The 2nd Fittest Fireman in the World, Coach Jeroen!
Last month Coach Jeroen participated at the Word police and Fire Games in Chengdu, China and became 2nd Fittest Fireman of the world in the CrossFit 30-34 year category! We wanted to know all about his experience of this amazing achievement.
What is the World police and Fire games?
The World Police and Fire Games are an Olympic-style competition with 10,000 athletes representing law enforcement, firefighters, and officers from corrections, probation, border protection, immigration and customs from 70+ countries across the world competing in 60+ sports. It is one of the biggest sport-events in the world.
How did you qualify for this event?
In the beginning I didn’t even knew of the existence of this event until I got asked to be a part of the organization of the World Police and Fire Games in 2021, which will be held in Rotterdam, that’s when I started to do some research and discovered that it’s an even bigger event than the Olympic Games. I also found out that I could sign up for the World Police and Fire Games of 2019, which was held in Chengdu China... so I did!
There was no qualifier workout to qualify, but you just simply had to sign up for the event where you wanted to compete in. Next to that of course you had to be a fireman (or one of the occupations above) and you had to have some experience in the sport you wanted to compete in, which might come in handy when on the competition floor ;)
For a moment I felt like ‘Rich Froning’ finishing at the Crossfit Games.
Were you the only dutch representative?
No, I was one of 40 other dutch athletes! All first responders from all over the Netherlands, but only me and one other Dutch fireman were competing in the sport of CrossFit. The other fireman (Bob uit den Boogaard) was competing in a different age category (18-29 years). Eventually the total Dutch delegation have managed to win 48 medals all together! It was such a cool thing because the games started with an opening ceremony, which is kind of similar to the Olympics games where the whole dutch delegation walked into the main stadium in their orange colored outfits and a big crowd cheering for you with fireworks everywhere.
Have you only participated in the sport of CrossFit?
No, the the first thing I did was participating in a ‘dragon boat’ race, which is a 9 person boat rowing race. It was more of a fun thing to do and to represent the Netherlands. After the dragon boat race I had a day off so I could relax and do some sightseeing, so I did and visited a panda farm which was pretty cool. Then I got asked to join another Dutch team who competed in a sport that was called ‘The Ultimate Firefighter’. The Dutch came a man short and they asked me if I would like to join their team. I’ve never did something similar before but it sounded cool and I didn't have anything else to do, so I decided to join! Basically ‘The Ultimate Firefighter’ is an event where you have to wear full fireman gear and go through a parkour with all kinds of objects and where you need to finish as quickly as possible. It was a lot of fun doing but we didn’t end up high on the ranking. After ‘The Ultimate Firefighter’ event I had 3 days of rest and recover so I could fully focus on the CrossFit competition.
What was your expectation of the CrossFit competition?
In the beginning I had no clue on how good the other 28 CrossFit competitors in my age category would be, because there was no qualifier ranking. Luckily on the first event I had the chance to see the other competitors because I was in the last heat, so at that point I could see that, compared to the other competitors, I might be able to push myself in the top 10. So with event number one I had to row, do a lot of cleans and double unders and in the remaining time I needed to lift a 1 rep max Clean & Jerk. I already saw from the previous heats that if I would lift about 115kg, I could win the event! But… right in the heat of battle I did manage to clean the 115kg, but I missed the jerk :(... so I became 6th.
Well you must have bummed because of that…
Yeah well of course… normally 115kg would be a lift that I would be able to lift but looking back to the footage of that event I saw that I rushed and became sloppy so that's most likely why I missed. Anyway I just thought like ‘it is, what it is’ and on to the next event, which was a heavy 20 min AMRAP workout with a lot of wall ball shots, dumbbell box step overs, pull-ups, dumbbell thrusters, handstand push-ups and ring muscle-ups… Yeah that’s a mouthful! It was one crazy workout where I eventually finished 3rd overall, which was awesome. After this event it was a wrap for that day so I needed to rest and recover for day 2!
Next up is the Wold Police and Fire Games 2021 in Rotterdam!
So how did day 2 of competition go?
Event number 3 was an EMOM, with heavy deadlifts and a max rep box jumps in the remaining time of that minute. It happens to be that I’m a pretty good jumper, so I won this event! Pretty stoked because of that finish of course! There wasn’t a life scoreboard so I had to figure out what my current position was, going into event number 4… I guessed that if I would be able to stay in the top 3, I would have a chance to get on the podium, so I decided to go in hot! Event 4 was one hell of a workout with legless rope climbs, burpees over a sandbag and sandbag carries. Going in hot did pay off, because I became second in that event! I felt like flying because I was so driven on performing as well as I could, to get me on that podium.
What was it like among the other competitors?
It was really nice! Not only did you share the same passion for CrossFit, but also our passion for firefighting! So that was something really unique and you’d feel right at home among friends that you’d know for a long time. Especially when we had to wait before each event in the waiting area, you just felt among friends who joked around and really supported each other to perform well.
So you did get on the podium right?
Hell yeah, I came in second! Which was super awesome!
We had to wait a while before the prize ceremony, so it was really exciting because I wasn’t sure if I had made it to the podium. Eventually they gathered all podium finishers and they told me that I had to stand at a certain spot, because I became second in my age category.
What is your favorite moment of the Games?
My favorite moment was when I finished the last event!
To finish this event we’d had to run to the finish and push a big red button, so that my timer would stop. I remember that the whole stadium was cheering me on… for a moment I felt like ‘Rich Froning’ finishing at the Crossfit Games.
So what’s in the future?
I will definitely be competing the 2021 edition of the World Police and Fire Games, which will be held in Rotterdam! So make sure to keep an eye out on this event, so that everyone can come and see this awesome event getting down in our very own city.