CrossFit Omnia rallies through injury, tackles weakness for third consecutive trip to the CrossFit Games

When the 2017 CrossFit Games wrapped up last year, CrossFit Omnia landed at 13th place—a satisfying position for their second appearance with five returning members on their six-person team. This year’s change to four-person teams sparked an expectation that there would be more competition for Regionals qualifications, more superteams.

“We didn’t see that as much as the four-person team exposes weaknesses a lot more,” said Rj Smith, the team’s coach and box owner, “so we just had to focus on a lot of our weaknesses to try and close the gap on those a little bit.”

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CrossFit Omnia’s team, left to right: John Carter, Kelly Stone, Sarah Manuel, John Birkmeier

Omnia’s core roster are veterans of last year’s team: John Birkmeier, John Carter, Sarah Manuel, and Kelly Stone. Their pairings for partner work are the same as before—Carter and Stone, Birkmeier and Manuel—so their dynamic and chemistry as a team hasn’t changed too much.

“We didn’t know if we would make it to the Regionals with Kelly’s back issue,” Smith said. Kelly has a disc bulge and facet joint injury in her lower back from several months ago. “It’s still an issue, but it’s not going to hold us back.”

Omnia took fifth at Regionals (fourth now, due to Salt Lake City CF Gold’s disqualification) and trained hard all summer for the Games. Training consisted of a mix of worm and synchronized work, odd objects, and strongman training, with less barbell work in order to preserve their joints.

The team is aiming for a finish in the top ten, which Smith sees as realistic considering their performance last year and how they’ve been moving over the summer, but their number one priority is to perform well and finish healthy.


The Colorado Guide to the 2018 CrossFit Games

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