At just 24 years of age, Sam Kwant is one of the most promising athletes on the CrossFit scene and he proved his class in Stage 1 of this year’s Games by coming fourth to qualify for the finals in California.
Kwant went into the final event - titled Awful Annie - knowing he was far from guaranteed a qualification spot, and would have to be at the top of his game to secure a top-five finish.
In an interview with the Morning Chalk Up
he admitted: [It] “was nerve-racking for sure…but I just went all gas, no brakes. ‘Just don’t slow down,’ I told myself. And that’s what I did, so at the end I didn’t feel like I could have done anything else.”
That remarkable effort paid off as Kwant finished seventh in the workout and edged out some of the top athletes in the world, such as Chandler Smith and Patrick Vellner, for the chance to compete for $300,000 at the end of October.
His performance in the final workout capped off an impressive turnaround. The American sat in 13th after Day 1 but insisted it didn’t cause him to doubt his chances of qualifying.
“I honestly wasn’t too bummed because I knew the first day wasn’t going to be that great for me, and that Day 2 would be a lot better,” he said.
That patience was well placed as he took third in the handstand hold.
“I’m not a gymnast, and handstands have been something I have been working on, but not so much handstand holds,” Kwant admitted
“I didn’t think it would be in the top three. I was hopeful it would be top 15, but I guess it was good enough. I do a lot of handstand push-up work, so my shoulders are strong and I guess it translated…My forearms were burning more than anything else.”
Now Kwant will head into the hotly anticipated final competition which will be drastically different to anything the Games organisers have put on before.
“I’m just super excited about there only being five men and five women,” he added. “I think it’ll mean they can do a lot of different things they haven’t been able to do before. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us.”