STARRETT IS ONE of countless coaches in attendance and competing. Another, sitting 200 feet to Starrett’s right in section 7, sipping on a beer–and no doubt in equal distress over the poor front-squat technique on display–is Mike Burgener, owner of Mike’s Gym, an Olympic weightlifting expert with more than 30 years of coaching under his belt. Brian MacKenzie, CrossFit’s resident endurance sports guru, is also here with a posse of CrossFit Endurance coaches. In fact, through most of the stadium you’ll find CrossFit-certified coaches, box owners and their members. Arriving at the Games, the competitors had no idea what the workouts would be. The CrossFit athletes had to train the best they could for anything and everything, and from the original pool trying to qualify to be here–according to Reebok more than 25,000 participated in the process–the best were now grinding their way through the flurry of races, testing their speed, power and stamina in a demonstration of CrossFit’s attempt to define precisely what fitness is. CrossFit’s open borders have attracted an array of experts from various disciplines and sports sparking discussions, sharing of ideas and the ongoing lab test of the daily WOD (workout of the day) that ordinarily would never have happened within the relative isolation of individual sport communities. Competition WODs of the 2011 Games drew in elements as widely varying as an ocean swim, wind sprints, dead lifts and climbing across monkey bars, and through the workouts a parade of powerful, sinewy athletes were physically and psychologically engaged in a showcase of what Starrett calls “the unified field theory of athletics.”
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