I got to sit down and laugh and cry with an amazing woman. This female athlete caught my attention this year after I began seeing more of her not only at the gym, but also supporting and cheering our athletes on at competitions. Am I biased because she was a fellow 2Fit2Quit House Cup Member who didn't flinch when I suggested Brave Heart blue face paint? Perhaps, but it really comes down to how she shows up to me: committed, fun and caring. She's a regular in my 6pm Monday class who recently shared when I asked about the best thing that happened over the weekend that she got married which no one could top and you'll learn played a major role in advancing her CrossFit journey. I'm honored to present, the one… the only… Maria Olivon (formerly Gonzalez).
Name: Maria Andreina O.
Hometown: Judibana, Venezuela
Occupation: I am the Director of the Graduate Advising Center at Golden Gate University supporting students on just about everything including immigration, academics, life. I lead a team of seven full time direct reports along with two part time team members.
When did you first start CrossFitting? I began (at and with UB) back in October 2015 going once a week, maybe twice and then in April 2016 I ramped it up to three or more times after I got engaged! I told my now husband that if he had proposed earlier I would have ramped up sooner to get ready for the wedding.
How did you first get exposed to CrossFit? I saw the incredible change within Gabi Torres who inspired me to want to change my life and feel better about myself. I was having a hard time sticking with something that motivated me. It took Gabi several months to finally get me in and the breakthrough occurred for me after she shared one of her before and after transformation photos. I thought: “She’s totally normal and if she could do something like that, I could totally do it too.” I knew it was time to do something different because I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked and felt.
Favorite WOD: Workouts that have cardio and rotating to different stations.
Least Favorite WOD: Anything involving lifting my own weight such as pull-ups, push ups, etc. Gymnastics are a weakness for me.
What question do you wish you were asked more often and what is the answer? “Is that your real hair?” - Yes!
What is an unexpected way CrossFit has affected your life? CrossFit has made me stronger both physically and mentally. I now have the mindset that I can do anything including things I never thought I could do. I’ve gotten a better grasp on self-discipline and having a powerful mindset. The community has also played an incredible role in helping me recognize my own strength.
What are you most grateful for in your life recently? Living in a safe place where I have a future and opportunities to grow. My home country (Venezuela) is going through such hard times... and I’m very sensitive to the situation right now. I was heartbroken to learn that the brother of a friend was killed in protests this month. It really puts into perspective the seemingly big issues that we deal with here in the US.
What are you most excited about having turn out later this year? The next chapter of my life following my wedding! I’m looking forward to having a celebration with close family and friends for which I’ll be away for two weeks for.
What’s your definition of greatness? Feeling fulfilled, accomplishing dreams, and having made an impact on one’s own life, with friends, with family, in love, work… all areas in life.
What’s something incredible that became possible for you? Leaving my country to come study abroad with a lot of uncertainty, I had no idea what was going to happen after I finished my studies. I graduated with a Masters degree and got a job successfully navigating the typically very challenging visa process here in the US. Starting my life over as an adult in a new country ten years ago was the greatest possibility I created.
It’s your last day on earth and everything you’ve ever created and done has been erased from the planet and history books. You... have one final opportunity to share three things you know to be true about life… what would those be?
Be a good person no matter what.
All the sacrifices will be worth it.
Be optimistic and trust that good things will come.