Ingrid Kantola

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Heart Surgery Survivor

All-American Pole Vaulter

Pro CrossFit Athlete

Hometown: Sacramento, CA     

Colleges: UCLA & The University of Texas

Country: USA

Instagram: @ingridkantola

“I have nothing against having a scar on my chest, the more battle wounds the better, in my opinion.” – Ingrid

Before heart surgery accomplishments: NCAA All-American, Pac-10 Champion, & Olympic Trials Pole Vaulter at UCLA.

In 2010, Ingrid got a bacterial heart infection that destroyed one of her heart valves and caused blood to flow the wrong way. She was forced to have open heart surgery.

“For 8 weeks I couldn’t even use my upper body. At 9 weeks I went on my first jog, it REALLY hurt! Within 7 months I got my first muscle-up after surgery and thought, “OK…I think that’s it. I’m not the best athlete, but I’m an athlete again.” It was really, really hard to face my inabilities as I was coming back and I had a lot of days when I would cry in the gym. But I didn’t quit and I kept showing up, and no matter how miserable I was, I didn’t give myself the option to not attack the workout and to not keep going. That was the thing that kept pushing me, I knew I had goals to accomplish and I had to keep trying.”

After heart surgery accomplishments: 2011- 6th place CrossFit South Central Regional (1-year after surgery). 2012 & 2013– 5th place. 2014– 1st place at CrossFit South Central Regional with Team CrossFit Central. 2015– 5th place at CrossFit South Regional with Team CrossFit Jaakarhu. 2014 & 2015 National Pro Grid League Champions with DC Brawlers.

Ingrid’s Advice: Work hard and enjoy working hard. Enjoy the process and the tough workouts… just because they’re difficult, it doesn’t mean they’re not fun!

Instagram: @ingridkantola

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