Your Favorite CrossFit Games Athletes Were Once Mere Mortals

About a year ago, a video of four time CrossFit Games athlete Julie Foucher’s early barbell workouts surfaced on the internet. She’s wearing a bright yellow oversized tee shirt, bike shorts down to her knee, and tennis shoes. She goes for what looks to be a 65 or 75lb clean, sits it down, and pushes the bar forward with an air of “Oh my God, I am so bad at this.” Basically, she looks like all of us did at the start of our fitness careers.

Of course, most of us did not go on to compete at the CrossFit Games, podium twice, and then go on to have a Kerri Strug moment at the 2015 Regionals. But it does make you wonder, what did some of these Games level athletes look like when they first started? We did a little digging and found out.

The CrossFit Games of 2007,  2008, 2009, and even 2010 looked far different than their contemporary counterparts. While winning one of the early Games is certainly a huge physical accomplishment, the level of overall strength and skill was predictably much lower.  For example, Annie Thorisdottir famously got her first muscle up at the 2009 CrossFit Games, and went on to win what the Games in 2011 and 2012. She seems to have the hang of them now.

Eight times Games athlete and CrossFit Darling Jason Khalipa snatched a rough looking 205lb at the 2009 CrossFit Games, but by 2014, things had greatly improved.

Mat Fraser, 2014 and 2015 Games Runner up, dreamed of an Olympic Weightlifting career, but was derailed by a major back injury. Six weeks after surgery he had to start over with 88lb squats. (Note: The first few minutes of this video are NSFW.)

With fewer tattoos — and fewer muscles — the still badass Christmas Abbott PR’d her clean and jerk at 140lbs at the 2010 Sectionals. These days, a 175 power clean & jerk is no problem despite that 53kg frame.

Chyna Cho qualified for the 2010 CrossFit Games and has since gone through a radical transformation. One week ago, she made a 145lb (we think) snatch complex look easy, but here she is in 2010 during Amanda, making 95lb snatches look…well…pretty hard.

But of course, there’s always one oddball in the group who was just a freak athlete from the beginning. Chris Spealler was crushing workouts as early as 2008, as evidenced by his 2:05 Fran completed in a globo gym. Props to the guy in the background  who just kept on keeping on with his machine assisted dips.