Alexander Anasagasti, Spain’s number one CrossFit athlete, is heading to the CrossFit Games despite initially having his US visa denied. Three weeks ago, his application was rejected but he managed to arrange a meeting with the US embassy in Madrid the next day. He travelled from Northern Spain, but the meeting was fruitless.

The CrossFit Games is a fitness competition. Athletes from around the world compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth”. They are kept in the dark about the event details until the last minute. For all they know, they could have to run 10km, swim in open water or a pool, perform a one-rep max weight lifts or have a handstand walking race.

“A whole dream goes to sh*t,” he told fitness blog BoxRox. “I’ve been working a long time and, in the end, it turns out that you’ll be unable to go because of a bureaucratic problem.”

Anasagasti, 27, posted his predicament on social media and it went viral. Media outlets reached out to him and other helpful contacts too, which connected him with relevant officials so he was able to secure another meeting with the US embassy on Wednesday, July 24, and ultimately was able to travel to the US.

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The problem arose because last year, when Anasagasti travelled to the US to train, he applied for a tourist visa that was longer than the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form would allow him to stay. The disconnect meant his visa was rejected and the ESTA was revoked as a result. The sanction remained in place when he applied again this year.

“I cannot believe that everything has worked out and that the later this morning I will be travelling to Madison with a warm VISA in my pocket,” he posted on Instagram.

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The Spaniard started CrossFit at the age of 21. Up until that point, he had done weights and kick-boxing. He believes his strengths are hanging from the bar, like pull ups and muscle ups, and his weakness is strength exercises, according to Men’s Health. He aims to enjoy himself and he wants to finish in the top 50.