We all know by now that Mallorca is a perfect training and competition ground for many sports, not least of all CrossFit. Since its arrival on the island more than a decade ago, CrossFit has made Mallorca famous for its training facilities and natural landscape which offers unique challenges and opportunities as many well known athletes attend training camps here and even decide to live and train here year round.
Mallorca resident and well known international CrossFit coach John Singleton and the team behind his athletic training system, “The Progrm” recently staged “The Crown”, a teen focused invite-only CrossFit competition held over four days.
But first, what is CrossFit?
“CrossFit was founded in 2001 and can be used to accomplish any goal, from improved health to better performance. CrossFit is so effective it may feel like magic, but in truth, it’s a formula — a formula that works.
It's the formula for everything we do, from forging elite fitness to preventing and reversing chronic disease. It’s the inputs that give us the outcomes, the results that have revolutionized an industry and changed millions of lives for the better.” Source https://www.crossfit.com
The Crown, the first CrossFit competition of its kind, saw ten young athletes invited to the island to throw down for the right to the title of “King” and “Queen”. Singleton and his team aimed to make the event unforgettable for the competitors, and give them a taste of the “Royal treatment” unlike anything they may have experienced before as young athletes.
From mountain biking up a peak in Alcudia, to swimming in the open water of the Mediterranean to running with sandbags along Playa de Muro beach at sunrise, The Crown used Mallorca’s natural assets to showcase the island, more of which can be seen in the forthcoming planned YouTube documentary about the weekend.
The teens were exposed to various mental and physical challenges, and for balance, plenty of treats in between courtesy of sponsors Nike, GOWOD *a mobility app which helps athletes to improve their range of motion) and Picsil (who supported with gymnastic grips).
As soon as they arrived at the luxury finca, their base for the weekend, the stunned athletes were shown into the “Nike room” where they were presented with a full kit and lots of goodies by Debbie Nuchelmans, the “Men’s Fitness¨marketing manager for Nike. The following day, GOWOD’s founder Thibaud Saline led a mobility session for the group having traveled from France with recently retired CrossFit Games athlete Willy Georges to support the competitors.
Other top CrossFit athletes, Jacqueline Dahlstrøm, Ella Wunger and Anais Lancry who have all made Mallorca their home and training ground, and Nat Diaz from CrossFit Spain joined to cheer on the young guns for some of the events held at the C23 CrossFit gym in Palma.
And the winners are…
After four days of constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity the winners emerged as Matúš Kočar from Slovakia who was the favourite for the males, and finished with a solid points lead. He is now training for the Berlin semi finals on the road to the biggest goal in CrossFit, attendance at The Games.
On the female side it was a closer call, with the lead swapping throughout the weekend. Czech Veronika Voriskova was ultimately successful in the win. Both athletes win Nike product for the year, and bragging rights amongst their newly made friends, as well as snazzy handmade crowns which were produced by a blacksmith in the United Kingdom.
Asked about the experience Kočar, who finished 2nd in the 2019 Games in the 16-17 division said, “It’s the best competition I've ever been to. The best experience, the workouts, the people, the media, the food, the house, the transport. Everything.”
Forging Elite Friendships
This feedback was repeated by all of the athletes who said not only had the events been taxing, exciting and unusual but that they had made new friends in the process: a main goal of Singleton going into the weekend. “There is a big gap for teens after they complete the Age Group Divisions before they can move on to the adult Elite,” said Singleton.
“Often they are training in isolation and only meet each other at competitions where they are not encouraged to make friends. I wanted to change this and show them it is possible to compete against each other, and also make contacts which they can rely on for support in the future.
CrossFit values in action
Coming into the event with a minor knee injury Brit Chiara Silva knew the sandbag run would be challenging, however faced with the option to forfeit the run, she opted instead to walk and complete the event.
With the rest of the field finishing about 15 minutes before her they then waited for her to come into sight, and walked out to greet her and accompany her back to the finish line in the true style traditional CrossFit ethics where even the last person to finish a workout is congratulated for their efforts.
Did they really swim from a boat to the beach in Cala Nova?
Yes, they really did. Singleton believes it is the first time this has been done in a licensed CrossFit event. “I had always wanted to do this. How many people can say that they have swum from a boat back to the beach?
It’s a very different experience starting in deep water rather than from the shore. I knew it could be hard for the competitors, and we planned accordingly to make sure that we had enough support for the swim in the form of lifeguards on kayaks, and on the boat as well. It challenged the group in an achievable way. Everyone made it, even the people who were scared and the best swimmers won. So, I think it really achieved the intended stimulus.”
What about next year?
Plans are already being formed for 2024. Singleton says he will make some adaptations to the process to continue to allow for invitations, and also open up some qualification spots so any young adult athlete looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience should keep their eyes on “The Progrm Crown'' (https://www.instagram.com/theprogrmcrown/) instagram account for more information. To know more about CrossFit and starting visit www.theprogrm.com
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