#1004 – Roman Khrennikov Speaks Out

Sevan Matossian (00:01):

I see Rosa in the waiting room. Hi Rosa, how are you? I see Caleb Beaver in the waiting room. Hi Caleb. How are you? There’s Rosa. Hi. Bam. And then there were three, oh, I think she froze. Just a girl from Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan. I wonder if I say that right with the right accent. Uzbekistan, what’s up, Hillary? How are you buddy? I was hoping you were going to say that. I didn’t know how to pronounce it. Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan, some great arm wrestlers out of Uzbekistan. Oh, Rosie, you froze, girl. I’m going to take you out for one second and maybe you got to reboot and reenter. I wonder if Roman’s having some issues getting in. Okay, I understand. Texting with a dear friend. Fair enough. Okay. Lemme see. I sent the link to, oh, look. Look. Caleb, will you kick off Rose’s other camera. Thank you. Awesome. Hey Rosa. Hey guys. What’s

Roza Gilles (01:02):


Sevan Matossian (01:02):

What’s up? Thanks for doing this. Are you in Uzbekistan right now?

Roza Gilles (01:09):

No, but I wish I was.

Sevan Matossian (01:13):

Fair enough. Do you know Andrew Hiller, Rosa?

Roza Gilles (01:18):

No, we never personally met, but I’ve heard a lot about you. So absolute pleasure to meet you.

Roman Khrennikov (01:24):

Nice to meet you everybody.

Roza Gilles (01:27):


Sevan Matossian (01:28):

Romanoff. Hi, how are you?

Roman Khrennikov (01:31):

Hello. I’m good, thank you.

Sevan Matossian (01:33):

Good. I’m fantastic. I’m excited to see you. Welcome to the show. It’s good to finally have you on here.

Roman Khrennikov (01:39):

Thank you,

Sevan Matossian (01:41):

Roman, where are you right now?

Roman Khrennikov (01:57):

We still,

Roza Gilles (02:00):

He feels a little bit more comfortable speaking Russian, so I’m going to translate, although he understood what you meant. He is in a city Cookville in state of Tennessee and inside of his garage.

Sevan Matossian (02:12):

Oh, nice. So he has a place there with some gym equipment and it also, he doesn’t train exclusively at Mayhem

Roza Gilles (02:25):

Equipment. I think the main goal of that gym that you’re seeing right now was for his wife. She’s taking care of the baby. He’s a little over a year old, and so once Roman has some time to look after his son, his wife can go downstairs to the gym and work out herself. She loves CrossFit.

Sevan Matossian (03:09):

Oh, I love that. I love that. How’s Roman’s foot? He looks, he’s got a big smile on his face. I’m guessing that he’s healing.

Roza Gilles (03:57):

He feels much better now with his foot, although his foot was inside of a boot for quite a long time. So the biggest challenge for him right now is that it’s very stiff. Today was the first day he squatted with a barbell, so it’s awesome. He can feel a little bit like some sort of in discomfort due to the stiffness. But yeah, overall he walks, he is doing well and he’s doing workouts.

Sevan Matossian (04:20):

Can he tell us at the moment, the three seconds prior to the injury and then maybe the three seconds after the injury, give us kind of that sort of that 10 or maybe five and five, that ten second window. No details too small. I’d really be curious what actually transpired with his injury.

Roza Gilles (04:49):



It’s really hard to listen to his words as a friend, so I’m like having all these emotions. So bear with me. He picked up the last sandbag. He could see Valer on his side of his eye as he was going. And then it looked to him, it felt to him, and he saw that he’s maybe a one foot ahead of Valer. So he thought himself, I think I can beat Valer, so I’m just going to toss the back really quickly over the log and then I’m going to jump up and try to get there as fast as I can, so I’m just going to go for it. So he tosses his back, he jumps over the log and when he landed on his foot and they added a smaller black bag, he heard a big crunch. And then for a second he goes like, oh no.


And then he was like, maybe it’s just a little kind of your joints kind of. And then he started picking up the red bag and as he’s picking it up, the pain in his foot start going to his mind and he is like, oh my God, this is so painful. As he start going, he drops the red bag and then as soon as he drops the bag, I think there’s a video of him, he drops it and then he takes a couple jumps in a place just to see what’s wrong with his foot. And as he took three jumps, he landed down and he goes, my leg is broken, my foot is broken. And then the world just collapsed and it was awful then. But also there’s a positive to it too. Previously competing with valor, he is really good in ring muscle-ups for him to be going head to head and actually beating Wellner and this workout was a really big accomplishment. So he’s very excited. In the previous workouts, he always beat Roman on the ring muscle up, so he was really excited and he was like, oh, I guess I still have it and I can still fight even though my leg is broken.

Sevan Matossian (09:04):

An actual bone in his foot broke.

Roza Gilles (09:08):


Sevan Matossian (09:09):


Roza Gilles (09:13):

If you have a doctor, if you would look at the foot, you’d be like, well, it’s right here. And everybody kind of have to come down, he think to put the stories of the doctor review and everything. But when I was in the room when they took a scan, I was looking at it, you could see it. I was standing. I was like, oh no, I was hoping I can see it. It’s like a broken book.

Sevan Matossian (09:38):

So you’re saying it was so obvious, even a layman, everyone could be like, oh yeah, shit, that thing’s broken. Yeah,

Roza Gilles (09:44):

I am not a doctor and I’m like, I saw it

Sevan Matossian (09:48):

Was, was it the foot that hit the bag that broke or was it the foot that hit the ground that broke Because one foot, it was one in one, right? One foot hit the bag, one foot hit the ground.

Roza Gilles (10:00):

I honestly didn’t watch the video. So I’m going to ask. So again, I didn’t watch the video, so he’s explaining it. This is the best way. As he jumped over the log, he landed with his foot, the front of his foot landed into the turf, and then back of his foot lands on the bag, and so he kind of start going sideways and the whole entire pressure of 230 pounds of Roman chronic up goes in the front of his foot. And that part just SAPs.

Sevan Matossian (11:26):

What’s interesting too is it wasn’t even the bag that he threw over. It was a bag that had already been there. What a shame. Correct,

Roza Gilles (11:33):

Correct. It’s a black bag, the lighter bag that they threw. So yeah,

Sevan Matossian (11:39):

What’s interesting is basically this is what happened to Ricky Gerard, right? But it happened to him prior to the games, right? Another top guy, he was riding his bike, but now, I mean, him and Roman kind of have a similar story in the sense that they’ve gone through a lot to get to the games. They’ve had stuff, and then both of them have had, this year was a tough year for both of ’em. Kind of weird, but I mean I guess he can kind of relate. They can relate to each other. They’ve so much to prove. Is Roman, how old’s Roman? Is he 28? Yeah. Is he 28?

Roman Khrennikov (12:14):

No, 28.

Sevan Matossian (12:15):


Roza Gilles (13:56):

So he’s saying the Gerard is a little different story than his. He tries to, Roman himself tries to stay a little bit more on the safer side, right Before the games, you have emotions, you want to do certain things, you want to get out of your house, you want to try a couple different things, go out with friends. And Ricki made a mistake by jumping with a bike where for sure that that’s not going to be at the game, so why do it where Romans was like, it was an accident during the games and he got really nothing to prove. Everybody saw how he competed all three days prior to that accident, and he has shown that he’s physically really prepared. Then he’s done games last year as everybody saw him. I think it was pretty clear he got nothing to do really.

Sevan Matossian (14:46):

Can you read this? This is from Athena? This is in Russian. I can’t,

Roza Gilles (14:55):

It’s actually in Ukrainian, unfortunately. I do not know Ukrainian, I wish, but you

Sevan Matossian (15:13):

Can read. Wow. Okay. Alright.

Roza Gilles (15:15):

Yeah, so the beginning was like congratulations with the way you, and probably just saying congratulations and good luck in the future, but because there was no caution mark or whatever. So learning

Sevan Matossian (15:33):

Me too.

Sevan Matossian (15:36):

We’re going to play a video from the behind the scenes, a little clip we have, we want to show you guys so people know how emotional it got in the coliseum when Roman continued to compete after his injury

Sevan Matossian (16:36):

Here. Nuts. Do Russians have emotions? No, you’re right. Nevermind.

Sevan Matossian (16:55):

Didn’t like that Very emotional, very emotional moment, man. I can’t, maybe the most emotional moment in the history of the CrossFit games. What’s the impact that had on Roman that moment, those moments there?

Roza Gilles (19:48):

So he was telling me, we had a conversation afterwards. Right after that same evening. We talked about how he’s feeling, what the emotions are, and he told me this thing and he’s going to repeat himself again during the moment when he was in the coliseum, as he was performing an exercise, all he could think about is the division of adaptive athletes or how incredible those people are and how hard it is for them to compete. As he stands down his one foot, he could have used his second foot. It was just hurting him, so that’s why he was jumping on one leg and he just saw the other side of the coin. As we say in Russians, you almost see the other side and thinking to yourself, man must be hard to compete like them. Of course, he was the fittest he’s ever been and he prepared so hard and he got an injury.


It’s sad, but he wasn’t feeling that I feel so accomplished for doing what I’m doing. I’m so strong. I came out here, all he could think of is this. Adaptive athletes are heroes and there’s never this amount of people applauding to them at the same time as they were cheering for him, and he’s so grateful for every single person in that arena, but he just could not stop thinking about that adaptive athletes and that probably what kept him going. Every single time he thought maybe I should stop or slow down. That’s all he could think about. The adaptive athletes are true heroes, and I don’t know how you guys feel about it, but the media should really pay attention to those guys and the stadium should be more filled, do the same kind of a thing you guys did for Roman and cheer for them. It’s awesome. They are heroes and that’s hard. Jumping in one leg, it’s tough.

Roman Khrennikov (21:32):

It was horrible.

Roza Gilles (22:42):

Bye guy. Nothing was really bad to him. It’s just a little broken foot. Anyways, that’s just my words. So he’s saying when everybody kept on telling him, good job, Roman, you did amazing for him. As he was listening to all those encouragement and the words of encouragement saying how incredible he was, he was just soaking it in and thinking, if you say so, sure I am not opposed to it, that I’ve helped you somehow like, oh, you think this of me, thank you very much. I’m so grateful, but in reality, you just could only think I still had my leg. It just couldn’t step on it. It was just a little broken foot and I didn’t do it. Just like the idea of when you lose something, you cherish it a lot more than when you have it. He was very fit and then suddenly in the blink of a second, he wasn’t anymore. So he was just very down and everybody kept on telling him that he was a hero, where he believes that the heroes are those who live with it every day. He still has a foot, and today he can’t walk. A person, an adaptive athlete probably will never have a foot if they don’t anymore. So he applies to them. It’s incredible what they do.

Sevan Matossian (24:00):

Would he have won if he didn’t break his foot? Are we looking at the 2023 CrossFit Games champion?

Roza Gilles (24:06):

Are you asking me?

Sevan Matossian (24:08):

Sure. I’ll start with you. I’m asking you. Yes, yes. I’m asking you. I think we need to ask you to get to him. Yeah, yeah, both. I’ll take an answer from both of you.

Roza Gilles (24:17):

Fine. Roman,

Sevan Matossian (24:17):

Would you have won?

Roza Gilles (24:20):

We across

Sevan Matossian (24:26):


Roman Khrennikov (24:26):


Roza Gilles (24:29):

He won the games before the game


When he prepares for the game. In his mind, in his head, he’s a hundred percent sure that he’s going to win the games. There’s nothing beside winning the games. He did everything in his power to do everything towards that goal and in his mind a hundred percent he was a winner. He now a little bit of a story about something that most people probably won’t understand, but maybe somebody could relate. Bear with me and my story of an immigrant. So as a parent of a little baby, you know how baby’s teething and he doesn’t sleep and all of that stuff. Him and his wife made the decision that she will go back to her family in so he can prepare a hundred percent to the games as they did every single day. He woke up, he went to Mayhem. He had a great team around him.


He worked out really hard. He didn’t cheat one day he did put all of the work every single day was all about training, eating, sleeping, training, eating, sleeping. All he did for months as a preparation in his head and in reality to me as well, he looked really, really ready and fit and ready to go. He didn’t spend any time on doing anything else and even comparing to last game, his preparation to the game, it’s not even close. The team that he had around him and everything that he did towards it was to the best of his ability and the only way that another person would’ve won if they prepared more, but he broke a foot, so he a hundred percent in his mind had the wind in his sight. I agree with him.

Sevan Matossian (27:45):

Finally, good comment. Oh, sorry.

Roza Gilles (28:12):

When we’re sitting there as this is, I’m just visualize this, right, so I was right there. Every single second as we’re limping out to the coliseum floor to hear the last two events. As we’re sitting there and we’re hearing the events, it was almost like, man, you serious? All of the movements, everything. It was so cool. It was perfect for Roman. It almost felt like Adrian Bosman sat there and they just sign underneath the gift for Roman Chronic off under each of the exercises and he was born. The thrusters. The Acobi. You kidding me? It’s the jump rope, the SLA pull, and we just sat there like, oh man, that sucks. I just remember sitting there like, oh,

Sevan Matossian (29:03):

Horrible. Andrew, does he win the games? Yeah, yeah. Healthy Roman wins the games

Andrew Hiller (29:09):

Without a doubt.

Sevan Matossian (29:11):


Andrew Hiller (29:13):

The final event had that echo bike in it and there’s no one better than him on the Echo bike. The one before it. I’ve talked to some people at the camp over there and he handles the sled incredibly well.

Sevan Matossian (29:26):

I Roman, you were also very close to being told you couldn’t compete. Correct? I was down there and you had dozens of people around you. Minute to minute you didn’t know what was going on. You didn’t even get to, I mean psychologically that must’ve been crazy. It wasn’t like they were just like, okay, go ahead and compete. It was like there was endless discussion after each event for between the start and end of each event. There was just endless discussion between many doctors and the CrossFit staff on whether you were going to be allowed to compete. It was like never ending. The convers.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

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