Amputee takes on world’s top athletes

Brant Garvey during training for the Crossfit Games.
Brant Garvey during training for the Crossfit Games.

What makes 28-year-old Garvey’s story unique is that he is doing it all, quite literally, on one leg.

Garvey was born missing his right leg above the knee, but that has not stopped him from competing at the highest level, winning five Australian Wheelchair Basketball Championships as well as the World Cup Championship in Kitakyushu in Japan in 2007.

Now he is taking on one of the toughest challenges in the world in the form of the Crossfit Games, which aims to find the fittest athletes in the world by testing competitors on their strength, gymnastic ability and endurance, with the initial competition taking place over five rounds.

What makes the Crossfit Games unique is that the competitors are only informed of the exercises required to complete the round on a Thursday, with final results to be submitted on Sunday night.

Garvey said he initially began training in Crossfit because he felt he was losing the motivation to stay in the gym.

‘Going to the gym was becoming quite a mundane task,’ he said.

‘A few of my mates suggested I should try it out, they said it had helped them when their results had plateaued during training, and I started really enjoying the training. It’s different every day and you never know what’s coming next.

‘From there I decided to give the actual competition a shot.’

After one round of competition, Garvey is ranked at 4311 out of 73,000 athletes; quite an achievement considering the exercises completed in the first round did not play to his strengths.

‘The first round was mainly strength exercises, and while I’d say I’m fairly strong I think my real strengths are my flexibility and my endurance capabilities,’ he said.

‘The fact I’m missing a leg also presents some challenges.

‘The knee joint on my prosthesis is designed to lock when there is weight on the heel, so for a snatch grab I have to keep as much pressure on my toes as possible to avoid that, which is not ideal but it’s the only safe way to complete the exercise.’

Garvey said he believes that over the next three rounds of competition, his results can only improve.