VICTORIA, British Columbia (BVM) — When asked how he faired at the recent 2020 CrossFit Games — held virtually from Brazil — Victoria, British Columbia’s Adam Davidson replies, “I finished 27th.”
That seems OK but doesn’t really sound all that spectacular until he adds, “That means that I am deemed the 27th fittest person in the world out of 280,000 CrossFit members!”
The 2020 competition was Davidson’s first appearance at a CrossFit Games event – seen by those in the industry as the Olympic Games of CrossFit – and it was something that he had worked toward for nearly 10 years.
Always active in sports, Davidson took an interest in Olympic weightlifting while in high school in his hometown of Ottawa. He also played football, and was a strong competitor in track and field, most notably as a decathlete.
However, while he was attending the University of Ottawa, a friend told him about CrossFit, and because of Davidson’s diversity as an athlete, thought he would excel at it.
This led Davidson to the Physics Strength & Conditioning Inc. Gym/Physical Fitness Center in Ottawa, and it was there that he fell in love with CrossFit.
“It combined a lot of the sports activities that I was interested in and the people that I met there were awesome,” Davidson said.
From there, it was on to the CrossFit NCR facility, considered by many to be the top CrossFit gym in Canada. It was then he realized his potential in the sport.
“I wanted to be the best in the world,” Davidson said emphatically. “To me, this was like playing all day long and I wanted to be the absolute best version of myself.”
He dedicated himself to the sport, and in 2014, he competed twice in regional competitions, once as an individual and once as part of a team. He was on his way to fulfilling his dream…or so it seemed.
Later in 2014, Davidson suffered a major injury as he tore his meniscus while training – ending his season. But he bounced back in 2015 as an individual competitor, placing 12th in the East Regionals. A year later, he moved to Victoria to live and train, and narrowly missed going to the CrossFit Games in the West region by just two places, finishing seventh.
However, life threw him a” couple of curveballs” over the next two years, which were extremely difficult for Davidson.
“The years 2017 and 2018 were pretty emotional years for me,” Davidson said. “All my grandparents passed away within a seven-month period, and I just felt like I needed to prioritize being with my family.
“My grandfather was the person who instilled in me the importance of family and being committed to what you are doing and to your community, so their passing hit me pretty hard.”
With the difficult circumstances, Davidson felt that he needed a break from high level competition.
“I still competed (in the CrossFit Open) in 2018, but it’s kind of a blur,” he recalled.
More adversity came later that summer, when Davidson tore his ACL and underwent surgery in Dec. 2018.
When the CrossFit Open rolled around at the beginning of 2019, Davidson was in no position to contend. But he decided to compete anyway, even scaling a couple of the workouts.
“The whole purpose was to show my community how CrossFit is infinitely scalable,” Davidson said. “I wanted to bring the community together to see the atmosphere, and I managed to get 60 people to sign up.”
Fast forward to this year, and Davidson finally ended up qualifying for the CrossFit Games. However, he says it was not the true goal he had going into 2020.
“I just wanted to learn what competing in a sanctioned event was like,” Davidson said. “I wanted to experience the format and see how I would react to travel and time zone changes, and then at my second sectional, I punched my ticket.
“When I clinched that spot, it was the closing of a chapter, you know. Eight years working towards this and finally making it, it was one of those things where you complete a goal that’s very hard to complete and it finally comes to fruition.”
However, fate had other plans for Davidson and all his fellow CrossFit competitors. He had qualified by winning the Brazil CrossFit Championship shortly after placing third at the Pandaland CrossFit Challenge in China early in the year. But then, everything would change.
“I came home to a pandemic,” he said ruefully.
The CrossFit Games were supposed to happen from July 29 to Aug. 2 in Madison, Wis., but were subsequently postponed. Instead, they took place online in a virtual state in September.
“We submitted our videos and then we had an official fly out to judge us, who then submitted the scores for us,” Davidson said. “We didn’t get to see anybody else while we were competing, so we were really in the dark throughout the whole event.”
He undertook the seven events/disciplines of the competition at his own gym, CrossFit LoLo, which he and his wife Kelsey Goodwin opened two years ago. Davidson finished fifth in the “handstand hold” with a time of one minute, 25 seconds. He also finished 12th in the “front squat,” where he lifted 412 pounds. These events propelled him to his overall 27th place finish.
“I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling of hearing them call my name and knowing what it took all those years to get to that moment,” Davidson explained. “It made it so much more special.”
Davidson is quick to credit the contributions from his wife as well.
“It was well worth the wait and the effort it took to celebrate it with her,” he added. “It truly was a team effort.”
Despite his excellent showing in the 2020 CrossFit Games, there are no “free passes” into next year’s competition.
“You start all over again and you must qualify once more and get to the regionals if you want to compete in the next year’s games,” Davidson said.
During the upcoming winter months, Davidson plans to focus on the events where he is not as strong as he would like to be.
“Rowing is definitely one area that I need to work on,” he said.
But ultimately, Davidson credits breaking through this year to his mindset shift.
“Competing has changed for me from being about me versus you and having to be better, to being about competing at a high level and having fun,” Davidson said. “I’ve had a huge mental shift and people keep telling me I look like I have so much more enjoyment than I used to, and I do.”