Athlete to Watch: Shelby Neal

GG: Shelby how did you get into all of this?  You have a weightlifting background, right?

Shelby: So, I’ve been a gymnast my entire life and later went to weightlifting full time.  I wanted to do something totally different, so now I’m actually a better weightlifter than I am a gymnast in CrossFit.  Muscle ups aren’t really my thing; give me a heavy clean/snatch I’ll be happy.  Heavy stuff is my thing! Gymnastics got me started and then into CrossFit, did a few comps and realized I wanted to make it to the CrossFit Games.

GG: You have a pretty impressive weight lifting background. You’re Team USA and in the 58 kilo class at just 17 years old.

Shelby: I went to Guatemala for the youth Panams, which was really fun. All the kids are really cool and you just hang out. You’re all cutting weight together and struggling and it’s a lot of fun.  It’s really cool and a lot of them are CrossFitters, too. There’s Kayla, she went to the Games, and Taylor, too. We’re like one big family now.

GG: That’s awesome, so you’ve been to the games twice?

Shelby: 2016 and 2017. The workouts the second year were awesome. The first year, I had some confidence issues. I was coming in 9th and finished in 8th and they only took top 10. So, I was in the bottom of the pack. I didn’t have much experience. Then the next year, I felt better going in. I came in 3rd and ended up 6th overall.  I wanted top 5, but was battling some asthma, plus a water virus from the lake.

GG: Is this your first year at the Granite Games?

Shelby: Yes, it is. I’m worried about the swim, I sink! I’m very heavy.

GG: Haha, I don’t know if I would classify you as heavy. 

I think my legs are heavy or something.  I don’t float at all. I don’t have floating ability.

GG: [Aside] Can we make sure she doesn’t drown tomorrow?

Shelby: Plus, at the CrossFit Games, the run totally kicked my asthma in. I was like wheezing and people were looking at me with concern.

GG: We don’t want you to die.

Shelby: I’m fine I’m fine! I hope it doesn’t happen again. The rope climbs I’m worried about too.  I didn’t do too well in the Games at rope climbs, I still suck at them. The workouts today were fun, though. I liked both of them.  I didn’t think I would win both of them.

GG: But you did!

Shelby: Haha yes! I was happy with that!

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