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CrossFit® / August 2019
Brittany Burke, Reebok

Wild-Card Winner Ben Smith Is Competing In The 2019 CrossFit Games With Less Than A Week’s Notice

Who needs months of hyper-focused training?

For an all-encompassing fitness challenge like the 2019 CrossFit Games, in an ideal state, you’d have as much notice as possible that you’re competing. That way, you can tailor your training, diet, sleep, and pretty much everything else to setting you up for success. But for Wild Card winner and ten-time CrossFit Games athlete Ben Smith, he learned that he’d be heading to Madison, WI for the CrossFit Games on Saturday, and flew out two days later. While that might seriously stress some people out, if today’s performance is any indication, Ben Smith is the picture of calm.
 
Prior to competing, Smith had a game plan in place: to work hard, and enjoy himself. “I’m going to go out there and give it my all,” he says. “Anything could happen. It should be a lot of fun.”
 
The road to that fun began last week, when Smith realized that even though he hadn’t been feeling as competitive earlier in the year during Sanctionals thanks to a slowly-healing knee surgery and bouts of tendonitis, this month, he was feeling pretty good. “One week before the event, I said, ‘You know, I feel like I’m where I need to be.’” So he blasted out his desire for a qualifying spot on social media, and the community took it from there.
 
“People really picked it up and ran with it,” he says. “I wasn’t expecting it. I’m thankful to everyone for posting and talking about it. It makes me so thankful to be here.”
 
Smith credits his regular training for keeping him feeling like a Games athlete, even in a year when he didn’t know he’d be a Games athlete. “For some reason, I feel like I’ve still been training for the Games, just because I’ve been doing this for ten years,” he says. “My brother is competing on a team, and everyone in the gym is super competitive. Even though I wasn’t planning on coming this year, I was preparing for next year. I can’t say I was ready to go. I was training a little bit.”
 
Even though he was still getting workouts in, Smith says the lead-up to the 2019 CrossFit Games were completely different to prior years in what he did outside of the gym—and mentally. There was no real pressure leading up,” he says. “I didn’t have the nerves about my training, I wasn’t afraid to go out and play sports, because I didn’t want to get hurt.”
 
Smith has also implemented some changes to his sleeping routine, thanks to his the birth of his first child a month ago. “I guess I’ve trained a little differently than all the other CrossFit Games athletes because I’ve slept in two to three hour increments,” he says. “It’s been a little different around the house, but I feel really blessed and thankful for that.”
 
Between being a new dad and having this opportunity, Smith says that the 2019 CrossFit Games definitely feel different than other years have, too. “In years eight, nine, and ten, I definitely took being here for granted,” he says.
 
That all ends in 2019. “In the last month, my daughter was born and my grandfather passed away,” he says. “I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. I just really want to enjoy the opportunities that I’m presented with. This is an incredible opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it. It’s definitely going to be a special year.”
 
It’s already off to a pretty strong start.
 
CrossFit® / August 2019
Brittany Burke, Reebok