5 Questions with Cole Sager

Friday February 8, 2019
Christine Bald

Last weekend, CompTrain athletes Katrin Davidsdottir and Cole Sager kicked off their 2019 CrossFit Games season in Cape Town, South Africa. CrossFit Fittest in Cape Town was the fourth Sanctional to take place under the new Games format. We caught up with Cole, who finished second after four days of competition, to chat about the event, lessons learned, and what comes next.

Everyone has been freaking out about Sanctionals since the new format was announced. Now that you’ve done one, what are your thoughts? What was it like compared to Regionals?

I’ve seen and heard a lot of people freaking out over the new Sanctionals format, and quite frankly I don’t understand why. I have never been one to really freak out over changes that are out of my control. I guess my thinking is, “who am I to judge what is good or bad?”

Now that I have done a Sanctional, I’m actually an even bigger fan of the new format than I was originally. (Mind you, I did not qualify for the Games in Cape Town.) After taking part in one, I realize how the new format has created even more opportunities for athletes to qualify for the Games. Now athletes who tend to perform better in an “Open format” have a chance to qualify, and athletes who perform better in a competition setting can do so at a Sanctional. Not to mention there is no specific standard for how a Sanctional is programmed, so we have the chance to pick an event that might be programmed more towards our strengths by the nature of the Sanctional. CrossFit Fittest In Cape Town actually felt more like a mini-Games—they bused us around places, kept things secret, and utilized the terrain of the city we were competing in. It was programmed in a way that would typically benefit me as an athlete, I just didn’t capitalize and missed the mark on a couple of crucial workouts.

How is it that there always seems to be legless rope climbs and thrusters in the finals when you’re competing??

I am pretty sure the big Man upstairs has been looking out for me the last couple years because every time I need a home run workout to give myself a chance to qualify, thrusters and rope climbs come up! Haha. I guess they are just a perfect pair… I wouldn’t mind if they were programmed even more often!

Competition is full of adversity. What kind of adversity did you run into in Cape Town?

I love me a good bit of adversity. I believe it exposes the character of an individual. One of my favorite parts of competing is analyzing how I responded to adversity throughout the weekend and learning how I can become even better at it in the future. Adversity is everywhere in competition, and everyone deals with it to some degree, so no one should ever feel sorry for themselves and think they are the only ones dealing with it. How you respond and the choices you make when it strikes is what matters.

I faced several things in Cape Town—costly no reps, missing the seat of my rower at the start of a sprint event, having my weight vest unstrap during C2B pull-ups, having the wrong approach on a couple workouts, and getting sunburned on the first day because I forgot to apply sunscreen (knucklehead!). These are all things that happened that I can learn from. Some were in my control, some were out of my control. Adversity is everywhere. Good. It will just be added fuel behind how inspiring your story is.

Second place was obviously not the goal. What’s next from here?

Yeahhhhh….. no it wasn’t. I will be honest, second is really frustrating. It is what it is though. We have a lot of season left to capitalize on. We are turning the page and looking to the next routes that we can qualify through. The Open is currently at the top of the list and I plan on competing at the Rogue Invitational as well. Once the Open is over, we will assess where we are and make the best decisions we can to be as fit as possible come August.

That African dancing video. Discuss.

HA!!! I played football at the University of Washington. I guess I picked up a few moves in the locker room!