March’s Extraordinary Athlete is Matthew Lee, a 16 year old sophomore at Highland Park High School. Matthew joined us here at CrossFit Odyssey last August. It is amazing to see how much he has changed in just those few months! I recently heard one of the dads say, “Man I wish we had a picture of him when he first started!” That is because he has gained at least 25lbs of muscle since he began!

What makes Matthew our extraordinary athlete is not his sheer strength or ability, but his dedication to and mastery of form and technique. Matthew is not a terribly verbose kid. He tends to sit back quietly and listen. He pays close attention to all of the cues we are giving to all of you and he tries very hard to follow those cues to the “T”. His squats are deep and back on his heels with a straight back. His Olympic lifting still starts somewhat light, but his technique is almost flawless and his weight is regularly increasing. His pullups, which were non-existent when he began, are now strong both in strict and kipping and he is quickly gaining mastery of handstand pushups. And for all of you struggling with Double Unders (where the jump rope passes under the feet twice for each jump)… yeah he got them the first time he tried them. But before you all go get your jump ropes and throw them in the trash – you should know he practiced jumping rope every single day after the workout – no matter how tired he was, and that’s how he got really good at them.

What Matthew has done is listen to the one thing we stress more than any other – FORM AND TECHNIQUE OVER SPEED AND WEIGHT. No one is going to get really good at moving heavy weight if they start heavy. It is impossible to focus on the details in the technique if you are concentrating on just not dying under the weight. No one is going to get good at pullups or Double Unders without practicing them. Matthew has taken the time to focus on the little details so that he can get really good at the big stuff.

To top it all off, Matthew is competing in The CrossFit Open 2017. Signing up for something like this is an undertaking in itself for a young man. He also has befriended a lot of the fellow CrossFitters in the gym and even welcomed, helped and encouraged some of the new people. That is what makes a true CrossFitter. Our community here at CrossFit Odyssey is full of amazing people who want to get better and help each other get better. Matthew stands out as one of the best, and for a 16 year old young man, I would say he is definitely on an incredible Journey to Extraordinary!