Athletes in Florence push it to the limit in Independence Games

More than 100 competitors met at the Florence Civic Center Saturday to push their minds and their bodies to the limit in the Cross Fit Independence Games.

Two of those athletes were Teresa Vandevander and Julia Henry, competing as a pair with the team name: The Five Foot Firecrackers.

Watching the pair fiercly compete in one of the four events, it was obvious they came to win. "Just keep thinking about pushing through and trying to get on the podium on the top," Henry explained.

Henry is an 8-year Army veteran who has served three tours in Iraq. For her, it's not just about winning but not letting her partner down. "You don't want to disappoint your partner so you know that they're not going to disappoint you."

Ask Vandevander and she'll tell you the feeling is mutual. "I don't want to let her down so that's my big thing, she's my partner.

The pair are one of nearly 50 teams competing Saturday in Day 2 of the event.

Athletes competed in four CrossFit events, a combination of weights, cardio and gymnastics. They often train two or more hours a day, six days a week.

"What CrossFit does is it says who's the best overall. Who's strong, who is conditioned cardiovascularly and who can also do gymnastics movements well also. It's a compilation of all those the best to see who's the most fit overall, not just in one thing," explained Del Boykin, Director of the Independence Games.

Boykin added that CrossFit is more than just a sport, but a lifestyle. "The concept of CrossFit is to prepare you for the unknown and unknowable so that whatever you encounter in life, you're ready for it."

Organizers say there's more than half a million CrossFit competitors nationwide.