She had yet to step foot onto the coliseum floor.
“I always do things that no one expects,” says a smiling Leblanc-Bazinet on Friday afternoon in her first full interview since making the decision to withdraw.
The 28-year old veteran competitor had been battling an injury to her left shoulder coming into the competition. During Thursday’s Cyclocross bike race she fell on that same shoulder and dislocated it. In the heat of the moment, Leblanc-Bazinet popped her shoulder back in and finished the course.
She still attended the athlete briefing, awaiting the third event announcement, but knew going in that she likely would not continue. At that briefing, CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro announced ‘Amanda 45’ – a combination of muscle-ups and squat snatches – as the third event.
“After my shoulder dislocated in the bike race, I knew I couldn’t hang from the ring in the muscle-up,” says Leblanc-Bazinet.
“I made the decision myself. No one else can do that for me,” she continues. “It was definitely a hard decision to make because I’m not a person who gives up. But it wasn’t about giving up, it was about being smart. Smart for my future, smart of my career."
It wasn’t about giving up, it was about being smart. Smart for my future, smart of my career.
“Of course I’m bummed I can’t compete, but it doesn’t erase all the hard work that I’ve put in this year. I graduated from school this year. I’ve achieved all the goals I wanted to achieve. It’s just too bad I didn’t get the cherry on my sundae.”
The first person Leblanc-Bazinet told about her decision was her husband Dave Lipson, who also serves as her coach.
“I was relieved for her,” says Lipson. “This has been a roller coaster for the past few weeks, thinking maybe you can compete, maybe you can’t. I was just keeping my fingers crossed something wouldn’t happen.
“I don’t think there really was a decision to make because she physically couldn’t do the reps. To go out just to show up and touch the bar with a higher probability of injuring yourself, is just silly.”
Leblanc-Bazinet nods in agreement.
“You know what you got to do,” she says. “I already got hurt. I’m not going to bang my head on the wall because I made another bad decision.”
Lipson jumps in: “She made a veteran move. I know this is going to make her stronger.”
And stronger, both physically and mentally, is what Leblanc-Bazinet intends to get before the 2018 Games season.
“I hashtagged today ‘two year plan’,” Leblanc-Bazinet says with a smile. “The plan changed. That’s it. People don’t know what I can do right now, and I’m going to get fitter than this.”
The plan changed. That’s it.
And according to Leblanc-Bazinet, the plan is simple.
“The focus has switched to how fast can I get the surgery and how fast can I recover to get ready for next year.”
She is already in talks with doctors about scheduling labrum surgery.
“I’m going to let people follow my recovery,” she says. “Showing the real side of me is so much more important than showing me on the podium. It’s a common injury, and hopefully I can use it to help people do better protocol and learn.”
As for the next three days, though, Leblanc-Bazinet plans to stay in Madison, Wis. Even last night, she stayed at the Alliant Energy Center and watched her fellow competitors duke it out in Amanda.
“I don't know why you wouldn’t want to cheer other people on. I’m not a victim here. I’m not going to be home and be depressed,” she says.
I’m not a victim here. I’m not going to be home and be depressed.
“I watched the girls last night. A lot of them I’ve competed with for a long time. A bunch came to train with me at my house this year. We all become really good friends because we go through so much of the same things. We really do relate to each other on another level.
“Everyone here works so hard. Everyone worked there ass off to get here, and I hope everyone is able to show their full potential.”
As for Leblanc-Bazinet herself, she plans to take in this new side of the Games and enjoy the weekend with her family.
“Part of why you want to compete is to share this moment with the people who put work and love and support into you, and sharing those moments here with them is the best. So that part was really hard for me. My parents, mother in law, the friends who came down to watch me. I felt like I was taking that away from them,” she says, reflecting on the thoughts that ran through her head yesterday.
“But then I called my mom yesterday to tell her, and she was just so happy,” says Leblanc-Bazinet. “And I asked her why she was happy and she said, ‘Now I get to see you.’”
As she tells this story, Leblanc-Bazinet sits next to her mother-in-law, who sports a homemade bag that has a picture of Leblanc-Bazinet smiling mid muscle-up on the side of it.
“I’m just very proud of this girl,” she says.