It was more than Libby’s performance turning heads. Libby’s beauty and fashion choices were starting a buzz, and she was on the verge of gaining a much larger audience. The 2010 Games were attended by thousands of spectators, and Reebok took notice. In September of 2010, Reebok became the official sponsor of the CrossFit Games. Reebok must have noticed Libby’s potential as a trendsetter as well, because in early 2011, Libby became an endorsed and sponsored Reebok athlete (Kratochwill). Other endorsements with Gaspari Nutrition, Atlas Power Wraps, and various other companies followed (Hinds). Her beauty and fit body made her a perfect ambassador for fitness companies as well as the CrossFit brand.
When asked about Libby’s impact on the CrossFit community, Addi Kahrs, a CrossFit Omaha coach and teammate, credits Libby’s attire at those early games to impacting the current fashion choices of women in CrossFit boxes around the world: “Of course in 2008, sports bra and booty shorts, there was that! She wasn’t the only one but she was the one everyone noticed” (Kahrs). Libby’s image in her shorts was splashed around the internet long before most people knew CrossFit existed.
Along with the benefits of her success came some disadvantages; she became the target of both admiration and criticism on social media networks. Criticism of the sport and female CrossFitters arose, with some saying the female athletes look manly or disgusting because of their muscles. But when asked if she has ever been insulted about her muscular appearance, Libby says with a laugh, “Not to my face. That is what social media is for” (L. DiBiase).
Mike Kratochwill, Reebok’s Head of Training Partner Marketing, says Libby was a natural choice as one of Reebok’s CrossFit endorsed athletes because she is so photogenic and has such an accessible personality. He sees her as one of the early adopters of CrossFit, who took a risk and jumped into the movement, helping to grow it from where it was in 2008 to where it is now (Kratochwill). Libby’s all-American good looks make her an ideal representative for companies looking for CrossFit athletes to represent them. Her petite frame, blonde hair, large blue eyes, and genuine smile seem made for advertising, but more importantly, she has worked hard in the gym to improve performance, which in turn has resulted in her muscular build. This is the paradigm shift CrossFit and its highly visible adherents like Libby are creating in the world of fitness: “In the past it was about looking good; now it’s about performing well and feeling good, and the looks are secondary” (Kratochwill).
Libby and other CrossFit athletes are working toward goals in the gym, rather than goals in the mirror, focusing on gains rather than losses. Libby’s beauty helps place her in the crossroads, allowing her to act as a bridge between the so-called ideal female body in the entertainment and fashion industry and the muscular body most elite CrossFit athletes have. Publishers of online women’s fitness magazines such as Hardbody News, Strong Fitness Magazine, and Intense Fitness have taken notice as well, featuring Libby multiple times over the past six years. “She may not clear 5’4”, but the young mom from Omaha is a rock-solid, steak-eating, clean-and-jerking machine” (Braz).
Libby’s athletic appeal can also be seen in the multiple Reebok ads she appears in, promoting their CrossFit line. “The Reebok Life” is a short clip created by Reebok in which