When Chris Spealler walks into the StubHub Center this year in Carson, Calif., it won’t be as an athlete. It will be as a media commentator.
“That is going to be a really difficult experience for me,” says the legendary CrossFit athlete who has competed at six iterations of the CrossFit Games, “but I think it’s more important for me to show the community how to handle that with grace than with just kind of flippin’ the bird at the situation and just not showin’ up at all.”
These days, Speal is helping friend and South West Regional winner Matt Chan prepare for the Games with frequent workouts alongside fellow Regional competitor Eric O’Connor.
They train together so often, Chan says, “I should be payin’ him.”
After the Regional, where Speal placed fourth, he experienced a flood of emotions at not qualifying for the Games for the first time in the event’s history.
“It was almost like a grieving process. One minute I was emotional, I’d be crying, the next minute I was fine, the next minute I was angry at what happened, the next minute it was unfair,” he explains.
Still, Speal gives his fans hope they might see him compete once more: “It’s not outside the realm for me to be back again.”
Video by Jonathan Glancy.
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Additional reading: Future Unknown, by Andréa Maria Cecil, published Aug. 17, 2012.