When witnessing any great feat one has to wonder what allows some to succeed while so many others fail. There is a standout quality to some successes—a style in the expression of effort—that allows one not simply to win, but to win defiantly.
I met Margaux Alvarez in the summer of 2015. I watched her greet my dog with a smile although we had interrupted her training session because we were late, as we usually were in those days. We didn’t even apologize for our exuberant Aussie Shepard’s entrance into the hot Southern Californian gym, bounding forward to deliver an expertly-landed face lick.
Margaux was anything but aggravated. She simply wiped her mouth and jogged back to the barbell to finish whatever rep/set hell she had started. I had seen my fair share of elite CrossFit athletes. Most can be placed along the spectrum from humble-and-stupid to the kind of blessed-narcissist who would have scolded our pup, put us in our rightful place, and solidified the perception of fitnessers being psychologically estranged. Margaux was different and I have been a fan ever since.
I watched from afar as she detached herself from the the usual Games athlete triteness; she doesn’t market her abs or hype her “program”. That said at the deepest level she is still in the public eye, the “athlete thing” is an experience, and whether a blessing or an inconvenience she handles her role positively. At its heart, the energy she expresses with her vineyard and the process by which she learned to grow, harvest, and bottle her own wine is the same energy you may see her sink into the winning stride of a silly fitness competition: it was effort, toil, and joy, and whether she loses or tastes a blended red that exceeds her expectations, her eyes crease and her smile requires no explanation.
It would bore both of us to discuss the details of her exercise or to think that the specific obstacle put before her mattered because her style transcends the monotony of metrics. This was confirmed to me as I watched her cross the finish line and claim her victory over the South Region on her way to the CrossFit Games. In that moment of triumph she caught a familiar face in the crowd of thousands and that seemed liked all she really needed.
Find more of Margaux here