inov-8 athlete Dani Speegle has finished the 2019 CrossFit Games Open ranked number-one in the USA – just four years after starting in the sport.

The 26-year-old, who hails from Melbourne, Florida, USA, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since first stepping foot in a gym, and last week finished top of the USA female leader board in the 2019 CrossFit Games Open.

The only four athletes to score higher than Dani in the gruelling five workouts that make up the Open were from Iceland (x2), Norway and New Zealand. A total of 140,000 female athletes worldwide took part in the Open.

Dani’s performances and overall score for the Open earned her a place at the 2019 CrossFit Games – the biggest event in the sport, where athletes from around the world compete against each other. This year’s CrossFit Games will be held between July 29th – August 4th in Madison, Wisconsin.

Dani said: “The Open was an amazing experience this year. The goal going into it was to place top-20. I was just trying to make it to the Games and that was it. After week three my goals shifted a bit. It was pretty clear, barring a huge mess-up, that I was going to make it top-20, so my goal of winning the US started to take form.

“The second week was my favourite Open workout to date. It was the perfect workout. Heavy weight, skill, endurance – it was beautiful. When it was first released in 2016, that was my first Open and I couldn’t finish the workout because I couldn’t complete the final weight for the squat cleans. To be able to have another go at it and finish it – especially during this Open – made me all smiles.

“At the other end of the scale, 19.5 (the fifth and final Open workout) was hard for me. It gave me a hard time and challenged me mentally more than any other workout. I’ll admit I had a little break down and a ‘I can’t do this’ moment. This sport is constantly evolving and is constantly giving athletes learning opportunities. During that workout I had to learn and remind myself that not every workout is going to go according to plan – but there will be other workouts, and other opportunities. Learning to move on from downfalls while learning from them is crucial in this sport.”

Dani completed most of the workouts in inov-8’s pioneering F-LITE G 290 training shoes – the world’s first with graphene-enhanced rubber outsoles.

200 times stronger than steel, graphene is the world’s strongest material. inov-8 collaborated with The National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester in the UK to infuse the Nobel prize winning material into the rubber outsoles of the shoes, which are scientifically proven to be 50% stronger, 50% more elastic and 50% harder wearing.

Dani said: “I love the versatility of the shoes. No matter which ones I’m wearing, I feel comfortable hitting a workout, going for a run or climbing a rope. inov-8 have a shoe for EVERYTHING. I also find that a lot of time with running shoes there isn’t enough ankle support to actually hit a WOD (workout of the day) as well, but the inov-8 runners give me enough support to do both.”