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How Commitment and Balance Helped Cole Sager and BKG Qualify for a Historic 11 CrossFit Games


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Brazil’s Julia Kato is one of the “comeback kids” of the 2024 CrossFit Games, find out more about her battle back to the Games this summer.

  • Cole Sager and Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson made history by each qualifying for their 11th consecutive CrossFit Games. Learn how they did it.

  • Hong Kong native Ant Haynes planned to retire as an individual competitor after this season, but a UCL tear ended his Games qualification bid abruptly. Now, he might have some unfinished business left for 2025. He told us all this and more in our interview below.

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“I’m not someone who will stand around and necessarily cheer on my competitors, [but] I wanted to be out there and still be a part of it all,” - Ant Haynes on taking the floor for the final event of the Asia Semifinal in May, he added that it was his way of showing respect to his competitors.


Credit: @crossfitgames / Instagram

Brazilian Julia Kato Finds a Path Back to the CrossFit Games

What’s better than qualifying for your second trip to the CrossFit Games? 

For Julia Kato, it was doing it in her home country, surrounded by friends and family after two years of living abroad and just a few months after overcoming a set of injuries.

The Brazilian is one of only a handful of athletes heading back after a gap year (or several), and she earned her way by taking second place at the South America Semifinal by Copa Sur.

  • “I want to do great this year [at the CrossFit Games], but I also want to have fun. My approach to training has been to enjoy every step of the process and get back [to the Games] to represent my gym and my country,” Kato told the Morning Chalk Up in an interview.

Kato qualified for the CrossFit Games for the first time in 2022 by taking second place at CrossFit Copa Sur. 

But right before heading to Madison for the Games, she sustained a tailbone injury after falling from a water slide, making any kind of hinging or squatting movement almost unbearable.

  • She went on to place 37th place at the 2022 Games and sought medical treatment. 

That same year, during a team competition in late November, she tore a muscle in her shoulder.


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✂🗓️ 2024 CrossFit Games Cut Schedule: The CrossFit Games team revealed the cut schedule for the 2024 Games.

  • On the individual side, all athletes will compete on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. The field will be cut to 30 for Saturday afternoon and 20 for Sunday.

  • On the team side, the full field of 30 teams will compete on Thursday and Friday. The field will be cut to 20 for Saturday and 10 for Sunday.

💪 METCON Rush Incoming: This mid-Atlantic event has been gaining momentum every year, and later this month, elite athletes will burn it down in Hagerstown, MD. Find out more about this up-and-coming event and check it out on July 20-21.

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ICYMI: Dreamtown CrossFit is our July Affiliate of the Month.


Credit: @crossfitgames / Instagram

Cole Sager and Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson Make History with 22 Combined CrossFit Games Appearances

As the CrossFit Games approach, all eyes are on who will stand atop the podium this summer. 

Will it be a returning Games veteran?

Or maybe a rookie making their debut? 

But what some might consider an even more impressive feat are the athletes who qualify year after year after year. 

This brings us to Cole Sager and Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson (BKG)—two athletes making history after qualifying an amazing 11 times each for the Games. 

Both qualified out of their respective Semifinals and will be headed to Fort Worth, TX, in just a few short weeks to compete at the 2024 CrossFit Games, being held in Dickies Arena. 

  • Sager has never made it onto the podium at the Games, while BKG came in third in 2015 and 2019. 

  • Both athletes have faced several setbacks related to family and life outside of the gym. However, both have made CrossFit a career that they intend to keep up for as long as possible.

We spoke with both of them about what factors helped to contribute to this incredible longevity at the highest levels of the sport of CrossFit.


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Credit: @anthayneshk / Instagram

Ant Haynes Talks About UCL Tear at the 2024 Asia Semifinals

It was supposed to be his swan song year.

Ant Haynes went into the 2024 Asia Semifinals thinking it would be his last as an individual, ultimately hoping to qualify for this summer’s CrossFit Games for a third and final time. 

At least, that was the plan.

But it all came crashing down on Event 5 when the Hong Kong native felt his right elbow buckle. Haynes fell to the floor during his second snatch rep with the 245-pound barbell.

  • “I felt it happen. I have had multiple knee operations and you kind of know when [you do something bad],” Haynes, a former professional rugby player for Hong Kong, told the Morning Chalk Up.

Haynes wasn’t able to finish the event and knew he wouldn't be able to complete the next one either. He could barely hang from the rings, let alone complete 15 muscle-ups, or grip the 100-pound dumbbell with his right hand.

He could have pulled out of the competition, but that’s not his style.

Instead, the 34-year-old took the floor for Event 6, the final event of the competition, and completed the 30-calorie Echo bike and then watched the rest of the competitors hit the muscle-ups and walking lunges. It was his way of supporting them, he explained. 

  • “I’m not someone who will stand around and necessarily cheer on my competitors,” Haynes said, adding that taking the floor was his way of showing respect to his competitors. 

“And I wanted to be out there and still be a part of it all,” he added.


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