Lauren Brooks burst onto the scene in 2014 when she joined Emily Bridgers and Talayna Fortunato to represent the South East region at the CrossFit Games. Brooks had been close to qualifying the prior year, but making the Games pushed her into the spotlight. Brooks further heightened her popularity with a 7th place finish at the 2014 Games.
Brooks was everywhere following the 2014 Games, but after an injury leading up to the 2015 CrossFit Open, Brooks was unable to qualify for the Games in 2015. Many expected Brooks to come back in 2016, but when she didn’t compete in the Open many started to question whether she would compete again. She later addressed not competing via Facebook.
Vanessa Bennington, owner of Gym Gypsy (gym-gypsy.com), sat down with Brooks recently to tell her story and why she may not compete at the highest level again. The following is an excerpt from the story.
If you’ve been “into” CrossFit for a few years, chances are you know very well who Lauren Brooks is, or maybe I should say, you know who she was. If not, I’ll give you the short version. Lauren Brooks, found CrossFit in 2010 and rose to “fame” starting in 2012 when she started to find competitive success. In 2014 she qualified for the CrossFit Games. While she didn’t podium at the Games, she performed well. She’s probably most notorious for the Clean Speed Ladder in which she managed to catch a clean on a dropped knee, tootsie roll that leg back into a squatting position and finish the lift.
After her performance at the Games, Lauren was signed to the Miami Surge, a team in the GRID league. During this time, you couldn’t sign into Facebook or peruse your Instagram feed without seeing pictures and videos of Lauren everywhere. She was the face (and bootie) of several big name companies that market to CrossFitters. She was brash. She was goofy. She was in your face. Personally my opinion of her vacillated back and forth between love (“Look at that strong, athletic woman showing us all that strong and thick is beautiful.”) and annoyance (“Ok. We get it. You’re real sexy AND goofy. Do we have to see a flexed quad or glute shot in every single picture?”). Turns out, some of that image wasn’t really Lauren’s idea. And now, looking back, there were hints that not all was well during this time.
I remember seeing posts about her daughter and how her behavior was becoming an issue and a video of Lauren chowing down on doughnuts in the car, in what was an attempt at self-deprecation and humor but what read as a quiet cry for help to someone who has also had her share of binge eating issues. Then, in 2015, things started to go sideways. Lauren pulled an adductor (see below) and as a result, made an appearance in a live-streamed Open workout a little less conditioned than normal. She did, however, make it to Regionals but ultimately pulled out after the injury became too much to overcome. Since then, we saw less and less of her. I still saw her Facebook posts since we live in the same area and have a lot of mutual friends but there was gradually less and less product pushing FB or Instagram posts. No bootietastic swimsuit shots. (Ok, less of those shots but we DO live in Florida so really freaking hot down here and bikinis are akin to wearing shorts. People go into the grocery store in them!) But from what I could tell, it seemed for that most part, she was continuing to train and I assumed she’d strive to make a comeback in the the Open this year.