Iceland’s CrossFit Sport is heading to the CrossFit Games for the third time, and this year, team members are determined to make a significant mark on the competition.
After winning the Europe Regional in 2011, and finishing second in 2012, the team placed 38th and 39th, respectively, at the Games. After not qualifying in 2013, the team wants to do itself justice in 2014.
“We want to do more than just attend,” said James Goulden, who will be taking part in his first Games. “It is great to go, but we want to do better than we have previously.”
Dadi Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson and David Bjornsson will join Goulden for the men, and the experienced female trio of Frída Ammendrup, Ingunn Ludviksdottir and Thuridur Erla Helgadottir.
“The girls on the team are very strong, with Thuridur Erla being a former individual athlete in the Games (2012) and, including this year, a two-time team competitor,” Sveinbjarnarson said. “It’s the third time competing in the Games for Ingunn and second time for Frida. This is my third time to the Games in team competition, but for David and James, it will be the first.”
Goulden sees both age and experience as an advantage.
“Four of our team members are in our mid- to late-30s,” said Goulden, who is originally from Rotherham, England, and has lived in Iceland for a decade.
Goulden, Sveinbjarnarson, Ammendrup and Ludviksdottir are all between 36 and 38 years old.
“We have experience and pure strength from training for a long time,” Goulden said. “We have been doing CrossFit and entering CrossFit competitions for a long time. The youngsters are getting very good, but we are playing our part.”
The team turned up to the regional competition in Copenhagen, Denmark confident. Both Helgadottir—who finished 35th at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games—and Ludviksdottir chose to be a part of the team instead of pursuing individual competition.
“I definitely expected to finish in the top three,” Goulden said. “I wasn’t quite sure we would win it, but I expected to qualify.”
By Sunday night of the regional weekend, CrossFit Sport took its place atop the podium, ahead of Sweden’s Team Tegen, which was second, with CrossFit Falun Måndagsklubben in third. A dominant performance saw the team from Iceland win two events and finish second in two others.
Since earning their place at the Games, the team members have thrown themselves into their training.
“It has been intense; at least five sessions a week and sometimes two a day,” said Goulden, adding that the team is confident and works well together.
“We don’t really have any major weaknesses,” he said. “There are no holes in the team. That’s the reason we do so well. And we are very organized, as well.”
Sveinbjarnarson said the team members are looking forward to taking part in the events already announced, but know there may be a few surprises coming from CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro.
“What we expect of the Games is a lot of hard work,” he said. “The Games have not failed to deliver on that so far with the WODs that have been announced. And we are excited to see if they include any twists. We know we are up against some very strong teams, but we plan to give them a fight.”
Goulden added CrossFit Sport has done its best to prepare for whatever might come out of the hopper, even using sandbags to build a homemade version of the Worm, which was introduced at the 2013 Games.
Still, “it is very hard to prepare for the unknown,” he added.
Sveinbjarnarson said CrossFit Sport won’t leave anything on the field at the end of the competition.
“I am sure that there are events that we will see that we will not have had a chance to try out, so let’s hope that our blood, sweat and a couple of tears will be enough to get us as far up the Leaderboard as possible, and we plan to enjoy every second of it,” he said. “It is every CrossFit athlete’s dream to compete in the CrossFit Games and it is a privilege to be a part of.”