18-year-old Charlottetown CrossFitter dazzles crowd with world event win in Miami | CBC News

18-year-old CrossFitter from Charlottetown Anikha Greer took her talents to one of CrossFit’s largest international festivals last week, and is returning home with new found fame. 

Greer won the Celebrate 10 event at CrossFit’s Wodapalooza festival in Miami, Florida, beating other competitors by 30 seconds. 

That win got her some spotlight in the CrossFit community, as she’s gained over 8000 followers on her Instagram account since last Saturday’s win. 

“My agent, when I saw him after [the event], he was like ‘That is the start of your career’,” Greer said.

“Coming from P.E.I. it’s really hard to build a name for yourself, especially when I’ve been [competing] online for the past four years.” 

CrossFit’s Wodapalooza festival began on Jan. 13 and ended on the 16th. It featured a series of workout events on each day, with male and female divisions. Division winners take home a cash prize.

The festival was a preseason event for CrossFit’s international series of games. Those games eventually lead to finals declaring the “fittest on Earth” and cash prizes.

Unlike most sports which feature a sole focus, CrossFit is combination of several high-intensity exercises which include calisthenics (body weight strength exercises), weightlifting and weight training exercises.

As a competitive sport, pro CrossFitters like Greer compete to complete several exercises within a time limit. The fastest is declared winner.

Here are the workouts which Greer completed in less than 11 minutes to win the Celebrate 10 event:

  • Five rounds of 15 handstand push ups.
  • Five overhead squats with 125 pounds.
  • Five rounds of five ring muscle ups.
  • 15 overhead squats with 85 pounds.

Although Greer looked gleeful and confident as she finished her last set of overhead squats during the event, she said she felt “out of place” for most of the festival — competing among some of CrossFit’s top global athletes. 

“That event for me was like the turning point between feeling like having impostor syndrome,” she said. “This being my very first in-person elite individual competition, I was feeling a bit out of place.”

‘She was a little shaky going in, she had some bumps in the road in her first two days of competition,’ Le Anne Greer says. (Submitted by Emeric Herney)

Prior to Wodapalooza, Greer competed virtually in a series of CrossFit games last year — including two semifinals where she placed 6th and 22nd among women. 

“They took [top] 5, so just a couple of seconds faster I would have been one of the youngest to go to the CrossFit games [final]. I was super close last year,” Greer said.

She’s spent most of the pandemic training for competitions such as those, and the Wodapalooza festival.

“I’ve been lucky compared to a lot of other Canadians, like in Ontario and Quebec who have had their gyms shut down,” Greer said.

COVID-19 couldn’t halt the moment

Greer travelled to Florida with her parents and coach, Brett Roberts.

Greer’s mother, Le Anne, said it was a “risk worth taking” given the alarming number of COVID-19 cases in Florida. 

“We talked about how do we decide an essential travel, given her goals for herself. To make it to the CrossFit games, to become a professional athlete, this was essential. This was her only chance to compete in-person before the qualifying event for the games. She needed this.”

The family took all the precautions they possibly could, Le Anne said.

“The scare was there, [but] we were fully-vaccinated. We’re doing everything that we can to stay safe, but this was a risk that was worth taking in order for her to have this chance.”

Seeing her daughter outperforming competitors during the Celebrate 10 event was thrilling, especially after a rocky start to the festival, Le Anne said. 

“We were on the edge of our seats, she crushed that. That one on Saturday night, what a great night to do it, it was probably the biggest in the competition,” she said. 

“She was a little shaky going in, she had some bumps in the road in her first two days of competition.”

From gymnast to CrossFitter

Like most kids growing up, CrossFit wasn’t a sport Greer knew much about, and neither did her parents. She grew up performing gymnastics until she was 12. 

“I was OK. I was nothing crazy, it was fun [but] then I hurt myself,” Greer said.

‘She needed to do something to replace the energy output of gymnastics,’ Le Anne Greer says. (Shawn Sckoropad/FILT50)

The injury put a halt on gymnastics and pivoted her to other physical activities, Le Anne said.

“She’s always been such a high-energy individual, we knew she needed to do something to replace the energy output of gymnastics,” she said.

“We actually signed her up for an introductory taekwondo class. We took her to her first taekwondo class … and there was a CrossFit class going on while she was trying out taekwondo.”

The CrossFit class piqued Greer’s interest more, Le Anne said. Greer was invited to try out the class and she was “hooked from that day forward,” she said.

“I used to laugh because I wondered why the teens class would end, and all the teens would be leaving the gym … but there would be no Anikha,” Le Anne said.

“It turns out she was hitting up the coaches with a million questions, trying to figure out how to get better at this.”

Le Anne thanks Brett Roberts and the members of CrossFit 782 gym at North River Rd. in Charlottetown for her daughter’s success.

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