When he was younger, Johnny Medina III was hanging out with the wrong crowd.
“They were smoking, drinking, sneaking out at night—got me into a lot of trouble when I was younger,” says the 17-year-old, who is tattooed with stretched ears. “And I knew that wasn’t for me, but that was basically all I had.”
Today, the 158-lb. Medina is a CrossFitter with a 210-lb. snatch and a 455-lb. deadlift.
“If you saw this kid just on the street, you wouldn’t look at him and say, ‘Oh, there’s a beast right there.’ But inside of that shell … there’s a CrossFit animal,” says Coach Nick Hobby, owner of CrossFit Excel in Manteca, Calif. “He’s the perfect example of how it’s not just for your athletes. It’s not just for someone who looks a certain way.”
Medina’s father, Johnny Medina II, says CrossFit not only keeps his son on the straight and narrow but also creates a bond between them.
“I just want him to do well,” says the elder Medina, fighting back tears. “It means a lot … him having this opportunity that I didn’t have when we grew up. It’s gonna be huge for his future.”