Nycolas Joyal’s unusual approach to the Atlas Games earns him a ticket to the CrossFit Games

Photo credit: Instagram

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“Stay in your lane.”

That’s what most Semifinals and CrossFit Games athletes say when you ask them about their strategy for a given workout. Satisfied.

But not Nycolas Joyal, who made a name for himself this weekend at the Atlas Games in Montreal, Que., when he opened the competition with back-to-back wins, eventually finishing fifth overall and clinching his ticket. for the Games.

Joyal’s winning approach: In one practice given throughout the weekend, Joyal’s head could be seen on a pivot, constantly watching where the other athletes were in his heat, waiting for the opportune moment to pounce.

  • During Event 1, Joyal kept her eyes on Vellner and Adler, staying right behind them for most of the workout, saving just enough in the tank to hang on to the last stepping slot, while Vellner and Adler dropped their bars.
  • Event 2 was the same story: Joyal stayed within striking distance, but behind Vellner for the first three laps cleaning toes at the bar and sandbags, then fired the throttle on the final lap, recording his second straight win.
  • But where his strategy paid off the most was during Event 5 on Sunday. Joyal entered the event in sixth place, just three points behind Austin Spencer in fifth and 13 points ahead of Cédric Lapointe in seventh.
  • Throughout training, Joyal deliberately paid particular attention to where Spencer and Lapointe were at all times, staying close to them and making sure he had enough in the tank to advance to the end.
  • “Yes, I kept watching them during the whole event. Cedric came out really fast, so I was like, ‘OK, I’ll let him go for now’, but I came back up during the second half,” Joyal said, adding that paying attention particular to what athletes do’ It doesn’t distract his attention from himself, and it doesn’t “mess up my plan,” he said.
Photo credit: KCMii Photography

One big thing: Pat Vellner and Brent Fikowski, who both live in the province of British Columbia, may be the best-known Canadian men in the sport, but the province of Quebec has long been fertile ground for Games athletes. CrossFit, including 2014 Women’s Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.

  • This year is now exceptional. Joyal, who lives just outside of Montreal, Quebec, will be joined in Madison, WI this summer by Vellner, along with three other Quebecers – winner Jeff Adler, Alexandre Caron (3rd) and Alex Vigneault (4th).

To note: Joyal, who participated in the Eastern Regionals in 2017 and 2018, does not even have a coach. Usually he trains alone.

  • “I don’t have a coach. I’m self-taught” Joyal said, adding that now that he’s qualified for the Games, he’ll likely train with Vigneault here and there this summer.
  • If he could consider hiring a trainer now, Joyal smiled, shrugged, and said, “Maybe. perhaps.”

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