“I love knowing I can inspire so many people to be better versions of themselves. I never want that to go away. I approach every workout as a chance to get better…I expect each one to be a challenge and I’m going to have to fight for a win.”

GG: Last year at the Granite Games, you were on the mend from a shoulder injury. Were you happier to be on the competition floor this year rather than the sidelines?

ST: Absolutely. I’m sure many athletes can attest to this… you’d much rather be competing on the competition floor than competing against an injury.

GG: It’s really great to see you back and looking stronger than ever. Are you feeling 100% these days?

ST: Other than some little tweaks here at there, yes I am 100%. My fracture is completely healed but I’m not so sure the small sprain I had in my lat ever got the chance to fully repair itself. From time to time it will tell me, “Oh hey, I’m still here!” It’s SO annoying & equally frustrating, but I don’t ignore it. I’ll hit the brakes for a few days knowing it’s a long season ahead.

GG: Definitely a smart move. You kicked the weekend off with a big PR on the very first event, The Snatch Ladder. How excited were you to make that lift? Were you feeling confident going into that event?

ST: I was VERY excited! Honestly, any PRs these days are magical, but this one was really special. Imagine throwing the same amount of weight on the barbell several times a month, for months in a row, & missing each & every time… over & over again. It can get extremely frustrating & disheartening. So that particular lift was a really nice way to kick off the weekend.

GG: It was a lot of fun to watch, too! What did you think of the event programming? As a seasoned competitor, you’ve seen a variety of competitions. Going into it, was there a workout you thought would be tough or that would touch on any weaknesses for you?

ST: The Granite Games this year was a great mix of a little of everything. The programming has always been very CrossFit: simple, yet a great test of fitness. That’s why it attracts over 1,000 athletes each year.

I approach every workout as a chance to get better. There’s not a single workout I look at and go, “Oh that doesn’t sound so bad.” I know better than that. I expect each one to be a challenge and I’m going to have to fight for a win.

GG: From the meet and greet on night one and the way the volume of the crowd turned up a couple notches when you walked out on the floor all weekend, it’s pretty clear that you’re a crowd favorite within the fitness community. Does it feel strange to you that people know your name, your face, your hairstyle even? Or are you growing accustomed to it?

ST: Oh, so nice of you. I’ll never grow accustomed to it. Having my name called out by strangers, asking to have photographs taken and signatures passed out, is a feeling I never want to go away. I can’t imagine the life of Rich Froning, but I dream of having that one day. I’ve said this a 1,000 times but I truly love the CrossFit community and love knowing I can inspire so many people to be better versions of themselves. I never want that to go away.

GG: It’s pretty clear that you’re succeeding in inspiring a great many people. You were a solid competitor all weekend, but you seemed to get a second wind going into the finals, taking 5th and then 1st for the last two events. It was pretty awesome to witness, and the crowds went wild!

ST: Thanks. The last few events are always like a fresh breath of air for me. The finish line is in sight and I am the type of person that’s gonna sprint to the very end!

GG: So you wrapped the weekend with a huge PR, some great placings and a spot on the podium. Sounds like time well spent!

ST: My Granite Games experience this year was unforgettable. I got to compete alongside my friends & get stronger along the way. Totally worth the trip to Minnesota!

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