The future of Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit.
Mat Fraser recently Clean & Jerked 375#/171kg for a lifetime PR. This, coupled with his 315#/143kg PR Snatch from a few months ago, would give him a 314kg total. Yes, it’s a broken total (meaning not the same day), but after watching the ease with which he hit both lifts – I’d guess hitting them the same day wouldn’t be an issue.
Why is this a big deal? As most of you now know, Mat was a Junior National Champion WL, and actually trained at the Olympic Training Center for a while. That 314kg is 14kg higher than Mat’s career best total of 300kg, and it’s at the same body weight (85kg). That 314kg total would have been good for a second place finish at the 2014 National Championships, and would have been the 9th highest total in America for an 85kg lifter for ALL of 2014. Oh, by the way, assuming Rich Froning sticks with his decision to go team, Mat Fraser is also currently the best male CrossFitter on earth.
The first appearance of a CF athlete at a national WL meet – that I know of – was Elisabeth Akinwale at the 2011 American Open. Yes, the USAW/CF meet/competition in Colorado was the year before, but this is first appearance of a CFer (or possible multiple, I can’t remember if anyone else lifted), that I know of at a national meet. A few months later I coached Talayna at Nationals/Olympic Qualifiers in Columbus. I remember her being the only CFer lifting there as well. I also remember her lifting, then going right next door to the CF area (we were at the Arnold), and doing an Open workout within hours of her session.
Fast forward to nine months later, and the 2012 American Open in Palm Springs. Registration for the meet doubled from 2011 – from 140 to 280. I also think (if memory serves me correctly), it was the first dual platform meet USA Weightlifting ever held. There were not just a few CFers lifting, there were a ton. Almost every session had multiple entries, and quite a few of them finished within the top five to ten of their weight classes.
Recently USAW has had to overhaul their national meet qualification process, because of the sheer volume of lifters who’ve hit entry totals. This year’s Nationals was the biggest meet in US history – with nearly 500 lifters. At the 2013 American Open, Jessica Rodriguez became the first active CFer to stand on a national podium, finishing second as a 53kg. At Nationals this year, our own Cassidy Duffield (69kg) became the first active CFer to win a national meet – six weeks after competing with the CF SLC team at regionals. Not to mention, Sarabeth Phillips took second in the 58kg weight class – 8 weeks after placing 8th at the SE Regionals (and ironically tying for 10th on the max Hang Snatch).
Again… Why is the relationship between CF and WL, which is hypothetically a different sport, such a big deal?
If you want the nuts and bolts of what makes the sports compliment each other so well you can read my now two-year-old article on The Importance of Olympic Lifting. I’d rather discuss the best possible current examples…
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet is the reigning CFG champion, and currently holds the title of “fittest woman on earth”. Three weeks after her win at the 2014 CFG, she won the Blue Mountain Open WL meet with a 192kg total as a 58kg lifter. She also has a 193kg total on record with the Canadian WL federation, and as far as I can tell is currently ranked 3rd overall amongst Canadian females. Her 192kg total (or 193) would be the highest total for an American female as well, and would have put her on our (US) World Weightlifting Championships team.
Here’s the craziest part of all this…
In 2012 Canada took three female Weightlifters to the Summer Olympics. One of them was a 58kg lifter – her total at the London Olympics was 190kg. She finished 16th overall.
It is not a stretch to say that Camille is an Olympic hopeful as a Weightlifter. It is also not a stretch to say that her ability to handle heavier loads with a barbell, while maintaining a bodyweight that is advantageous for gymnastics, was a massive factor in her success at the 2014 CFG. Especially realizing that roughly 40% of the points for the 2014 CFG were earned with a barbell. Morghan King, who competed at two CFG Regionals on a team before committing to WL full-time, was the highest finishing American female at last months World WL Championships (11th @ 48kg). She is arguably the best female lifter in America, and if the rankings remain the same throughout the next year should be an Olympian.
So what is the future of the relationship between the two sports? Well, IMO, there is no future – the future is now. When a CFG champion is even on the list of possible Olympians, the relationship is pretty much flawless. When a former WL Olympic hopeful and national champion gets better by training as a CFer, the symbiosis is fairly complete. We are 19 months from seeing an athlete who snatched and clean and jerked for the first time in a CF facility – quite likely just to get in better shape – represent their country in the Olympics. We are a week away from the 2014 American Open – the future of our two sports is now, and the relationship is looking perfect.
1) 5X1 Snatch – work to a max for the day, rest as needed
2) 5X1 Clean & Jerk – work to a max for the day, rest as needed
5X3 Front Squats @ 95% of Monday’s 3rm – rest as needed
60 Clean & Jerks (anyhow) 135/95#