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2008 Olympic Gold Medalist qualifies for the 2014 Crossfit Games

by Anna Tunnicliffe on 27 May 2014
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) winner of the Gold Medal, celebrates ashore in Qingdao Olympic Harbour. © Richard Gladwell http://www.richardgladwell.com
Twice Rolex Sailor of the Year and Olympic Gold medalist, Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) alternates between sailing aboard Alinghi in the Extreme Sailing Series, and chasing a serious ranking in the world of CrossFit.

Born in England, Tunnicliffe moved to USA at the age of 12, and pursued a promising track career before giving that away in favour of sailing, where she won a Gold Medal in the Womens Singlehander in 2008 and won the Womens Match Racing event at the 2011 ISAF World Championships in Perth. She represented USA in that event at the 2012 Olympics but did not make the medal podium.

CrossFit is becoming increasingly popular amongst sailors as a way of physically preparing for the sport, as it is less monotonous than other physical training processes and better replicates the physical sailing activities on board a racing boat. In her blog, Anna Tunniclffe gives an insight into the world of CrossFit:


Happy Memorial Day! Sorry for the delayed blog, but we eventually got home last night around 11:30pm, and it was straight to bed to catch some sleep. But what an exciting weekend both physically and emotionally!

We qualified for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games again! It was a tight race, down to the last WOD, but when the dust finally settled, the scores came out with me finishing tied for second, but losing the tie-break. Regardless, we're going back to Carson, CA in July!

Like I said, it was an emotional roller coaster of a weekend. I gave it everything I had out on the floor and sometimes the scores were good and sometimes they were not so good. But it all came down to the last event, and who could finish their 8 overhead squats the fastest.

Heading back to the hotel on Saturday evening, I was slightly upset given that there was a very good chance that I had lost my opportunity to head back to the Games this year. I had had a disaster of an event that morning and it took me from second in the rankings down to fifth, and 7 points off the podium. (At the time I didn't know the scores, I just knew that it wasn't good.) But I had a good mental chat with myself and said 'Hey, you know you can do well in the WOD's tomorrow, so just go out and have fun. There is no pressure on you, it's on them to keep their spots!' And with that attitude, I drifted off to sleep for the night and had the best night's sleep of the weekend.

Sunday began with a later start, our WOD starting at 2:50pm, so our morning was very relaxing. The first WOD was the '50's.' I was pumped for this WOD. It was the type of WOD that worked in my favor being a longer workout where your heart rate would be very high for a very long time. The WOD consisted of a 50 calorie row, 50 box jump overs, 50 deadlift at 120lbs, 50 wall balls, 50 ring dips, 50 wall balls, 50 deadlifts, 50 box jump overs, 50 calorie row. There was a 21 minute time cap on the event. To date, no girl has finished the workout and only 8 men have finished it, but it was my goal to finish it.

I knew I could get a lead off the rower, so I pulled a pretty good first half of the row and then settled into a pace that wouldn't tax me too much for the second half. From there, I tried to extend a lead as much as possible. I was 10 jumps into the box jump overs when the second person got off their rower and I managed to extend out to about a 20 rep lead by the time I got to the dips. I was pushing for the event record, but slowed a little too much on my second set of wall balls, so we called off the pace a little bit and just focused on maintaining the lead for the win. I made it back to the rower and pulled 13 calories when time was called. I hopped on the rower with just under a minute left and it felt like the longest minute ever. I was tired and out of breath and knew that if I made it to about 8 calories, that there was no way second place could catch me, and the time went soooo slowly. But I hit 8 calories and then just relaxed for the last few seconds of the row so as to save a bit of energy for the last workout of the day.

Again, I didn't know the scores after this workout, but I knew that in winning the event it moved me much closer to the podium and that it really would be a tight race right to the end. I tried not to worry about it again, and kept telling myself that there was no pressure on me, but it was all on them.

We had just over an hour between WODs to recover and get warmed up again. The last workout of the weekend was 64 pull-ups and 8 overhead squats at 135lbs. It sounds pretty simple and not too difficult, especially when you are fresh. But that short gap between WODs caught a lot of us offguard. Heading into the final WOD, I was one point behind third and a couple more behind second place. Brad told me that I had to beat both Emily and Gretchen to get to the Games and I was ready to give it my all.

The WOD started and I got my first 30 pull ups in. I dropped off the bar as planned and then hopped back up quickly to get going on the next set of 20, which didn't happen. My forearms started to cramp up and I had to break the next 34 pull ups into smaller sets. This was not good for the game plan. When I turned around after I completed my pull-ups, both Emily and Gretchen were already at their bars and lifting them up. I ran to my bar and started working straight away to get in the OHS.



I got to rep 3 and saw Emily drop her bar, and Gretchen run to the finish mat. I knew at this time, I had to beat Emily and hope that everything else worked out. I focused as hard as I could but wobbled a bit on rep 6 and ended up dropping the bar. Emily had 4 reps left, and I had three. I picked the bar up at the same time she did and we both dropped it as we lifted it overhead. I was right back on the bar and determined to get my three reps in. I got it up and got in my three reps and ran to the finish mat. From there, I didn't know what was going on, whether or not I had qualified.

At the end of the 6 minute time cap, my cheering section was cheering loudly so I was hoping it was because the points worked out, but I wasn't sure until I got told to stay on the floor for an interview with the top three. I had made it. I started to cry I was so overwhelmed and relieved that the weekend was over and it worked out!

I can't thank Brad, my coach and boyfriend for being so amazing through it all. He was my rock and kept me on track the whole time. He knew when to push me, when to calm me down and how to make the weekend become a success. Thank you so much Brad, I love you!

I also need to thank my family, mum, dad, David and Bekah for coming and cheering me on, along with all of my fellow #Bradletes that were both at the Patriots Center and at home that cheered me on, sent me good luck notes, and got me through the workouts! I feel so lucky to be apart of such an amazing community at CrossFit Mt. Lebanon and the whole CrossFit community.

Finally I would like to thank my sponsors Inov-8, Skins, NormaTec, SpiderTech, and Theromega Sports for your contented support! #committed.

Also a big congratulations to all the ladies and guys that competed both individually and on teams in all the regions, but especially to Gretchen and Christy for winning our region! Carson here we come!!

Thank you all again!!

Anna

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