Saskatoon’s Laurie Meschishnick is a world champion, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows her name.
“At the games actually, there’s sometimes a few fans in the crowd who have watched for years and they’re yelling out my name. I’m like ‘it’s Meh-SHISH-nick, get it right!’ It’s quite funny.”
Despite having her name continually mispronounced, Meschishnick’s international reputation as an athlete is growing.
She has a gold medal from the 2019 Masters World Weightlifting Championship, and is the world record holder for clean and jerk in her age and weight class.
Meschishnick has also qualified for the CrossFit Games an impressive nine times and won medals in five of them.
Her first gold was in 2019 in the women’s age 55 to 59 category. She took the gold for a second time at the games in Wisconsin this summer. Topping the podium was just as she pictured it.
“I stand on it in my mind over and over and over. How it’s going to happen. And so when I stand on it, I’ve been there a thousand times. It was just what was meant to happen.”
Meschishnick’s ability to visualize is just one of the many talents that helps her rise to the top.
“I have some gifts given to me around athleticism and pain tolerance and things like that. And wanting to do well at what I do. Be good at what I do. And make sure it’s 110 per cent effort in what I put into it.”
Meschishnick’s win at this year’s CrossFit Games was her second gold and her fifth medal. (Justin Tamane)
‘Check your ego at the door’
According to the games’ website, more than 200,000 athletes participated in the CrossFit Open. From there, regional competitors were whittled down to 100 finalists.
It was not an easy road. CrossFit has a reputation for extremely grueling workouts.
“We often say you have to check your ego at the door,” she said. “This sport is going to put you in your place.”
Meschishnick hones her craft at CrossFit Ashlar in the southeast industrial area of the city. Owner and coach Tarra Hall raised money for Meschishnick and sent her messages of support from the gym’s members.
Hall said they love having a champion in their midst.
“It’s very cool. I’ll have a first-time mom or dad, or a person who’s never worked out in their life here, in a class with her. It’s such a cool thing to experience.”
Mark Riffle is one of those members. He’s been working out alongside Meschishnick for a long time.
“She’s obviously been a motivator to myself, to continue on my fitness journey, and to just be a fitter person,” Riffle said. “She’s always been part of the community of CrossFit here in Saskatoon. Always eager to talk and just help athletes do better.”
The hard work continues for Meschishnick. She is already preparing for the Games next summer. The Saskatoon CrossFit community is right beside her, cheering her on.
For Meschishnick, being part of a community is not just a responsibility, it also motivates her.
“I get messages from people I don’t know, saying thank you for what you do … you inspire me to get going,” she said.
“If I get one person to start being active – anywhere in the world – I take that seriously. Because if I can do that by being good at what I do, then I’ll work really hard.”