Athletics at ArtPrize: Competition in the CrossFit community

Every year ArtPrize brings tens of thousands of people to the Grand Rapids, Michigan to look at the artwork that the competing artists have entered in the competition.  Those at the 8th Day Gym this weekend who joined the crowds or participated their activities, were treated to an extraordinary competition.  At the 8th Day Gym’s GR Games, the artist’s art and medium is the competitor’s body and their tools for sculpting are intense exercise.

Winners at the 8th Day Gym

Winners at the 8th Day Gym

The 8th Day Gym is a huge, converted garage.  The bays for working on cars and trucks were converted to exercise areas that open up to make it an indoor/outdoor exercise facility.  This weekend the facility was host to the GR Games, a CrossFit competition of speed, strength, and endurance.

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While competitive exercise may not sound exciting, watching a room full of these athletes speeding through handstand push-ups was impressive.  Following that, the competitors would dead-lift from the floor to full extension, then back to the floor, often in one smooth motion.

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For those who wandered through the playing field with a camera, the team dead-lifting was amazing and a bit scary at times.  Speed was the priority and there was no requirement that it be gently placed back on the floor.  When the lifting went to the next team member, the lifter would be moving to make room for them as gravity completed its return.

One of the final events, and, perhaps the most unusual was a race around the block with weights suspended from either side of a metal bar across the competitor’s shoulders.  When the team members returned they were treated to a final session of dead lifting and the winners were declared.

the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Not Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas

the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Not Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas

In the women’s competition the the first place team was 8th Day Gym’s “It’s Always Bulking Season” with Brandi Harr, Rachel Elery, and Heather Paas.

“Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel

“Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel

Taking second place from Holland was the CrossFit Lake Effect team “Lake Effect” with Kara Marsman, Danielle Beaudreault, and Chrissy Meinel.

The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez

The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez

From Saginaw’s Next Level Fitness, The “Wild Sisters”, Megan Sculley, Geena Militello, and Janell Hernandez, took third place.

Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits”

Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits”

Taking top honors in the men’s competition were Josh Woodhull, Phil Serzo, and Torey Throop of the “Mavens and Misfits” from CrossFit Maven, CrossFit Treetown, and Crossfit in the D.

“Lake Effect” team left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.

“Lake Effect” team left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.

Matching their ladies, Holland’s CrossFit Lake Effect Mens’ “Lake Effect” team took second place with, from left to right, Regan Quaal, Anthony Davis, and Jack Klingbiel.

the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen

the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen

From the Vernon Hills, Illinois gym, CrossFit Carbon, the “Essential Elements” team with Craig Stocker, Drew Cooper, and Pete Rasmusen took third place.  Craig and Drew, both Phys Ed. teachers, certainly made their students proud.

For more about National Art Examiner John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.