Steve P & the CrossFit Games: Final Thoughts

Jul 30th, 2013

Category: Community

Steve P & the CrossFit Games: Final Thoughts


Steve P, CF Games Superstar (and yes, that’s Carl Paoli as well)


I’m not sure I can really write anything that hasn’t already been said (either in person or via the blog and FB) regarding Steve’s performance at the 2013 Games.  His defining moment will surely be the his deadlift/box jump workout on Day 2, which shot him from 17th place to 9th place overall, which we recapped here (you can see the video of the performance on that blog post, too).

That performance qualified him for Day 3 (only the top 12 athletes got to compete on the final day).  Steve did a great job on Day 3 as well.

The morning started with 5 minutes to find a 1-rep-max clean-and-jerk.  Steve PR’d and got 210 lbs, good for third place in that workout, and moved up to 7th place overall.  His 6th and final workout was a rough chipper involving double-unders, sprints, rope climbs, and the like (you can see the whole workout here).  After a slow start with the double-unders, Steve picked up a head of steam and managed to pass a couple athletes on the way to the finish line (which he sprinted across, of course).  He finished in 9th place in the workout, and when all was said and done, he finished 7th place overall.

The 7th place finish improved on Steve’s 8th place finish in 2011 (his last trip to the Games), and he did it against far tougher competition.  And in terms of local bragging rights, Steve was the top finisher from NorCal (there were 4 athletes competing from NorCal in his Masters bracket, Men 55-59).

All of that stuff is just rankings and points, though.  Steve’s performance goes so far beyond the numbers.  I remember when Steve couldn’t lift his arms overhead without pain.  I remember when Steve came off shoulder surgery, fixing those damaged shoulders of his.  I remember when I first started to program for him with the intent of getting him to the Games.  It was over a year ago, in April 2012.  I’m pretty sure Steve and I were the only ones who thought he had a chance at that point in time.  And more than anything, I will always remember his discipline and patience, taking a long-term view and putting in the hard work that would pay off, but not until months later.  I will remember his commitment to maximizing everything he could over the 15 months we worked together to get him to the Games.  Steve left no stone unturned, completely attacking his weaknesses and bolstering his strengths, rounding himself into shape along the way.  If Steve had a workout to do, he did it.  In fact, I can count on a single hand the number of workouts he missed, and almost always, that was due to a travel commitment (he travels a lot for his job), and even then, 99% of the time, he’d get his work in on the road.

During this whole process, Steve understood that there are no shortcuts.  A lot of the work he did must have been frustrating (although he never said so), because small changes in technique are hard to do, and take time, but they pay big dividends.  There’s no substitute for doing it the right way.

Steve earned that 7th place finish (worldwide, mind you).  He’s a class act and an inspiration.  We’re lucky to have him at CFO.  Congratulations, Steve!


  1. Michelle M July 30, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Steve works with all of us here at Aspera, and needless to say, his performance was an inspiration that we can’t stop talking about over here. His work ethic and consequent achievement are an absolute inspiration. Congratulations to such a great person on a phenomenal accomplishment.

  2. Steve Pollini July 30, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Since not everyone is a Facebook user, I’d like to re-post my FB comments here:

    Mike – thanks for the recap and all your hard work on my behalf these past 5+ years. And again, sincere thanks to all of our coaches at CFO, Candace, Aaron, Thomas, Robyn, Tami, Arnold, Lance, Connie, Max, Jo Ann and of course Carl Paoli of @Naka Athletics. The support from the CFO community, my family and friends was overwhelming! Reading your posts and ‘likes’ gave me a strong and sustained boost, especially after I’d dug myself into a deep hole on Tuesday. I read every post of encouragement and support before and throughout the games whether it was in my hotel or in our tent at the track during the events. It made a huge difference in boosting my spirits and keeping me focused on the task at hand, and I’ll be forever grateful to you!!! As useful as it was to hyper-focus on weaknesses through individual programming and WODs, the real power of CrossFit lies in the group WODs and community support. I’ve missed that and am glad to get back into the fun of working out with everybody else. I feel immensely privileged to have represented CFO (that’s you) at the Games. Thank you for sharing and supporting this incredible journey! Looking forward to giving it another shot in 2 years 😉

  3. Sabrina Martin July 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Wow, I’m very impressed. You’re very inspiring. Thank you for representing for us!

  4. Brad Gilliatt August 3, 2013 at 4:12 am


    So so impressed! Just wish I could have been there live, to cheer you on in person! And I remember when you started at CFO. I remember watching you roll in on your 12GS and I used to think to myself, who is this super cool dude!

    I’m fortunate that we’ve become friends.

    Well done sir!

  5. Candace August 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    You rocked it, Steve! It was very inspirational to watch you from afar. Way to represent:)