James Newbury – Why 2019 Might Have Been His Last CrossFit Games Appearance

June 30, 2022

The results of the 2022 Torian Pro – Oceania’s CrossFit Games Semifinal event were posted. Three male athletes heading to the CrossFit Games, Jay Crouch, Ricky Garard and Bayden Brown. Three further male athletes heading to the Last Chance Qualifiers, Royce Dunne, Jake Douglas and Bayley Martin… but the name we are accustomed to hearing, James Newbury, is missing, it’s not until 17th on the Leaderboard do we see him. From 5th place in the 2019 CrossFit Games, to 17th in the Oceania Semifinals, is it over for James to get to the CrossFit Games again?

Going back 11 years, we see James competing in his first Open at the age of 20 and finishing 199th in Australia. First using CrossFit to aid in his Rugby Union performance, James soon found himself concentrating on improving his benchmark scores more than his success on the field. Only five years later, following a 5th place during the Open (by region) and 2nd in Regionals (Pacific), he placed 24th at the CrossFit games in his rookie year which ignited the fire inside him.

The 2019 CrossFit season would have to be one of the most memorable, both good and bad. After finishing 9th in Australia during the Open, James went on to beat the likes of Cole Sager, Travis Mayer and Patrick Vellner to secure the title of 5th Fittest Man on Earth. Sitting on top of the leaderboard with Mat Fraser, Noah Olsen, Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson and Scott Panchik, some of the biggest names in CrossFit. However, this is the last time we see James’ name.

The biggest hit came while training for the Busselton Ironman, held in Western Australia during December 2019. A few months prior, while out mountain biking with mates, James crashed, and ended up in the emergency room. The diagnosis, T2 & T3 fracture, two rib fractures and a gash in his lung which then caused a leak. It’s incredible to know, that a mere 5 weeks later, James smashed out a full Ironman in 10 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds. For those that don’t know, an Ironman consists of 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run (a full marathon). Just sit with the thought of that for a minute, broken back to full Ironman, all in under 2 months.

On paper, James peaked during 2019 and has since not been able to return to the CrossFit Games as a competitor. More recently 2022 saw a 17th place in the Torian Pro Semifinal event, again missing out on a ticket to the Games. Not to discount the talent coming through the ranks in the Oceania Region, specifically Jay Crouch (Australia) and Bayley Martin (New Zealand), one of the biggest impacts to James’ performance was his lack of preparation, admitting himself that “I pretty well deserve 25th “during an interview with Wyke Etsebeth prior to the Torian Pro – check that one out below. In recent times, James has shifted his focus towards other sports, completing the Geelong Ironman 70.3 in February 2022, while also following multiple business endeavours and side projects. If you follow @jamesnewbury you can attest to the multiple things he has going including working on cars, programming, compiling vegan cookbooks, triathlons and I’m sure much more that we’re yet to see.

So here is the reason I believe we won’t see James at the CrossFit Games again. in all honesty, the guy is absolutely killing it at everything else, so why put that on hold just to get back there. For someone who wants to be remembered not as a ‘CrossFitter’ but by the impact he had on other people’s lives, he is well on the way to achieving that goal. By all means, if he dedicated 100% of his time to CrossFit, we could see an Aussie sitting in the Top 10, Top 5 or even on the podium.

James has proven the versatility of a CrossFit athlete in and out of the sport. His 5th place finish at the Games shows he can mix it with the best of them when he needs to. Just this year, over the space of 4 months, James has finished an Ironman 70.3, placed both 17th in the Open (Oceania) and Semifinals (Oceania), pretty sure there was a Powerlifting comp in there somewhere too, and was awarded 2nd place during the Australia’s Strongest strongman competition.

I’d love to see James back at the Games as a competitor, or even reunite the bromance with Khan Porter on the demo team again. Either way, I’m keen to follow what’s next in his story as he makes waves down under in the fitness space. Head over to his new website and grab an eBook to support this Aussie legend.

– CF Down Under –

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