2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Spirit of the Games: Chris Spealler

Never-say-die attitude paves the way for four-time CrossFit Games veteran.

Chris Spealler is amongst a very small cohort of men who have competed at all four CrossFit Games. His consistency, drive and attitude have kept him in the game far longer than most, and he continues to surprise and excite us with his enthusiasm and results.

By the time the curtains finally closed on this year’s event, Spealler took the third spot overall, cementing his position on the podium with a first place finish on the wall burpee/rope climb couplet. After it was all said and done, he walked away with two titles: 3rd place finisher as well as the Spirit of the Games award.

We had a minute to catch up with the Utah native for a few thoughts on this year’s event.

You've competed in all four of the CrossFit Games. Why do you keep coming back and what is it about the Games that you love so much?
I keep coming back because I continue to see improvements in my own training. I also still want to meet the goal of winning the Games. Even if I do, and I see my training improving I'll still show up to put it to use.  

I love the fact that I can take the gifts I have been given and put them to use. It's a rare thing for people to be able to do this especially on a platform like the Games where you can share it with so many others. It's my way of giving back what I have been given. The camaraderie that is amongst the competitors is unmatched to any other event I have been to, which makes it a great experience as well.

How did the events compare this year to last year's Games?
Personally, I loved the workouts this year. Last year I felt like there were lots of single modality exercises.  I'm not a fan of this because I don't think it shows the athleticism and simplicity of CrossFit workouts (couplets, triplets, etc.). They were way tougher technically, but I think may have been slightly easier physically. I don't know this for sure since I didn't make it to day 2 last year. I think this is smart though because you don't have to smash people into the ground to find who is the most fit. In fact, good programming will allow people to work harder for more workouts or events. I really did love every workout this year, it was just CrossFit.  And when coupled well, it provides the fairest competition possible, I thought CrossFit did an amazing job of this in 2010.

What did you think of the new venue?
I do miss the Ranch and the simplicity there. It was and is a special place. But as a competitor I think the Home Depot center was awesome. Ample room for warming up and locker rooms for cleaning up and cooling down are super nice for us as athletes. It helps us get recovered and ready for the next event. I loved the events under the lights, with the stands surrounding us on all sides. Such a cool venue, and some of the most memorable experiences of my athletic career. I didn't feel any added pressure. The crowd was amazing and incredibly motivating. After one deadlift with torn hands you hear the crowd, get in the mix, and forget about it. I think it drives us more as athletes.  

Look back to the first event on Friday, under the lights, what was running through your head when you walked out in front of that roaring crowd?
My workout, my pace, don't quit.  

I know that I can keep up with anyone if it's coupled right. The snatch was heavy and all the big boys in the back throw it around like it's nothing. I had to ignore all the competitors around me and focus on what I needed to do. I really only heard the crowd when I would go back to the bar for the snatches. The last set was great to have them behind me.  

Do you intend on competing next year? If so, how long do you think you'll continue to compete at this level?
As of now, absolutely. I still want to win the Games. Weather that will happen or not I don't know. I believe it's possible if I make some improvements and the workouts are programmed well like this year. I will compete as long as my abilities are improving or at a level that is one that can match anyone else's out there. As long as I have the gift physically, I'm going to give it back.

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25 comments on this entry

1. Johan S wrote...

thank you for your outstanding efforts.

You are truly CrossFit and a great role model.
You inspire me with your performance.

You will have the fire to continue your journey to the next games.

Stay in the fight,

2. Jack wrote...

Inspiration, motivation, determination... Spealler is not only an overall fan favorite but a personal favorite as well. Myself being shorter and only 145#, seeing Chris compete with the big boys year after year while being in the smaller range of athletes and still crushing events... Keeps me going, keeps me driven, keeps me hungry.

A coach of mine once told me, "You can be 5'6'' and play like you're 6'5'', or you can be 6'5'' and play like you're 5'6''. Your choice."

Chris continues to be one of the most prominent competitors and I look forward to seeing how much more he has improved by next years games.

3. Joe Hardy wrote...


Inspiring weekend from you; you deserve the Spirit of the Games Award!

It was awesome to watch you win the first workout and nearly take the ring HSPU workout with the weight so heavy and many guys bigger than you. It shows you won't let anything stop you.

Good luck to you in the future, I'll continue to follow you through the years, and will soon be competing next to you at the games ;)

Very Respectfully,
Joe Hardy

4. Melissa Mulligan wrote...

Chris is definitely the spirit of Crossfit! His determination and consistent excellence keep me motivated to reach my potential. And we all know that seeking excellence within Crossfit reflects a way of life that is more meaningful overall. How exciting to hear that he still sees improvement, still seeks improvement, and still expects to find it.

5. Jason Ackerman wrote...

Chris is an inspiration to all of us "smaller" CrossFitters!

6. Doug wrote...

I was in the live audience and I must say how inspirational it was to see how Spealler fired up the crowd by completing his last 5 muscle ups unbroken then 3 snatches before a failed rep.
We all wanted to see him get those 5 snatches unbroken also

Most of the crowd leapt up clapping and cheering as he finished those last 2 snatches, so emotionally invested in wanting to see him do well.

I wish him championship success in the upcoming USAW CrossFit event in October.

7. Greg wrote...

Speal, you're not just an inspiration for the 'little guys' out there -- you're an inspiration to everyone! What an amazing athlete. Love the attitude, too; you're the model of a class act!

Thank you! I so look forward to your next competition!

8. Matt Hughey wrote...

Great job Chris! Your work ethic and attitude are models for us all. You are a real life hero as an athlete but even more importantly as a person!

9. Michael Schaal wrote...

Inspiration to everyone out there competing or thinking about competing. Great point about if continuing to see improvement being motivation for continuing. Already looking forward to next year.

10. Dustin Kreidler wrote...

Speal's name is synonymous with CrossFit. Spealer's dedication and perseverance are what CF is really about, regardless of size or skill set. Digging deeper than you think you can, achieving more than you thought possible... Chris is the epitome. Cheers!

11. Maciej wrote...

Thanks Speal for providing such inspiration to all of us grinders. Your humility is exemplary, your effort stellar and you are creating an amazing legacy for future Crossfit champions. Thank you.

12. Dave Re wrote...

Damn... look at the rips on Chris' left hand! :-O

Congrats, Chris - it was a joy to watch you compete this year!

13. Pat Sherwood wrote...


14. miranda 801 wrote...

By far one of the most inspiring and hard working people on this planet.

Chris, you are incredible and I feel so lucky to call you a friend!

15. JB wrote...

In our modern sports landscape, the majority of our "heros" are people you wouldn't invite into your home, and you'd need a bullet proof vest to have a beer with them.

Chris is a breath if fresh air and a fine ambassador of our Sport and belief in Fitness. A man with his priorities in order, a beautiful family, and a better friend and coach than he is an Athlete (which is saying a lot).

16. Brian wrote...

Met him for a few seconds while he was strolling through the vendor tents during the games. Class act all the way.

I also agree with his comments on the programming. It really required a lot of technique and accuracy. Also a great mix of body weight movements and heavy lifting. Great job HQ

17. Speal wrote...

Thanks so much to all of you! You support is huge and you are all a great motivation to the athletes. Without the greater community this Games wouldn't even exist.

18. Joe Alexander wrote...

Congratulations Chris. I will not forget judging your dl, pistol, du"s WOD. I was very proud to be out there with you. You truly epitomize "fire in the gut." Enjoy your hard earned achievement. Sincerely, Joe

19. K Malz wrote...

Simply put~ you are a class act Chris Spealler!

What a poised, confident, focused, and humble athlete.

I had the pleasure of meeting Speal's dad at the Games and he is SO incredibly proud of his son and VERY thankful to all of us who are such "Speal Fans"!!

All the best to you and your family Chris!

~Kim Malz

20. p90x wrote...

i wanna grow up to be just like you :D
seriously! you're awesome man...

21. Dave Leys wrote...

So awesome for me to see how well you put up a fight this year and in the Games. I was already a fan before the 2010 Games. Your a big inspiration for a crossfitter (me) that knows he has some homework to do at the gym, commits to working on those chinks in the armor and has something to show of it. Max Deadlifts are not my favorite ether.

Its also so awesome for me to see one of the long time crossfiters still doing so well amongst the highest of the ranks.

22. Larry Ford wrote...


The definition of crossfit is Chris Spealler. You are a great inspiration for the crossfit community, and Im sure it is only a manner of time before you win the games!

23. Charlie Nilsson wrote...

Awesome performance Chris!!!

As a slightly smaller guy at 5.6" and 155# it's awesome to see a guy performing that well and kicking butt in events more suited bigger guys!!
keep on going!

24. Justin Judkins wrote...

Both, placing third and winning the Spirit of the Games award are well deserved. You did an incredible job and earned it through hard work and tenacity. It was truly an inspiring performance.

25. APye wrote...

Congrats Chris - you were amazing to watch in each and every wod at the games!! And a big congrats as well to your wife cheering for you louder than anyone else with a baby in her arms - what a superstar she is!!!


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