The beauty about CrossFit is that every year, one or two names few of us have ever heard before, pop up and make their stance of the world scene.
In 2008 Jason Khalipa upset everyone to win the final event and claim the title of the fittest on earth, while last year we saw 41 year old Amanda Allen make the top 20 with less than six months CrossFit experience behind her.
In 2012, the odds are we will have even more surprises.
In the women’s comp, most people are saying it’s a two horse race between last years winner Annie Thorisdottir and 2010 Champ, Kristan Clever. Its a fair assumption given the two athletes have been the most consistent performers over the past two years.
However, if I had to pick my dark-horse for this year, and someone I genuinely think could surprise everyone by winning the competition, I’d say Azadeh Boroumand.
Going into this years Open I had never heard of Boroumand. Even heading into Regional’s, after her 45th place finish in the Open, Boroumand was certainly not being talked about as a potential winner.
It was only after her performance at the Regionals when myself, and many other people, started to notice her.
Not only did the 26 year old claim victory in the South Central Region, but she did it in emphatic style, finishing first in five of the six events over the weekend. Her performance was so dominant she finished a whopping 28 points ahead of her nearest rival.
We recently compiled a list of the top performing athletes over the Regionals to see how all the qualifiers compered with one another. Azadeh finished in fourth spot, ahead of Kristan Clever in 6th spot.
While her performances weren’t as good as Annie Thorisdottir’s, they were equally impressive given she competed in the first weekend of Reigonals and had no one to compare her scores with, or to use as a benchmark!
One of the most remarkable things about Azadeh’s CrossFit journey, however, is that her dad still doesn’t know what she does.
“I was born in Iran and moved to Canada when I was 3. My dad is very Persian, we have a very traditional family, my dad still doesn’t know I workout in a sports bra, he would kill me!” she revealed in an exclusive interview with HQ.
“He was upset with me because before this i was an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Pittsburgh.”
One thing about Azadeh is that she is also very new to the sport, competing at the Regionals for the first time last year (6th place finish). This shows us how remarkable her learning curve has been over the past 12 months, and meams she also carries an element of unknown with her.
“I did Regionals last year, I was a total amateur, I had no experience and didn’t know what it took to get the to Games,” she said.
“I’ve spent this whole last year kind of going crazy with everything, doing all types of stuff. I didn’t know if I was going to be prepared for Regionals this year, you never know if you’re prepared 100 percent, so it was a good outcome (qualifying).”
Azadeh also seems like she has grown mentally, as well as physically in the past year, showing us that she also understand what mindset one needs to win the Games.
“Once you get to the Games everyone is at the same physical level, but what really separates the athletes is the mental, who can take themselves to that point. You have a threshold level, can you take yourself past that threshold level? Can you be comfortable outside of your comfort zone? everyone has a mental level so your mental game has to be on point,” she said.
“Can you handle defeat? Can you handle being beat and coming back stronger for the next workout? Little things like that are going to separate the top 20 and the top five.”
We haven’t seen a first time competitor at the Games win since 2009, but with her impressive performances so far this CrossFit season, I believe Azadeh Boroumand is a genuine contender in 2012.
In 33 days from now, we’ll find out if I was right, or wrong…