Mikko Unlucky?

So the news broke that Mikko Salo would miss another Games due to injury last night. Most people’s opinions were that he was unlucky but I got thinking maybe it wasn’t luck? Maybe it was something else? So here’s my rambling thoughts on it.

Firstly, Mikko, a bit like the Spartans of Thermopylae, were legends almost before the act. We were lucky enough to witness Mikko at the first ever Regionals, way back in 2009. He destroyed everyone’s time in the first workout, got bored waiting for the second workout, so went for a run before winning that second workout too.

Like anyone witnessing their Regionals at the time, we were convinced that Mikko would win The Games. Heck, I even made a video about it and christened him “The Cyborg”. I’m still not even sure he knows about it.

The 2009 Games was a pure beatdown, and pretty much everyone recognises it now. It started with a hellish 7K hill run, straight to a deadlift ladder, and had three more events before the day was out. It was the early days of the sport. When Mikko won, he credited it to doing two metcons a day. This, at the time, was phenomenal. People believed that you could just about survive on one metcon a day. Of course, this is back before the sport became a sport, people started figuring out programming and it wasn’t just random workouts put together day after day. But Mikko was doing some cardio in the morning, then strength work, then TWO METCONS! Thus, the legend of his resilience was in place. Made easier by the fact there was no streaming or ESPN deal at the time, so no one was watching The Games.

Now, there’s three areas you could think of when a sportsperson gets injured – programming, movement, bad luck. CrossFit is what I’ll call a non-chaotic sport. A snatch is always a snatch, a pull up a pull up, rowing is rowing. The movement pattern in competition is not different than that in training (in theory). Contrast this to a sport like rugby where you’ve an opponent and you could just land badly after a tackle and some prop mistakes your shin for a pillow. Bad luck in CrossFit really boils down to either a judging error (which won’t get you injured immediately) or an equipment error (wet floor, bar that doesn’t spin.) Which, given that Mikko is a Games athlete and a hardy Finn to boot, probably isn’t the cause.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that Sam Brigg’s injury was a result of bad movement. Watch her Deadlifts in 2011. (Start at 1:35)

Full credit to Sam, she’s seriously cleaned up her movement based off her performances this year.

Now, back to Salo and his time since 2009. In 2010, he looked flat, and later admitted to overtraining. 2012 he injures his knee and needs surgery. Now I am assuming it was over use and a poor movement pattern over time that led to this. And now, 2013 he’s out again with an abdominal tear.

So this all leads me to believe that Mikko needs a coach. Someone to either a) take the programming away from him so he doesn’t beat himself down to the ground, and/or b) looks at correcting movement patterns which may be leading to these injuries.

I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, and injuries can happen even if you have a coach dutifully watching and programming for you. He’s a great guy from the time I met him and he did give us “wonbelebable” and “lot of work to do” (so for that alone I’m grateful). Wishing him a speedy recovery and I really hope he can come back and compete in 2014 a better, safer, sounder athlete. It would be a damn tragedy if he limped out of the competitive exercise arena due to injuries.

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