Smith returning to CrossFit Games for third year
Sheila Smith
Sunday, May 19, 2019
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Chloe Smith knows time is of the essence. One second determines her future.

That one second is what is on her mind when she is forcing her way through six hours of training six days each week in her quest to once again become the Fittest Teen in the World.

“If you push yourself to go a couple of seconds faster, that’s points on the board for you,” Smith said while doing strength work under the watchful eye of CrossFit trainer Kimberly Vincent. “Sometimes you win by one second. If you lose by one second, you have to ask yourself if you could have gone just two seconds faster.”

Accomplishing more in less time has been a mantra for Smith over the past year. She is completing her junior year at Iota High School without setting foot on campus this semester or last. That’s because she is also a college freshman, part of the LSU Academy program at LSU-Eunice. After following this same schedule in her senior year, not only will she receive her high school diploma in May 2020, but also an associate degree. She is considering a career in physical therapy.

Spending mornings on academics has allowed her to dedicate the rest of the day to training. For Smith, the hard work is fun and the gym is where many of her friends are found.

The sweat and support is necessary. Currently ranked first in the world in the CrossFit Games’ 16-17 year-old girls’ division, she will face nine tough contenders at the August Games in Madison, Wisconsin. She took the Fittest Teen title in the 14-15 year-old girls’ division in 2017, then earned a third-place spot as a 16-year-old in 2018.

“I kind of feel like (the Games) tried to kill us last year and that I should be concerned,” Smith laughed. “I expect the workouts overall to be tougher. I know most of the girls I am competing against. I know some will surprise me.”

Vincent said no one knows what to expect this year because the Games have been revamped. In the teen divisions last year, the top 20 in the world made it to the final fight. This year CrossFit cut that number to 10.

The change brings heightened competition but there is no time to think about that until the Games arrive.

“When I’m training, I’m on my own, working on my weaknesses, comparing my progress to what I did a few months before and trying to beat my time,” she said. “When I get to the Games, I see people on the side of me working out. That’s when I start competing against them.”

Seeing the world champ make her best even better is Vincent’s goal as a trainer.

“Not all of the programming I create for her is about challenging her,” Vincent said. “Most of it is strength and skill, going back to the basics of movements and form. The things most people think are boring are the components that build up to solid work.”

Having Smith compete around the state and country also shows both trainer and athlete where weaknesses exist.

“She’s a perfectionist, which is a great thing because it makes her easy to coach,” Vincent said. “She wants to do things the right way, so she takes the time to practice them correctly. She’s not interested in manipulating movements just to win.”

Gymnastics is an area Smith has repeatedly tackled. Swimming is another hurdle she faces twice a week.

“I only learned to swim two years ago,” she said. “And during a competition, being thrown in the water with 40 other people is scary. I panicked.”

Familiarizing herself with dozens of swimmers in open water is part of the reason she will compete in two triathlons this summer.

Next year Smith will age into the Games’ adult division, meaning a world-title win would earn her $300,000. She knows, however, CrossFit will eventually become less of a priority as she builds her future.

“It’s going to be harder to get back to the Games eventually but it will still be fun to try,” she said. “Once I’m in college full time it will be hard to train as much as I do now. I think I’ll always work out even if I’m not competing. I enjoy it. And my mom said I definitely need to get a job.”

Physically and mentally there is still more work to be done. This summer she will compete for the National Youth Championship title for USA Weightlifting (USAW).

She is also working to be an ACT champion.

“My current ACT score is a 30, which I made after getting a 26 then 28,” she said. “My mom said I have to actually study this time and take it again so I can get a 32.”

Vincent does not doubt Smith will get that 32, or the USAW and CrossFit Games titles.

“During her first year at the Games, we all kept saying, ‘They never saw her coming.’ We said that a little last year, too,” Vincent said. “Then both times, all of a sudden, the announcers are showing her on camera and saying, And Chloe Smith is now in first place!’ Now they know she’s coming.”