Photo collage of Invictus Teen Athlete, Marley Francis.

Teen Athlete Takeover With Marley Francis
Interview by Tiffany Ammerman

In a world dominated by screens and digital distractions, where teenagers often find themselves consumed by the virtual realm, there are those exceptional individuals who defy the norm and push their boundaries to pursue their passions with unwavering determination. Among them, a select few stand out as professional teen athletes, embodying the perfect blend of talent, discipline, and unwavering dedication to their craft.

Invictus sits down with teen athlete, Marley Francis, to talk about her first appearance at the NOBULL CrossFit Games, her exposure to CrossFit since she was 4 and, of course, a peek at her My Goals List she penned when she was only 8 years old. 

Ammerman: Morning Chalk Up placed you in the category of teen athletes who will “undoubtedly make a run at qualifying [for the Games]”. Walk us through how you’re feeling right now as the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games is quickly approaching. 

Francis: I am getting more and more excited the closer we get to the Games. For a while it didn’t really sink in what I had accomplished and what that all meant for me, my family, and our gym community. Now this dream is a reality and I’m trying to soak it all in!

Ammerman: Many teens your age aren’t doing elite athletic competitions and spending hours in the gym everyday. What do your friends think and how would you say training impacts your life as a teenager? 

Francis: Most of my friends think I’m kind of crazy (except for the few that are also in this sport and space) but each of them have a sport they are heavily dedicated to as well, so they respect my hard work just like I respect theirs. Training on this scale is a big commitment, but I know if I wasn’t in this sport that those hours in the gym would be filled by a different sport. Training keeps me VERY busy so I may not be able to have friends over as often as most or stay up late with friends, but if that was my life I wouldn’t feel as fulfilled as I do now.

Ammerman: As many people know, it takes a village to get an athlete to the Games. Who is your support system when things get tough? 

Francis: I am very fortunate to have an enormous support system. With my parents owning a CrossFit affiliate since I was 4, I have A LOT of aunts and uncles (many have known me since I was 4)! With an entire gym community behind me, I have endless support and help whenever I need it. No matter what kind of day I am having, the people in the gym always cheer me on. Seeing all of them excited keeps me motivated to do my absolute best each and every day. Every one of our members means the world to me and I feel very grateful to have all those people in my corner cheering me on no matter my placement. Obviously, my day-to-day support system is my family. I could not have done any of this without my parents. My mom is always by my side in whatever I do. She keeps the fridge stocked with everything needed for my meals and tries to keep everything as low stress as possible, that way all I have to focus on is training and recovering. My dad has been my coach and training partner from the very beginning and has taught me everything I know. The father daughter/ athlete coach relationship we have is one of the most special things to me. It’s very unique and it makes qualifying for the Games all the more meaningful and special.

Ammerman: Not only are CF Games Rookies younger and younger but we’re also nearing the ten year anniversary of the teens division being added into the Games. When did you first start CrossFit and did you think it would lead you to where you are now?

Francis: My parents opened our affiliate when I was 4 years old so I’ve been surrounded by fitness my whole life. As I got older I never really “learned” how to do CrossFit or the movements, it was just in my blood. When I was 6 we started a CrossFit Kids program and from then on I’ve considered CrossFit my sport. At the time, my dad was competing at the Regional level and that’s when I learned about the CrossFit Games. From age 6 and on I watch all the CrossFit Games movies on repeat. I knew making the CrossFit Games is what I wanted to achieve. I didn’t seriously start training until about a year and a half ago but all these years I’ve been waiting to check “make the CrossFit Games” off my goal board (that I made when I was 8).

Marley's "goal board" written in colored pencils on notebook paper.

Ammerman: We know that training, meal prep and school can take up a lot of your time already but when you’re not doing those things, what is your favorite non-workout activity to do?

Francis: I love to be outside! Boating, wakesurfing, going to the beach, tanning, they are all my favorite things. I love being with my family and friends so anything with people I love is my favorite.

Join Invictus and Havasu CrossFit  as we cheer Marley on as she puts her fitness to the test at the ultimate proving ground. Her ticket to the Games is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the indomitable spirit that fuels young athletes on their quest for greatness.

Notify me of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top