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Nielsen set to compete at 2021 CrossFit Finals

Staff Reporter | July 9, 2021 3:13 PM

It takes a special athlete to do CrossFit, but it takes something even greater to be among the best CrossFit athletes in the world.

Kellogg native Laura Nielsen falls into the category of great.

Nielsen recently stopped by the Shoshone News-Press for a special interview on the North Idaho Now podcast.

Nielsen is coming off a respectable 2020 where she finished 12th overall in the world in her age group and 8th in the United States.

This year she has put in the work once again and is looking to make the jump into the global top 10 at the CrossFit Finals.

CrossFit is a high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise.

Getting into CrossFit had more to do with finding a hobby than anything else — Nielsen had been doing other workouts and simply got tired of doing them, but then some encouragement from a close friend pushed her in the right direction.

“One of my best friends, who happens to be my boss, talked me into trying CrossFit,” Nielsen said in 2019. “Tami Elliot Harrison owns World Class Gymnastics in Newport News, Va. I have worked for her for 15 years, coaching recreational and competitive team gymnastics. We started going to CrossFit Oyster Point (CFOP) in Newport News together. I fell in love with it instantly.”

Nielsen worked her way through the various qualifiers, gradually moving up the ranks and landed squarely into the top 10%, where she then had to go through a final qualifier that cut the top 1,400 athletes down to the 20.

Now living in Virginia, Nielsen comes home regularly prior to major competitions where she uses the diverse terrain as a training ground.

“You’re lucky to find one steep hill where I’m at in Virginia,” Nielsen said. “I always look forward to coming home in the summer and training here in the fresh air. Running crazy trails and things like that. In Virginia, it’s a lot of running on the beaches in the sand or on roads.”

Win or lose, CrossFit has provided an opportunity for Nielsen that she never expected.

“I actually enjoy the process of it more than the competition part,” Nielsen said. “At first it was all about getting in shape and looking good for the summer. With CrossFit you stop worrying about what you look like and you start worrying about what your body can do. I can do more now than I could in 2018 — even getting older, I’m still getting stronger.”

The NoBull CrossFit Finals are July 27 to Aug. 1 in Madison, Wis.

For the full interview with Laura Nielsen, listen to the July 6 edition of the North Idaho Now podcast, which can be found on all major podcatchers.