"Are you here for the CrossFit?" my driver asks in a thick Russian accent as we go from my AirBNB to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
"I am," I say, still a little groggy from the flight in the night before.
"Are you competing?" he asks.
At first, I'm not sure how to respond to this question. Technically, I'm not a Games athlete — I'm a journalist. But for the next four days, I'll be competing against 18,000 other spectators to become the Fittest Fan on Earth.
The CrossFit Fittest Fan Competition harnesses the fanatic energy of CrossFitters by giving them a new workout a day, usually one adapted from the teen competition. Anyone can participate, and the day's best times are posted the following morning. After a year and a half of doing CrossFit at the same gym, I want to see how I compare to this broad cross-section of the CrossFit universe. If I get lucky and hit only the movements I'm best at, like pull-ups, handstands, and pistol squats, I think I can do fairly well. And even if I have to do Olympic lifts, I'm confident I can dig deep and power through. This is, after all, the ultimate test of athleticism.
I competed with some of the fittest CrossFit fans in the world, and here's what I learned.
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