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Squamish coach helps lift athlete to first place in CrossFit Games

Jesse Bifano coaches Justin Medeiros to the Fittest Man on Earth title.

A local resident coached an athlete to first place at the annual CrossFit Games.

Jesse Bifano, co-owner of Squamish Barbell, is the strength coach for Justin Medeiros, who placed first at this year’s CrossFit Games in Madison, Wis. Medeiros was crowned Fittest Man on Earth and was the youngest man to do so at only 22 years old.

“It was incredible. It was an amazing week down there,” said Bifano.

As a strength coach, Bifano said he was responsible for coaching Medeiros throughout the season and prepping him for the games. While having to do so through Zoom or FaceTime, Bifano said he helps build strength in weak areas for Medeiros.

While at the games, Bifano said was there to monitor food preparation and nutrition as well as recovery and restoration. Though there is preparation before the games, Bifano said some events come as a surprise.

“When we headed down there, I think four of the events had loosely been released,” Bifano said. “And other events they announced and you're doing that event within an hour or two. So the idea is that the athlete is prepared for the unknown and unknowable.”

The events largely vary in skillset, said Bifano. For example, Medeiros had to paddle a kayak, swim one mile and perform freestanding handstand push-ups during the 15 events. He said the freestanding handstand push-ups were an entirely new addition to the competition.

As for what’s next, Bifano said Medeiros will take a much-deserved break. For himself, he said he plans to work with a few athletes in Squamish as well as look after the gym, Squamish Barbell. After Medeiros’ time off, he said they will discuss what the future holds.

“We'll see where it goes from here,” Bifano said. “I'd like to remain sort of part of the team for sure. I think I think our team is both unique and special in its structure. And I definitely think that we can be even stronger next year for sure.”

Overall, he said it was an all-around gratifying experience.

“It was nice to see all of the years of sacrifice and effort start to come to fruition with my skillset, and ability to participate in helping an athlete achieve not only their dreams but also [at] the highest, highest level.”

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