It’s not often one of your own makes it to the CrossFit Games.
It’s even less one stands on the podium at that stage.
Jolaine Undershute, owner of Endeavor Fitness, has done both.
Undershute is now back in Invermere with a medal around her neck and her name eternally etched on the podium she’s always dreamed of.
“I feel it’s a goal that has never been completed until this year,” she said. “Goals give me an opportunity to channel my energy and learn valuable lessons from the journey towards reaching them. Every goal I have set I have achieved with in a few placings. Now I just need to be more specific with the universe.”
She said it with a laugh but her road to the third place finish in this year’s Master’s Women 45-49 division was not a traditional one. With hopes of once again returning to the Regionals Competition this year, Jolaine had to get back on track after several hiccups like this year’s Open that unexpectedly changed the handstand push-up standard to turn her strength into a quick weakness.
Still she was able to overcome those obstacles to finish in contention for the age qualifier after the Open where she was met with further roadblocks. It was for these reasons she hired several coaches to help improve her mental game such as her sister Luriana who owns Heart and Soul Medicine.
“One of the reasons I sought help from energy workers was to overcome the overwhelming amount of doubt especially leading up to a competition,” she said. “I had to overcome this hurdle and put my pride aside. HSPU came up again in the masters qualifier but my biggest weakness was the rope climbs to ‘15. I honestly wasn’t even sure if I was going to make the top 20 in the masters qualifiers.”
Still she did, qualifying for the Games with the opportunity to make it to the podium for the first time ever and her first time competing at that stage since 2016. One thing was different though–just one week prior to entering the Games in Madison Wisconsin, she injured her shoulder in a biking accident and was unable to train right up until Day 1 at the Games.
“I was super cautious as I sprained my AC joint 10 days prior and my physiotherapist told me I’d probably only be at about 80% because there was just not enough time to heal. I went into it telling myself just complete it with no goals of placing just completion,” she said.
It wasn’t her best placing of the weekend, but she was able to walk away with a strong placing of 12th of 20th. Her placings would get stronger as the day went on though as she continued to improve despite her shoulder ailing her with each rep and workout. Event number 2 saw her place 9th before she claimed her first event win in event three which were two of her favourite movements: barbell snatches and double-unders.
“If there was an event I was going to win it was this one. I told myself if I could snatch more than 155 pounds I was going to be ok,” she said. “As I watched the girls in the warm up area I started to gain more confidence that propelled me throughout the remainder of the games.”
Jolaine woke up Friday and wanted nothing more to continue her tear and run for the podium. She followed her first event win of the 2018 Games with a tie for first and then second event win.
With that being said, she was tested in the final workout Friday which included running and high rope climbs–two former movements that Jolaine was not confident in.
“I missed the podium in 2013 because I failed my last rope climb and they have haunted me every since. Combine that with running= nightmare!” she said, thinking back to the event.
With all the work she had done running around the building at Endeavor and the rope work she had done since the qualifiers, Jolaine was able to turn a weakness into a 9th place finish. Not good enough to overtake the podium place, but limit the damage to her chance at accomplishing her goals.
Saturday Jolaine continued to show that she belonged as she ran up two second place finishes to go with a fifth place finish and had a comfortable podium position heading into Sunday. Jolaine was able to claim second place in the second last event, with Amanda Allen taking seventh place to allow Jolaine to narrow the gap.
The last workout was a Jolaine wheelhouse workout too: complex Fran. Pushing hard for the top position on the podium, Jolaine was at a crossroads when she began failing bar muscle ups, a movement she was very familiar with.
“I kept turning to my gymnastics coach and praying. Why me why now when I was so close. I honestly thought it was over again and I was going to miss the podium. Then I calmed down took a little break listened to the advice of my gymnastics coach and tried again,” she said.
Slowly, she broke her muscle ups into sets and was able to get the work done. It was one of her better placings from the weekend, coming in in third place, but after long consideration, it was not enough to overcome Allen for the top position on the podium. Still, she was able to accomplish her goal of reaching the podium with a medal around her neck for third place.
“After all was said and done I’m still in shock I made the podium with one shoulder and being 200 points down after Day one,” she said. “Miracles do happen!”
Now back in Invermere, she’s slowly getting back to training while coaching at the gym she calls home. With the potential changes being made to the CrossFit Games season including the axing of Regional competition and the CrossFit Invitational, Undershute isn’t certain on what the future holds for competition and for herself.
Whether that’s continuing with CrossFit or venturing into powerlifting or competing at the World level in Olympic Weightlifting, it’s a decision she will be looking at in the future.
One thing will remain etched in history no matter what though–she’s the third fittest woman on earth from ages 45-49.
No one is taking that away from her.