In conjunction with the venue itself, the stakes surrounding the Games continue to grow as well. As the competitor field goes international and big name sponsors take an interest, a commensurate amount of pressure is levied on the shoulders of the competitors. No pressure is greater to a performer, however, than the pressure of pride that they put on themselves.
"Of course I'm nervous, and of course I feel pressure... I put pressure on myself and there is pressure from everywhere," says Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson from Iceland who, along with Annie Thorisdotter, represented a country of only 400,000 inhabitants. His success in early events attracted the eyes of the crowd and he continued to excel, entering the final chipper event in the 14th position, on the heels of DJ Wickham and one spot ahead of Jeremy Thiel. The performance highlight for him was the first position finish in the Sandbag Sprint event with a time of 1:01. prior to day one he talked about the importance of this pressure when it comes to performance. "You can't do good if you don't have any pressure, put pressure on yourself... that's a part of it."
That pressure is not doubt intensified for returning champions, a sentiment echoed by Jason Khalipa. In an interview filmed during his Level One Certification at CrossFit Elite 400 in Northern Ireland, Mikko Salo gave his thoughts on the pressure to perform next year and talked about the cultural differences between Finland and the US. "I think there is a small pressure for me... but it's ok." Mikko was suprised by the openness of the CrossFit family and compared the cultural differences to those of Finland. "I noticed, that when I was in Aromas, there was a tight family. I am not used to this in Finland... we are shy people."
More than anything Mikko is excited to share information about how he trains and recovers for better performance. "My goal for the next games is to be a better CrossFitter, and if I'm a better CrossFitter... I'm happy, doesn't matter if I come in first or last."