Justin Schmalstieg, Marine Gunnery Sergeant, was killed in action serving his fourth tour of duty in an active warzone, Afghanistan 2011. He was an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Technician whose very job was as dangerous and as important as any MOS in the Marine Corps. He was also a CrossFit athlete and on July 4th, the WOD at CrossFit Champions was in his honor: the Schmalls Hero WOD.

As the mother of an active duty Marine, doing this WOD was not only a matter of respect, but pride. My son is currently deployed in the Pacific Theater of Operations and I know he is closer to the ‘action’ than he has ever been.  It is only right that I work my body as hard as possible, that I sweat and strain, that I finish something hard because my son, and many other mothers’ children, are out there doing the same for us, for the U.S.

CrossFit Champions was very full on Monday morning; it was heartening to see athletes pushing hard to honor a great American. The HeroWOD is a noble endeavor on the part of CrossFit. It may not be nationally recognized or even locally noticed, but every CrossFit athlete knows what it is and what it means. It gives us just a little taste of what it means to make a personal sacrifice that may or may not ever be noticed or appreciated by others;  how it feels to work to the point of exhaustion without a single ‘atta boy’.  While our mere 1 hour “sacrifice” is nothing in comparison, we dedicate our sweat and tears to the members of the United States Military who willingly sacrifice for us every day. #HeroWOD

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