MILTON, Ga. —Milton resident Kerri Napoli began CrossFit seven years ago, and at the time, she struggled to perform a single pull-up. But this week she could earn herself the title, “Fittest on Earth.”
Napoli will compete at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisc., from Aug. 3-6, an event featuring some of the most physically fit athletes in the world completing grueling workouts and exercises on a worldwide stage.
A 50-year-old business owner and mother of two, Napoli is one of just 20 in the world to qualify in her age group.
“Saying I’m going to be a Games athlete among the fittest men and women in the world is still surreal,” she said.
Her qualifying is the culmination of three years of dedication. She barely missed the cut two years and said that stuck out in the back of her mind.
“CrossFit keeps you coming back for more and you continue to get better, and there’s always something new to learn and goals to reach,” Napoli said.
To qualify, Napoli had to perform in the CrossFit Open, which entailed completing one strenuous workout each week for five weeks with a certified judge. Her times and scores were then put up against thousands of others from all over the world.
Napoli then had to complete another four workouts over a weekend in April for the regional competition, which earned her a top-20 score in the world and a bid in the CrossFit Games.
Her qualifying certainly proves that Napoli, as she put it, “drank the Kool-Aid.”
She said she fell into the workouts as friends began extolling its virtues. Always an active person, Napoli said it didn’t take long before she had caught the CrossFit craze, even before it had become the worldwide sensation it is now.
“I love it because you are constantly doing something new,” Napoli said. “I’ve always been competitive, and this gives me a chance to compete with myself and others to better my strength, better my agility and better my times.”
The games feature a series of events in which athletes earn points. The list of events is not revealed before the games commence, an added test to those competing.
In what she hopes will be the first appearance of many at the games, Napoli said her goal is to improve her ranking in her age group.
Though she has now entered her 50s, Napoli has no plans to slow down with her trainer, who is half her age. The CrossFit games will provide her with a chance to show athleticism has no age barriers, she said.
“At the end of the day I want to walk away from this competition knowing I left it all on the floor and gave it my all,” she said.