Former Badgers competing in CrossFit Games

Julie Ackermann and Chris Exarhos will compete in their old stomping groups all weekend, trying to earn the title of the Fittest on Earth in their age groups.

MADISON, Wis. — 2022 marks Madison’s fifth year hosting the CrossFit Games, featuring hundreds of athletes from dozens of countries. The games take place at Alliant Energy Arena, and among those competing are a pair of former Badger athletes and Wisconsin natives.

Julie Ackermann was a member of the Wisconsin diving team, and has worked her way back to her first CrossFit games since 2018 and her third overall.

For Ackermann, coming back to Madison brings her athletic career full circle.

“I got to see my diving coach who I hadn’t seen in years, and I just love the city, I have a special place in my heart for Madison,” Ackermann said.

When she’s not training, she’s a full-time nurse and a CrossFit Coach, two occupations she says align for the same cause.

“I always tell people I am still working on the preventative side of healthcare as a coach, promoting health, fitness, and wellness.”

For Ackermann, CrossFit is a family affair. Her son, Nate, took on CrossFit recently, and proved that the apple doesn’t far fall from the tree.

In his first year competing, Nate placed first in the world in the Online Qualifiers and third in the world in The Open.

Chris Exarhos, a former Badger hockey player, is overwhelmed with emotion competing in the very arena he played on in college.

“Since I was five years old I wanted to be a Badger, and I made that dream come true. I ended my career here,” he said. “This is the first year I get to compete in the Coliseum, so I just hope to God they don’t play Jump Around because I might lose it.”

Both athletes will compete in their old stomping groups all weekend, trying to earn the title of the Fittest on Earth in their age groups.

The final day of the games on Sunday will air on WISC-TV from noon to 2 p.m.

To learn more about the event, click here.

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