Faith and Competition

By Dan Bailey and Rich Froning

In Athletes, CrossFit Games, HD Videos

May 02, 2012

Video Article

As Rich Froning Jr. stepped out onto the competition floor at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, many wondered what was written on his shoes. He says it was a line from scripture focused on the crucifixion of Christ.

“If I ever got tired and looked down at my shoe, I was kinda like, ya know, ‘This is nothing compared to what he went through for us,’” says the world’s fittest man.

Dan Bailey, who finished sixth at last year’s Games, says that during competition he thinks about what he’s grateful for.

“It’s not all about where you finish. It’s about the effort you give,” he explains. “You can easily put yourself in the position where, ‘Well, I’m not going to win, so why try?’ And that’s the complete wrong attitude to have … in anything in life. You have to do the best with what you have and do the best with what you’re given.”

Both men say God has given them gifts, and they understand that it’s not all about them.

“I figure this is my way to glorify him in all that I do,” Froning says.

5min 27sec

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Additional reading: The Fire Inside by Web Smith, published April 1, 2011.

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91 Comments on “Faith and Competition”

1

Big Like.

2

wrote …

Incredibly cool the true role models Crossfit has to showcase and what an Awesome God we have that showcases two Christian men like this. This is just what the next generation needs to see more of. Thanks Crossfit and Thanks Dan and Rich.

3

wrote …

This is incredible. I wish this were a free video that I could share with others. These guys, along with Chris Spealler, are incredible examples to me of Godly men using their talents for the Lord's glory. Every time I start a WOD I say Philippians 4:13 aloud, "I can do all things through HIM who gives me strength."

Thank you Crossfit for putting this video in the journal providing a platform for these men to share their faith with the CF community.

4

wrote …

Elite Edification. Thank you CrossFit, Rich and Dan for standing in the gap. Thank you for leading from the front. Huge!

5

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Not ashamed! I love it!!

6

wrote …

I think I just threw up in my mouth. Can we get a separation of Crossfit and religion please?

7

wrote …

Thanks guys your an inspiration!

8

wrote …

I guess this could be a series - Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Humanist, Atheist, et al. At least that would provide some variety and cover broad spiritual domains.

9

Daniel Andrews wrote …

Jeremy-the separation lies in you not watching the video, in the same way you separate yourself by not visiting your neighborhood chuch on Sunday morning.
Thank you Rich, Dan, Speal, Lindsey Smith, Becky Conzelman et al for using your God given talents to glorify the ONE TRUE GOD!

10

wrote …

Excellent!!!!

11

wrote …

Excellent!!!!

12

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LOVE IT!!!!

13

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Way to go Dan and Rich! We can do all things through Christ Jesus....May the glory of God continue to keep us all strong, healthy and well, God Bless...

14

wrote …

God Bless Rich, Speal and Bailey. For the other pot stirrers above, you'll have an opportunity, its never too late.

15

wrote …

Love it! Praise God!

16

wrote …

Your God given talents and gifts will lead you to a platform to speak from. It's up to you what you will say when you're up there! Well Done, Guys! Well Done!

17

wrote …

Thanks for the great article CF, Dan and Rich. I have a lot of admiration for you guys. Reading this is a good reminder of what is truly important. And Who we should be thanking for our abilities to even participate in CF.

18

wrote …

God Bless y'all top athletes. We all get our gifts from God but so few of us recognize or are willing to proclaim. God Reward You Both!!

Doc

19

wrote …

Amen Brothers!

20

David Sanderford wrote …

Awesome!

21

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Awesome: This is a big YES - I couldn't agree more. Amen

22

wrote …

I have to let my kids see this one, thanks guys!!!!

23

wrote …

Good stuff. Thanks Crossfit, Dan and Rich.

24

wrote …

Amen,

25

wrote …

Fantastic video. Thank you Crossfit for your willingness to allow these guys to share their faith. Open your heart to God, He is waiting for you and will never give up on you!

26

wrote …

It is nice to hear a Crossfit interview without any f-bombs or crude language.

27

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Beautiful

28

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Awesome Video! I hope to see more videos like this on the CrossFit Journal!

29

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I agree with a previous comment to seperate CrossFit from Religion... It makes CrossFit look bad.

“The problem with religion, because it's been sheltered from criticism, is that it allows people to believe en masse what only idiots or lunatics could believe in isolation.”
- Sam Harris

30

wrote …

Love this.

31

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

I totally agree.I'm a christian and I do not think that the path to heaven goes through crossfit even though crossfit is awesome. If you wanna honor god go take care of the seek, the homeless, the peoble in need.

32

wrote …

GREAT story. Thanks for the inspirational coverage!
Love this.

33

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

These two men have their beliefs. You have yours. What is wrong with that? You may think CrossFit is purely a physical form of expression. These men feel it adds to their spirituality. They expressed their thoughts and feelings. Did anyone push their views on anyone else? No. So, believe what you believe. Allow these men to believe what they believe.

34

replied to comment from Jonas Virtanen

Thes men spoke about spirituality and faith, not religion. You need to watch the video again.

Why it make CrossFit look bad? Because you do not agree? I think it holds CrossFit at a higher level. I watched videos of a Muslim Oly Lifter. Now, a video of Christian believers. CrossFit is well rounded and balanced in beliefs not only in fitness, but in faith as well.

Well Done CrossFit! Keep it coming!

35

wrote …

I'm a Christian who seriously struggles with worshiping crossfit and my body, which are both temporary, over Jesus, someone eternal. This video was so encouraging and convicting. Sorry if it was offensive to anyone, but it's what I needed to hear. PTL!

36

wrote …

Love this video! Thank you for sharing your faith.

37

wrote …

Thank you both for living this life for others to see.

38

replied to comment from Jonas Virtanen

A video like this doesn't make CrossFit look bad. I enjoyed listening to Dan and Rich talk about needing to have faith in tackling hard challenges even if I don't personally manifest this faith with a belief in a Christian God. I believe that their words carry elements of truth for everyone who understands the merits of going places outside the realms of realism.

However, I also think that it is important to avoid comments like someone who posted earlier - "For the other pot stirrers above, you'll have an opportunity, its never too late" - because words like this are fighting words that clearly offend others who don't subscribe to the same credo. It is one thing to do like most of the commenters and show love and support for their Christian community, it is another to assume that this community makes you better than whoever sits outside it.

Regardless - loved the video!

39

wrote …

I agree with Jonas in a big way, but I get the point to the video. These two men are using their faith as a tool to motivate themselves and push their limits. There is serious science that demonstrates the power of belief to enhance performance. Just ask any Jihadi.

40

wrote …

I agree with Jonas in a big way, but I get the point to the video. These two men are using their faith as a tool to motivate themselves and push their limits. There is serious science that demonstrates the power of belief to enhance performance. Just ask any Jihadi.

41

wrote …

I always find it a bit amazing that people who have no faith are so offended when people of faith express their own. As a Christian I surely don't sit around getting worked up about those "darned" atheists expressing their belief, in well, nothing... Seriously, to each his own. Let people express their joy in their Faith the same way you would let them express their joy in a new PR (although in my mind not nearly the same thing). Respect is the key here.

Although you must admit, when you see such superior athletes sharing their faith in God, and, while I do not profess to know how Glassman truly thinks, see the very conservative leaning posts on the website on some rest days posted by or with the blessing of the founder of Crossfit..... Maybe they are both onto something????

42

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Thank You Rich and Dan and CrossFit. This was an awesome, inspiring and motivating video. I don't think these guys are trying to shove religion down anyone's throat. This is a simple question of what motivates these two men. If their answer is "Jesus" then so be it. Different people are motivated by different things.

43

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I enjoyed the video and see no need for any separation of Crossfit and the content they provide. This is simply a video of two top athletes who share their faith in a manner which is none offense. If CF Journal members do not share the same views, they have every right not to watch the video. I don't believe I should not have the opportunity to watch a video on two top athletes just because someone doesn't share the same faith. Simply stated,"if you dont agree, don't watch. But don't push your agenda on those that choose to watch".

Thank You Crossfit for providing a variety of videos about those community members within Crossfit.

44

replied to comment from Steven Lewis

"The CrossFit Journal is a chronicle of the empirically driven, clinically tested, and community developed CrossFit program. Our mission is to provide a venue for contributing coaches, trainers, athletes, and researchers to ponder, study, debate, and define fitness and collectively advance the art and science of optimizing human performance."

The article is meant to provoke a discussion about a certain sort of psychological influence- in this case, faith- and it's effects on performance. Since belief is a byproduct of our brains, and our brains control our actions, then it is this communities' responsibility to discuss whether or not belief has a sizable influence on performance. If the faithful and the secular among us have a concern about anything else other than that in relation to this journal entry- perhaps they should take it elsewhere- such as the message boards- or a therapist.

45

replied to comment from Daniel Andrews

Amen. So true

46

wrote …

Thank you to Rich and Dan for their public expressions of faith. Thanks to CF for posting this.

47

replied to comment from Jason Hutchcraft

Give me a break. You read something you don't like so you suggest people who differ with you or choose to express themselves in a way you do not approve of seek a therapist? Comparing the faith being expressed here to Jihadist mentality and trying to hide the insult in scientic fact? So much for community. Unfortunately typical response though it seems from people who do not want to accept that some people feel things on a deeper spiritual level simply because they themselves do not. We learn from each other by communicating. Not by attempting to stop a discussion because you disagree. I wonder if Jihadis go to therapists? Now thats a discussion we should have somewhere else for sure.

48

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I knew there was something different about these two men. Dan Bailey and Rich Froning walk and talk with such integrity that it's inspiring and contagious. Thanks for sharing your faith guys. God bless!

49

wrote …

Talk about a leap of faith- did you even look where you were jumping while you missed the boat here? Obviously you need help with the point- that faith can influence an athletes mindset, and this mindset can have an impact on performance. The therapy comment was mainly because of the complaining about the video's theme instead of the content and it's relevance to athletic performance. Get it together, man! Do you find the Jihadi's faith to be any less than these professional athletes? I don't. Perhaps you're the one hiding behind insults, if not out and out discrimination of the Islamic Muslim faith. In the case of the Jihadi- who is trying to compete against a numerically and technologically superior opponent, his faith is highly effective in motivating them to achieve and push beyond the comfort zone. Granted, this is different in the sense that Rich and Dan are not in a combat zone like the Jihadis, but I think anybody can see that the Jihadi's faith (some would call it a delusion) is a potent catalyst for offensive action. This is not that far removed from the discomfort and even self doubt that these athletes face during competition. Perhaps it is a performance advantage- time will tell- though you'll be hard pressed to find a secular person who goes out of his way to point out that he is secular and this is why he won a competition! Do you think Lance Armstrong stood on the podium and thanked thermodynamics, the gravitational pull for allowing the human organism to evolve over millions of years on this planet? Certainly not- though that doesn't make it any less true. He did achieve victory, after all. Obviously his psychology was shaped through a different response than the church or temple, and this deserves every bit of our respect and attention as somebody who claims to possess a gift from God.
As far as a typical response- it's a typical response from arrogant believers to cry foul when somebody dares to suggest that we focus on the science. Particularly, I noticed that you avoided the invitation to discuss that belief originates in the brain- a claim that has piles of evidence to support it. Let's discuss the spiritual side if you wish, keep in mind that the discussion won't always be courteous to those who lack evidence- particularly on a forum like the CrossFit journal, which itself claims to be empirically driven!

50

wrote …

Talk about a leap of faith- did you even look where you were jumping while you missed the boat here? Obviously you need help with the point- that faith can influence an athletes mindset, and this mindset can have an impact on performance. The therapy comment was mainly because of the complaining about the video's theme instead of the content and it's relevance to athletic performance. Get it together, man! Do you find the Jihadi's faith to be any less than these professional athletes? I don't. Perhaps you're the one hiding behind insults, if not out and out discrimination of the Islamic Muslim faith. In the case of the Jihadi- who is trying to compete against a numerically and technologically superior opponent, his faith is highly effective in motivating them to achieve and push beyond the comfort zone. Granted, this is different in the sense that Rich and Dan are not in a combat zone like the Jihadis, but I think anybody can see that the Jihadi's faith (some would call it a delusion) is a potent catalyst for offensive action. This is not that far removed from the discomfort and even self doubt that these athletes face during competition. Perhaps it is a performance advantage- time will tell- though you'll be hard pressed to find a secular person who goes out of his way to point out that he is secular and this is why he won a competition! Do you think Lance Armstrong stood on the podium and thanked thermodynamics, the gravitational pull for allowing the human organism to evolve over millions of years on this planet? Certainly not- though that doesn't make it any less true. He did achieve victory, after all. Obviously his psychology was shaped through a different response than the church or temple, and this deserves every bit of our respect and attention as somebody who claims to possess a gift from God.
As far as a typical response- it's a typical response from arrogant believers to cry foul when somebody dares to suggest that we focus on the science. Particularly, I noticed that you avoided the invitation to discuss that belief originates in the brain- a claim that has piles of evidence to support it. Let's discuss the spiritual side if you wish, keep in mind that the discussion won't always be courteous to those who lack evidence- particularly on a forum like the CrossFit journal, which itself claims to be empirically driven!

51

wrote …

Super amazing to see not only two athletes speak about their faith in Christ, but for Crossfit Journal to give them the forum to do so. I wish more people were willing to be role models like Dan and Rich, rather than self-serving. Well played guys. Good form.

52

wrote …

Awesome!

53

replied to comment from Jonathan Slick

Dude,

It is free...all you have to do is "right click" on your computer and down load it in the file you want and then flash drive and share it :) This stuff is open and source and I am certain both brothers Dan and Rich would want the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared as much as possible ... God speed

54

wrote …

I'm always interested in discovering what motivates the best to be the best. Dan and Rich did a great job in explaining their motivation. Though I am a middle-aged overweight guy who could never in a million years accomplish what these two do daily -- still I gain motivation by watching this video. Thanks so much. If another person is driven by beating cancer, overcoming family issues, or a million other things, I would like to see their videos describing their journeys. I work in an office, caring for others who are not able to care for themselves -- all day long. So I will "steal" motivation wherever I can get it. Thanks guys. And unless it's too much for some to bear, "May God bless you."

55

wrote …

I would challenge Crossfit to provide the same expose' of athletes with varying faiths.

56

wrote …

Fantastic video. Thank you Crossfit for your willingness to allow these guys to share their faith. Open your heart to God, He is waiting for you and will never give up on you!

57

wrote …

Nice to see Rich and Dan. Good to see other Christians in the community, Thanks for sharing. Check out Bibletrack.org its a great daily study its as intense and hard hitting as crossfit is but with out rest days. :)

58

replied to comment from Michael Verton

Well said

59

wrote …

Thank you for posting videos like this regarding Christian faith in the CrossFit community. It is truly inspiring and I hope to see more videos! There are so many times when I've gotten so down on myself and seeing guys like this talk about their faith reminds me where my focus should be. I appreciate their humility and openness.

60

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

Agreed. i can't even watch it.

61

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

Agreed. i can't even watch it.

62

replied to comment from Ivar Isak Gudjonsson

Amen Rich and Dan! Thanks for standing up for your faith. I have found that the Crossfit culture can be a very profane and godless community. Refreshing to see such commitment among our athletes.

63

wrote …

Awesome video!! If people don't like it, they don't have to watch it!!

64

wrote …

My thanks to Rich and Dan. I needed to hear that.

65

wrote …

Great job men. Way to keep your priorities in-line even when it could be tempting to Crossfit above all else.

66

wrote …

WOW...What a great video!!! Thank you CF for sharing the faith of these two awesome men of GOD! Phil 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

67

wrote …

WOW...What a great video!!! Thank you CF for sharing the faith of these two awesome men of GOD! Phil 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

68

wrote …

Loved this Video - such a shame its over shadowed by a couple of negative comments. I have to "stomach" other people's atheistic views the whole time in life, and I always try to be respectful of their views even though they differ greatly from mine. Why cant the favour be returned once in a while. Well done guys =)

69

wrote …

First thank you CF for sharing this video.
Secondly there are many inspirational examples of physical and spiritual struggles recorded in the Bible. I won't try to get into any specifics and dont want to raise any arguments. Just saying that there is some kind of parallel in physical effort and struggle to master a movement or a wod and the spiritual struggle to glorify God. Whatever it is I am glad to see others are inspired as well!!
We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character and character, hope!

70

wrote …

Awesome Video. What I got out of the video was keeping the main thing the main thing that being living a Jesus centered life. At time my world seems to revolve around exercise, I need to keep things in perspective.

71

wrote …

Good to see Crossfit role models stepping out and reaching others with their faith. Keep up the hard work guys!

72

Nigel Gordijk wrote …

I don't get why some people found the video's content inappropriate for this website; the clue's in the bloody title!

I'm an atheist, but I watched it anyway. Regardless of the difference in our philosophical views, I was still interested to learn what motivates two athletes whom I admire. The world would be a boring, grey place if I only listened to opinions that endorsed my own.

73

replied to comment from Nigel Gordijk

Well Said NIGEL.


74

wrote …

Great job by Dan and Rich.
Also, someone made a comment about hearing more about their journey in Christ.
Rich, Dan, and Graham will be speaking on Saturday night May 12th in COlumbus OHIO at the Columbus EXPO Center where the Central East Regional is being held.
There will be more info to come on the CrossFit faith site and on the games site.

both Dan and Rich are Great men of God and I am Glad to see them Standing up for what they believe.

75

wrote …

I work in a globo gym in Milton Keynes UK and I try and be salt and light where I work. Thank you guy's for your Christian witness.

76

replied to comment from Jonas Virtanen

Is that right? Two men who openly love The Lord Jesus Christ and want to exalt Him in every aspect of their lives….This is a bad thing? This somehow causes damage to the CrossFit community? I would encourage you to rethink your statement.

Psalm 53:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God,”

77

wrote …

Great stuff, by far one of my favorite videos!

78

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

Amazing video!

79

wrote …

Blessings to all you brothers and sisters in Christ out there in the CF community. This is temporary, but life everlasting with Christ is our true gift. Awesome video. Proud to know these guys...

80

wrote …

Thanks for making it free!

81

wrote …

I think they are mixing up faith with evidence.

Crossfit repeatedly states that work equals force times distance. A mysterious force doesn't undo gravity and float the bar overhead in a snatch. Your muscles and body move the bar. You can't walk up with tons of faith and snatch 500 more than you have before.

You can snatch a little bit more than before because you have evidence of what you've previously done in other workouts. Physics reigns supreme.

82

wrote …

God is great! Awesome Job Dan and Rich too stand up for your God as he stood up for you...Lead from the front!

83

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

We have a separation of church and state, and we all see how wonderfully that's working out. How about if we leave the Hollywood inspired Christian hating out of CrossFit.

84

replied to comment from Jonas Virtanen

I guess you haven't watched TV for a few decades then. Christianity has been scoffed, mocked and derided for forty years. It's why we have such a wonderful society and record levels of poverty, illiteracy and dependency. Well done! If you worship a purple breasted frog, though, you're cool. Christianity, you're stupid.

85

wrote …

pretty cool... good luck in the Games

86

replied to comment from Jeromy Smith

@ Jeromy Smith--Don't you like diversity? I guess "Diversity" is ok as long as you don't have a differing opinion. Great story...Good luck with your tummy troubles J

oh....and God Bless you ! :)

87

replied to comment from nicole matchett

Wow--you’re so tolerant of differing views in life…Passive aggressive much?

88

replied to comment from Jason Hutchcraft

I think what your missing Jason is "Heart"...God Bless

89

wrote …

This article is about two of the best CrossFit athletes in the world. Why shouldn't we be interested in what motivates them? The sad thing is that if Rich and Dan were inspired by faith in Islam, or anything other than Christianity, I don't think we would see a single negative comment posted here!

90

wrote …

Thanks Crossfit journal for letting Rich and Dan share their faith. I have always been blessed by the crossfit bothers and sisters that show the light of Jesus Christ by how inspiring their lives are. One day we wil all die, whether we were awesomely in shape by Crossfit or not. Which, does beg the question, what will happen when we die. Christanity/the bible has answers to these questions which need to be dealt with. I find it encouraging that even in Crossfit that God has raised up champions that would testifiy of him. Thanks Rich, Dan, Graham, and Chris. God Bless you.

91

wrote …

These guys are studs. Regardless of where you are in your faith, as fellow crossfiters we should support Rich and Dan in giving their all to something especially when the rest of the world thinks its silly. Thats what crossfit is to us right! we have tasted it, given are all, been part of a community, learned discipline and perseverance, and everyone thinks were crazy!! Its no different with faith in Christ, I gave my life to him and its the greatest thing I ever did, no one understands my relationship with God but that will never silence me from giving him the glory in all situations

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