At 21 years old, rookie CrossFit Games competitor Justin Medeiros is unlike his peers preparing for the journey to Aromas, California, and the final stage of the 2020 season. He is the youngest of the five men and has a background in wrestling and football as opposed to Olympic lifting or gymnastics. He doesn’t drink alcohol or eat fast food, and he has a flowing mullet that blows in the wind.
Despite having no previous CrossFit Games experience, Medeiros has expressed his excitement about three grueling days of work and an unknown number of events waiting for him. He has wanted to reach the Games for many years and nearly achieved his goal in four consecutive seasons. In 2020, however, Medeiros secured a spot in Stage 1 of the CrossFit Games by winning the Filthy 150 Sanctional event in Ireland and went on to finish third overall in the virtual portion of the competition. Now he anticipates a Final Stage filled with odd objects but doesn’t have any predictions about what’s to come on Oct. 23-25.
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"I mean nothing too specific, but I've been wanting to go to the Games for a long time now," Medeiros explained to PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview. "And one of the biggest reasons was to do some of those events that we are not allowed to do inside of our gyms, like touching the Pig and the Snail and the Plow and all the crazy stuff that you can never do every day in your box, like the obstacle courses. So I know we're going to see some of that stuff. I have no idea what we're going to see, but I'm really excited to see what [Director of the Games Dave Castro] throws at us."
Unlike many of his peers, Medeiros does pay attention to the teasers on Castro’s Instagram account — although he isn’t seriously trying to make predictions about upcoming events. He and his coach, Adam Neiffer, like to look at Castro’s teasers to get an idea about what movements may surface over the course of the weekend.
This strategy paid off recently when the Director of the Games revealed that the 2007 CrossFit Games "and then some" will make up the first day of competition. Medeiros and the other four male competitors now know that there will be some form of a trail run, an event featuring weightlifting and gymnastics, and the CrossFit Total (max deadlift, back squat and strict shoulder press).
Medeiros is training for the CrossFit Games and his trip to Aromas with Neiffer, but he is also a full-time college student at Boise State University. He is taking more than 13 units while simultaneously training, which could have created difficulties juggling his schedule. However, all of Medeiros’ classes moved online due to COVID-19, so he was able to remain at CrossFit Fort Vancouver in Washington while preparing for Stage 1. Granted, Medeiros also entered the first portion of the competition expecting to finish outside the cutoff line.
"I was like, 'All right, I'm just going to hang on for the first three or four weeks of school. And then after Stage 1, I'll catch back up. I'll be set,'" Medeiros said. "And I qualified for Stage 2. So I'm like, 'Uh-oh, I've got to dedicate a little bit more time to it to stay caught up.' But I'm a kinesiology major, so a lot of my teachers are in that sports environment. So a lot of them understood where I'm coming from. I've got some really cool teachers available to work with me. It's been a handful, but I think just part of the experience and I love it."
While the Rookie of the Year Medeiros will garner attention for his athletic ability and how he reacts to each event over the weekend, he will also inevitably create conversations with his haircut. However, Medeiros isn’t shying away from the attention put on his mullet. He will step in and fill the void left by past mulleted professional athletes, such as retired NFL defender Jared Allen, while bringing the haircut back to prominence on a national stage.
"Dude, I am so ready. I mean, I've been, I feel like I'm preparing for this moment, just as much for the Games and my fitness," Medeiros said while laughing. "I've been grooming this mullet for the past eight months. So I got my haircut appointment all set up for the Games. I mean, it's going to be primed and ready for competition. I guarantee you that."0comments
Medeiros continued and jokingly explained that the mullet plays a factor in his performance. "I mean, you've got to have a lot of fitness to go along with it. But definitely the hair, it elevates my fitness another degree or so."
The Final Stage of the 2020 CrossFit Games takes place Oct. 23-25. The top five male athletes and the top five female athletes will compete in an unannounced number of events created by Castro. Pluto TV and the Games’ website, Facebook and YouTube channels will provide streaming coverage while CBS will air a two-hour block on Saturday morning.