Invictus Masters Athlete, Elizabeth “ET” Terris, getting after the sled at our Valentine’s Day competition.

A Theory About Female CrossFit Masters Athletes
Written by Michele Vieux
(originally published in 2018)

Most competitive – and even non-competitive – CrossFit athletes are very intense if you ask anyone outside of the sport. Based on what is shown on ESPN and social media accounts, that presumption is pretty easy to defend. Besides the “newbie” at the gym who can’t stop talking about their WOD, what they ate that day, and showing off their battle scars i.e. bloody shins and torn hands – there is one group in particular that takes the proverbial cake when it comes to intensity level. The Female CrossFit Masters Athlete. I’d actually argue that ANY female over the age of 55 who competes in ANY sport likely does so with more intensity and fury than any other divisions of that sport. If you have a basic knowledge of American history, it makes sense why.

Life Before Title IX
Roll back to 1971, when girls weren’t afforded the right to play sports in school. If they were lucky, they got to play club sports or in neighborhood pick-up games, but even with that, there wasn’t much opportunity for young women to develop their athletic sides. Women and girls were still confined mostly to cheerleading, team managers and domestic duties. It wasn’t until Title IX passed in 1972, that it was required for federally funded institutions to provide equal opportunity to both men and women in sports.

Think back to your formative years in sport. Most of us started playing a variety of recreational sports – soccer, T-ball, swimming, gymnastics – when we were 5 or 6 years old but really got serious about one or two sports in junior high and high school where we received not only coaching, but the chance to compete at a relatively high level and show off our abilities and achievements. Or at least we had the chance to do so.

How it All Adds Up to Intensity
Females born prior to 1962 would have been greater than 10 years old when Title IX passed and therefore were never fully integrated into the athletic system in junior high and high school that we know today.

So now these women are in their mid-50’s or older. They are likely empty nesters or close to being there. They have had the opportunity to develop professional careers and are possibly close to retirement. They have the time and the means. And they have something to prove – something they never had the chance to prove before now.

So next time you see a Masters Athlete – Games hopeful or not – getting after it in your gym afford her that opportunity to show her stuff and support her in her new opportunity. Are you a masters athlete who is interested in competing in the sport of CrossFit? Click here to learn more about what we have to offer you!

Also Check Out…

The Right Stuff: Programming For The Masters Athlete

Matt Beals: Different Approach, Same Result

Wrist Range Of Motion Exercises For Better Positioning & Less Pain


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April 20, 2018 7:24 am

My Mom has played for the San Diego Splash basketball team for a couple of decades now at least. They’ve gone from a 70+ team to an 85+ team. She and some of her teammates are actually 90+. Unless it’s the Senior Olympics they’re always playing down, playing teams in younger age brackets. It may not look intense when you watch them play, but make no mistake, those ladies are fierce! Pat Styles

April 19, 2018 4:55 pm

Excellent points, Michele. Thank you for helping me become more knowledgeable and appreciative of the Female Masters athletes! Awesome stuff.

Kendall Kimball
Kendall Kimball
April 19, 2018 6:58 am


Candy Olkey
Candy Olkey
April 19, 2018 2:56 am

Well said…LOVE this Michele!

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