Gena Hartwick took the top honor of the 2021 CrossFit Open in Arkansas for the 35-39 masters division and fifth overall in the open division standings. She is a perennial big name on the local CrossFit scene as an individual athlete and at larger CrossFit competitions such as Wodapalooza alongside her teammates as a member of the Pineapple Pump Crew, who trains out of Above and Beyond CrossFit.
Her victory this year might be her sweetest to date as she recovered from back surgery over a year ago, where several vertebrae were fused. Her road to the podium in 2021 was anything but straightforward. It included a year of slowly increasing intensity and range of motion that started with the inability to bend over fully. She began her recovery only a week post-op by riding the Assault Bike without the ability to rotate safely. She has come back stronger than ever and set a lifetime PR of 215 lbs in her clean in late March. She credits her success to her support crew, including her friends and family, surgeons, medical team, chiropractor, and even a mobility coach.
Gena's next step is the new Quarterfinals stage (Age-Group Online Qualifier) of the CrossFit Games that will take place over Mother's Day weekend.