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The Granite Games is truly the people’s games. Here’s a fun fact for you: there is a 51 year age gap between the youngest and oldest athletes at this weekend’s competition. What other sport in the world can boast that they offer a competitive challenge to such a broad range of athletes? Yeah, we think it’s pretty awesome, too. We caught up with both of them to get a peek into what drives two athletes on opposite ends of the experience curve.

At 15 years old, Joe Lindemann is our youngest Granite Games competitor. Joe’s fair hair and baby face make him look even younger than his 15 years. He’s at the Granite Games competing in the Open Scaled division with his partner, Nate. Both of them hail from Firm CrossFit in the Twin Cities area. Joe’s father is also a CrossFitter and the one who got him into the sport in the first place. “I started CrossFit as a way to get better at football,” says Joe, a linebacker and running back for his high school team. “But it sort of became something more along the way.” We’d say so. Joe is actually opting out of playing in his school’s homecoming game tonight in favor of competing in today’s Granite Games events. But don’t worry, he’s going to slip out in time to make it to the post-game Homecoming dance.

Asked about how he’s liking the competition so far, Joe says that he considers this, his first competition, as getting experience under his belt. “I think ‘Unbroken’ was my favorite so far, that workout was so much fun!” When we talked to him, he had cautious hope for the afternoon’s events. “I’ve got ring dips, so maybe that adrenaline rush from competing will kick in and give me that little push to get up and over the rings for a muscle up.”

Mickey Ruiz is our oldest Granite Games competitor at a spry 66 years young. At least 8 years older than any other Women’s 50+ athlete, Mickey had the crowd on their feet on day 2, facing down a clean that was 15# heavier than her one rep max.

Mickey initially signed up for the Online Qualifier at the urging of her coach, Dan Anderson. “I waited until the last minute before signing up. I just wanted to support my gym.” Once committed, Mickey stuck with it, even coordinating her last Qualifier workout and subsequent Sectionals workouts with a trip to Europe. “I ended up doing my final Qualifier workout at a box in London, and then two of the Sectionals workouts at Reebok CrossFit Louvre in Paris. They were really amazing people. The coaches actually knew about the Granite Games, and even though their box was closed for a Level One Cert, they let me come in and do my workout.” Mickey even set a few PRs on her personal Road to Minnesota, cleaning 55# for 16 reps–her previous PR was 45#.

“Honestly, I don’t care if I finish the events this weekend. Just the sensation of all these people cheering for me is totally awesome.” Mickey battled with a 95# clean on Saturday afternoon, several times pulling the bar so high that she needed only to drive those elbows under it. “Just wait. I’ll probably go home and make that my new PR in two weeks,” Mickey laughs. “That’s the thing about competition. It pushes you into so many things you’ve never done before; it stretches your limits.”

Mickey says that her hope is to inspire others to be healthy and fit. “I originally joined CrossFit Templar because of my son (also competing, in the Open Men’s Scaled division) and daughter-in-law. I was really out of shape and not feeling well, and they told me, ‘You need to join CrossFit.’ And I told them that I can’t do that stuff. To which they replied, ‘That’s why you need to join CrossFit!’ When I finally did, I had to do step-ups, I couldn’t even jump to a 4″ plate. I had to start from square one with everything. Since then, I’ve come so far; I’ve lost weight, I’m much healthier.”

Being here at the Granite Games, Mickey observes that the power of the community  element is amplified. “The community is so wonderful, and it’s just on an even bigger scale here. I can’t thank Dylan enough for getting the crowd cheering like that!” And Mickey has no plans to stop doing what she’s doing. “I just hope to encourage people my age to work out and even compete. Sometimes when you challenge yourself, you succeed. And sometimes you come close.”

We wish Mickey and Joe the best of luck with the remainder of their competition this weekend. You’re both an inspiration in our eyes!