Local woman looking to master CrossFit Games

63-year-old qualifies for 4th straight year
By David Pan | Aug 02, 2017
Courtesy of: Katherine Stojkovic Katherine Stojkovic finished in ninth place in the Masters 60 to 65 division at the 2016 CrossFit Games.

Katherine Stojkovic is ready to take on the challenge of the 2017 CrossFit Games.

The 63-year-old Edmonds resident is preparing to make her fourth appearance at the annual competition where participants compete in different workouts that are designed to test their athletic abilities.

Each year Stojkovic has improved her standing. She finished ninth in 2016 and placed 11th and 12th the two previous years in the Masters 60- to 65-year-old division. The 2017 Games run Aug. 3-6 in Madison, Wisconsin.

“My plan this year is to just go and have a great time and just wherever I land, I’m going to be happy with,” Stojkovic said.

Her performances in the last three years, however, demonstrate that the idea that people’s athletic prowess diminishes as they age is not necessarily true.

“I’m not losing my fitness,” Stojkovic said. “People say … if you’re a runner, you lose a couple of seconds when you run.

“I think if you work hard and try and stay fit, you don’t have to lose what you’ve spent a lot of time building.”

This week is going to be Stojkovic’s last appearance at the CrossFit Games, at least for a year. She plans to take next year off but says she might be back when she turns 65.

For now, Stojkovic is excited to be going up against some strong competition. Two of the returning athletes, who are 64 and 65, are older than Stojkovic. But some of the newcomers are younger, having aged into the division after competing in the 50 to 59 age group.

“I’m working out with the youngsters,” Stojkovic joked.

CrossFit Games athletes only learn of the exact details of the different workouts a few days before the event. Stojkovic described the Games as a combination of the unknown and the knowable.

“We won’t know the actual workouts until right before we get to Wisconsin. They want us to be prepared for anything,” she said. “The surprise element is what they’re looking for – to see how good you are at just fitness.”

This year’s workouts include a Run Swim Run competition, an obstacle course race and the Triple-G Chipper, which includes pull-ups, sit-ups, one-legged squats and dumbbell push presses.

Each event is worth 100 points and athletes earn points based on their finish. The individual with the most points at the end is the winner.

Stojkovic is a relatively latecomer to CrossFit and to athletic competitions. She did not participate in any athletics or sports in high school or in college.

Five years ago, Stojkovic was working at Premera Blue Cross in Mountlake Terrace and she kept noticing people running around the company’s campus.

“Every time it looked like they were having fun,” she said.

At the time, Stojkovic was doing some running, but she admitted that she never looked like she was having fun.

“These people were laughing,” Stojkovic said. “I came home to my husband and said, ‘You know what? I’m going try it. This gym looks very fun.’”

When Stojkovic stepped foot into CrossFit Industrious in Lynnwood, she immediately was hooked.

“The community was great,” she said. “They didn’t make me pick up heavy things. They assessed me.”

Nearly five years later, Stojkovic is in the best shape of her life and is healthier than she’s ever been. The CrossFit workouts, which involve a little bit of everything – ranging from weight training to running – have transformed Stojkovic.

“I’ve just gotten stronger,” she said. “My thyroid medication was reduced to almost nothing. My doctor was so impressed with so many things she saw change with me. As I’m getting older, it makes me really happy to feel this good.”

Her transformation inspired Stojkovic to take on a new career as a coach at CrossFit Industrious following her retirement from Premera in 2014 after a 31-year career.

Two years ago, Stojkovic worked to receive her coaching certification, in part because she knew the company was attempting to get onto the Premera campus to provide onsite classes for employees. Stojkovic also is the gym’s athletic experience specialist, working with new athletes.

CrossFit Industrious has hosted classes each week at Premera for the last two years. On average, more than 120 employees attend the classes, some of whom are former co-workers of Stojkovic.

“My goal was to be able to come and coach where I worked for years and years,” she said. “This is where I can make a difference and show them that you can still be fit and retire and do something that is fun, that you like and make a difference in people’s lives.”

 

The 2017 CrossFit Games, can be seen at https://games.crossfit.com/ and on Facebook. CBS Sports Digital will stream portions of the Games at CBSSports.com. For information about CrossFit Industrious go to: http://crossfitindustrious.com.

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