Spealler will make his return to the CrossFit Games — this time in the newly created Masters 35-39 year old division. The seven-time Games competitor announced his intention on Instagram:
Pulled the trigger. It’s been a while, a different division, but I will see you in Madison.
Spealler — an athlete, coach, and gym owner based out of Park City, Utah — finished 15th in the Masters Online Qualifier for this year’s Games, earning him a spot. Spealler competed at the Games every year from 2007 (the first-ever iteration of the competition) through 2012, narrowly missing out on qualification in 2013. He battled back and qualified again in 2014 before announcing his retirement from individual competition. Before his Instagram post, it was unclear whether he would accept the 2017 invite.
The 5’5″, 151 pound Spealler will face tough competition in Madison against several other Games veterans, including Neal Maddox, Kyle Kasperbauer, and Guido Trinidad, among other top 35-39 year old competitors. Maddox finished first overall in the Online Qualifier stage by a significant margin. (Masters athletes earn their Games spots in Online Qualifiers after the CrossFit Open instead of Regional competitions.)
The new 35-39 year old division will bring back some familiar faces, though not all veteran athletes in that age group are competing in Masters competition. Last week, 38 year old Valerie Voboril qualified out of the incredibly competitive California Regional, where she’ll compete in the Open division against some athletes who are almost half her age. (Voboril finished 7th in the 35-39 year old online qualifier, which would have made her eligible to compete as a Masters had she not earned an invite in the Open division.)
Featured image: @cspealler on Instagram