Women stole the show at the California Open Kettlebell Sport Championships 2016


Here is my long overdue recap of the Orange Kettlebell Club Cali Open 2016 that happened the weekend of February 27-28. 

For the first 8 weeks of 2016, I have been following Denis Vasilev's coaching program to prepare for my debut in 2x20kg Long Cycle at the West Coast Classic, as well as my debut in 2x16kg Biathlon at the Cali Open (I competed in 2x16kg Long Cycle too, because, well... why not?).

Training went great, and paid off in spades at the Cali Open, where I took home trophies for Best Overall Lifter in Biathlon and Long Cycle. 

Nerves, competitors, and world records

My 2x16kg jerk set was my first time going 10 minutes for 16kg jerks. This was the set I was most nervous about, and I was surprised when it turned out to be the easiest one! I was focused, and it helped having my coach yelling at me reminding me to use a forceful bump each rep.

I was lucky - yes, lucky - to have some amazing competition at this event. During my 16kg snatch set, it came down to the last few seconds as Christian Goldberg and I raced to the finish line and I barely topped her score of 209 reps with 210. On Sunday, I was chased down in 16kg Long Cycle by newcomer Tara Deanna (this was her FIRST competition ever!) - she finished a very close second to my 103 reps with 101.


Both of my performances are unofficial world records for my weight class - 234 points in 2x16kg Biathlon and 103 points in 2x16kg Long Cycle. You can find the full list of ladies double kettlebell records here.

Women were the stars of this competition

Don't get me wrong, there were many great performances by the men - including John Harshmann with 100 reps 24kg Long Cycle, Aaron Guyett hitting MS in 32kg Biathlon AND Long Cycle, Dan Bettcher barely missing CMS in both 24kg Biathlon and Long Cycle, and more - but the women truly stole the show at this event.

Despite controversy last year when OKC announced no more single kettlebell events for the ladies, this event demonstrated that women are more than ready to take on two bells. There was great competition in the 2x12kg and 2x16kg events. Even more inspiring was the last flight of the weekend, which showcased Michelle Morales, Katarina Helcmanovska, and Kim Fox lifting 2x24kg, and Chelsey Marr lifting 2x28kg.

Team KOR made me a proud coach, as usual

As always, the KOR team brought their fierce competitive spirit to the platform. They trained hard over the past couple months to get ready and it showed in their performances. I got several comments from platform judges who told me it was "a pleasure" to judge my athletes because their technique was on point - if that isn't the best thing to hear as a coach, I don't know what is! 

The Orange Kettlebell Club has the right idea about Kettlebell Sport's future

The best part of the OKC competitions is always the speeches made by John Wild Buckley and Jason Dolby at the end of the event. Their passion for the sport and love for the kettlebell community is so obvious and genuine - it's the reason why their events are growing in popularity every year.

To say I'm excited that next year's Cali Open event is a WAKSC World Championship event would be an understatement. It's going to be a monumental 3 days of kettle-fun and a huge motivator for team KOR's training this year. Chu-hi!

Will you be competing at the WAKSC World Championship of Kettlebell Sport lifting in Costa Mesa next year?