Interview with Top 5 Open Finisher Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire

Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire, via Instagram
Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire, via Instagram

Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire will be making his first CrossFit Games appearance, pending video review of 19.1 and 19.3. Roy-Lemaire finished 5th worldwide in the 2019 CrossFit Open and is currently the Canadian National Champion. Under the new qualifying format, he will advance directly to the CrossFit Games.

We caught up with Roy-Lemaire to find out how he got into CrossFit and what it was like to do the Open workouts knowing a top 20 finish was in reach.

The Barbell Spin: Your first Open was 2014. Ever since then you have steadily been climbing the Open leaderboard. What was your athletic background prior to CrossFit? How were you introduced to CrossFit?

Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire: I played a lot of sports but I spent a lot of years playing football so I already had an “athletic” background with weightlifting and training circuit. I was watching TV one day and I saw the 2013 Crossfit Games and it seemed pretty nice. So in my off-seasons, I trained at Tonic CrossFit and some people told me that I could be very good so I quit football and started CrossFit as my primary sport.

TBBS: What would you attribute your continued improvement to? What areas did you need to focus on the most to get to where you are today?

JS-RL: I would say that football and all the training that I did in the past years gave me a good start, but for sure the gymnastics and my conditioning had to be improved, and I had to learn more about CrossFit. I know some stuff in training and I’m very disciplined so I started training hard and seeing that it was paying off, I just started to think that maybe it was possible.

TBBS: Last year you finished 4th in the Open and followed that up with a 15th place finish at the East Regional. Knowing of your success in the Open, were you excited when the new Games qualification format was introduced?

JS-RL: At first, I was stressed but then I started to think that it was probably the best thing for me for the moment so I concentrated all my training for this and it paid off.

TBBS: How much pressure was there week to week knowing you had to basically finish inside the top 20-30 worldwide to ensure an invite to the Games?

JS-RL: Honestly, this year was less stressful than the previous years. I started with a good mindset and my goals were clear. I just gave all I had every week. For sure stress is always a little bit on your mind at some point but I tried to not hear it too much.

TBBS: Who is your coach/programming? Who do you train with?

JS-RL: I love those questions because a lot of people ask me those. I am programming for myself and I’m coaching myself too. So, yes, I did all of this almost by myself but I don’t know if I’m gonna stay that way.

TBBS: What was your favorite Open workout this year?

JS-RL: At first I thought 19.2 gave me a boost cause I didn’t know if I was able to finish it but then 19.3 came up and I turned to my friend and I said “I’m gonna win this one”. In the end I got a penalty but I know inside that I won it.

TBBS: Pending video validation, you are headed to the CrossFit Games. Describe the emotions you felt when you realized you had done enough to qualify this year?

JS-RL: I was pretty happy and excited when all was done. I celebrated a little bit but then I realized that nothing was official so I think I’m gonna enjoy it another time when everything is official.

TBBS: What does training look like between now and August? What areas will you focus on the most?

JS-RL: A lot of stuff for sure. More high skill level. More running, swimming, biking. I’m still programming for the next few months.

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