BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — Former Western Illinois University men’s collegiate club water polo player Matt Chan has been through fire and needed to conquer Mount Olympus to claim the second season title on NBC’s “The Titan Games” hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Competing among a field of elite athletes in a series of intense athletic competitions, Chan rallied back to win the title and a $100,000 cash prize
Johnson noted about Chan and women’s champion Dani Speegle, “Matt and Dani have showcased exactly what it takes to become a Titan through their hard work, mental toughness and being the hardest workers in the room,” Dwayne Johnson said. “They have overcome incredible obstacles to make it here today, and their stories have inspired millions across the country during these challenging times. I’m very proud of our athletes and grateful to our audience for making this an incredible season.”
A 2000 Great Plains Division All-Conference Second Team selection, Chan was part of a WIU team which claimed the 1999 and 2000 division championships. During his final season in 2000, he helped the Leathernecks stop Washington University in St. Louis by a 10-9 score at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., to capture the program’s second of three consecutive Great Plains Division crowns.
Chan, 42, attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School prior to WIU. He is currently a Denver-area firefighter and CrossFit Games veteran who endured a long recovery after severely injuring his right leg on a mountain bike ride six years ago.
On July 4, 2014, during a bike ride with his wife on the Magnolia Trails in Colorado he had a bike accident in which he caught his handlebars inside his leg. The accident crushed and severed the right branch of his femoral artery. He bled internally and blood flow was blocked in his swollen leg for nearly an hour, which increased his chances of needing an amputation. Doctors said he would never walk again, but thanks to three emergency fasciotomies (a limb-saving procedure) and rehab, a motivated Chan worked even harder to get back into competition shape. One year after his accident, Chan started competing in fitness competitions again.
He applied for “The Titan Games” after watching the first season. Initially selected as an alternate player, Chan ended up competing because another athlete got injured and could not participate. He was the oldest Season 2 contestant.
He originally took up CrossFit in his late 20’s to help improve his endurance as a North Metro firefighter in Denver, Colorado. After four Top 10 finishes at the CrossFit Games (including the runner-up slot in 2012), Chan became a full-time athlete and one of the most popular and knowledgeable veterans in the sport.
Already 30 when he made his CrossFit Games debut in 2008, Chan has had to battle through injuries and out-work a growing field of younger challengers to maintain his drive for the podium. In 2013, despite nagging knee problems, he showed his heart and resolve by taking first place at a Regional competition for an incredible sixth straight year. Two years later, Matt’s return from injury at the 2015 Southwest Regionals produced a Top 10 finish.
In addition to working as a firefighter, he coaches at Train For the Win – a gym in Denver. A member of the CrossFit Trainer Staff, he works CrossFit Level 1 Courses, CrossFit Level 2 Courses, and CrossFit Competitors Courses. He also coaches competition-based classes at gyms in the Colorado front range. For more information about Train For the Win, CLICK HERE.