FITAID Sits Down With Morning Chalk Up’s Tommy Marquez

FITAID once again got to catch up with CrossFit analyst and Morning Chalk Up host, Tommy Marquez, to get his thoughts as we head into this year’s CrossFit Games. After last year’s unexpected return to the infamous Ranch in Aromas, we find ourselves back in Madison, Wisconsin at the Alliant Coliseum.

Now, as pandemic restrictions begin to ease and fans can again cheer their favorite competitors on to victory from the sidelines in person, we sat down with Tommy who had these insights for us:

FITAID: Obviously, Mat Fraser is the Fittest Man In History. However, he was a dominant force on the field. Now that he’s retired from the Games, who are the men to keep an eye on for the podium this year? Do you think any of those athletes have what it takes to be the next Froning and Fraser?

Marquez: Sheesh, where do I start? Pat Vellner, Brent Fikowski, Noah Ohlsen, Justin Medeiros, Scott Panchik, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, and Cole Sager I would say are the favorites but there are another 5-6 that if they catch a tailwind could do it too. Jayson Hopper could be the rookie breakout to do it, but Mayer, Koski, Chandler, Adler, and Cournoyer should be in the mix too which is insane.

FITAID: While we’re talking about Fittest In History, Tia-Clair Toomey still remains the dominant female athlete in CrossFit. Who do you think poses the greatest threat to her 5th consecutive title?

Marquez: Lady luck, because quite frankly any one who remotely poses a chance at dethroning her would need the full support of Lady Luck on their side because there isn’t a woman with a heartbeat on our planet that is fitter than Tia.

FITAID: Last year Justin Medeiros and Haley Adams proved themselves to be potent competitors. Who are the rookies and the dark horses to keep an eye on this year?

Marquez: Jayson Hopper and Lazar Dukic for the men, I think Colten Mertens might win an event as well. For the women it’s gotta be the two teenagers – Mal O’brien and Emma Cary. What they’re doing is unprecedented at this point.

FITAID: I’d like to pivot to talking about CrossFit as an organization. Eric Roza has been in charge as CEO of CrossFit for a year now. A lot of his focus has been on creating a more inclusive culture in the sport. For example, the Virtual Games aspect and the Foundations option in the Open. How do you think the expanded accessibility has impacted the types of athletes that will show up at the Games in the years to come?

Marquez: Don’t forget the inclusion of the Adaptive Divisions at the Games as well. The focus on inclusivity of the sport has also come hand in hand with the emphasis around inclusivity in the affiliate ranks as well. Representation matters. The CrossFit community is not monolithic, but rather a beautiful mosaic, and the more we can highlight that and make sure people have a home in the sport at some level, the more the broader CrossFit message will have a chance to resonate with the people who need it most because more lives will be touched. So much of CrossFit’s message gets passed along via second hand or third hand association. “I heard about that somewhere,” or “my friend told me about it,” is a common occurrence for people’s initial exposure. So when they decide to look into it further, seeing someone that looks like you, talks like you, lives like you in some way, it increases the likelihood that the impression will stick for the better.

This year in Madison, expect to see a showcase of a wide variety of athletes that together embody the spirit of CrossFit more than ever before, as a true cross-section of our community is finally represented in a more comprehensive way. The combination of new divisions and fresh faces along with new events from the diabolical mind of Dave Castro will make this a truly pivotal moment in CrossFit history. There’s no telling what’s in store as we go into the weekend, but no matter what, one thing is certain: it’s going to be spectacular. 

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