Because I know the four people who have looked at my blog in the past month care what I think, here are my random thoughts about the CrossFit Games this year. (Not all are related to actual fitness.)
- Seeing Dave Castro wearing a Miranda Oldroyd t-shirt/jersey when announcing the final events this year rubs me wrong. For a “sport” that says that it is unkown and unknowable this, to me, screams the possibility that some athletes may know what the workouts will be prior to everyone else. There are rumors on various sites that claim they have definitive evidence and/or knowledge that some athletes know what the Open, Regional or Games events will be prior to everyone else. That isn’t fair.
- And speaking of this, some of the judges are Level 1 CrossFit instructors. What is wrong with that? Many of the athletes competing are also Level 1 CrossFit instructors. They spend weekends together, travel together and spend quite a bit of time together. Wouldn’t it seem somewhat plausible that these judges might look the other way or give the benefit of the doubt if they are judging someone they work with 10 or 12 (or more) weekends a year? Someone they know really well and like.
- I don’t like the scoring. I think it needs a complete overhaul. Why is the scoring at the Games different than Regionals or the Open? Make it the same.
I really, really want more information about the athletes. I want to know how each athlete is doing during every event. Instead of showing the top three or four athletes or teams along a ticker on top of the screen, list all of the athletes in a slight smaller font in one of the corners of the screen. More like they do during coverage of an auto race. During the muscle-up biathlon I really wanted to know who was running the extra laps and watch more than just the top two in each heat.
- Injury updates: I want them. Maybe CrossFit is scared that if it announces who is hurt, how they got hurt and how it will impact them it will brighten the light that already is on CrossFit and the perceived injury problem, but who didn’t want more info watching the Triple 3 event? What really happened to Anna Tunnicliffe at the end? Who snipered Tiffany Hendrickson? And why was Rich Froning having so much trouble? And speaking of problems, what was up with Lucas Parker? Had to be an injury of some sort, or illness. When Kara Webb was walking around grimacing and holding her back during the Mid-Line March: what happened?! Did the improper use of a GHD have something to do with her back? There is so much more in-depth reporting that could be done during the games. So much more reporting in articles or other media that would be so nice. Now that these athletes are being paid large sums of money and getting sponsorships I want to know why they are not meeting expectations. I want to know why Parker finished almost every event, seemingly, in dead last. He had videos weekly leading up to the Games outlining his training, why didn’t he perform better?
- The Speed Clean ladder had to be a result of the NPGL, right? Clean as much weight as possible in very little time – that’s right out of the NPGL playbook. But, who cares? That was so much fun to watch. Which is why it really sucked that ESPN didn’t show the preliminary heats. I would have much rather watched the prelims than watched a recap of everything I had already seen. Sure ESPN and CrossFit was trying to cater to those who hadn’t spent too much time watching the Games online on ESPN3, but for those of us who had we should have an online option to watch the prelims since they weren’t aired on TV.
- In fact, I think the Speed Clean Ladder was the only event that had me on the edge of my seat. The Sprint Sled Push races were OK, but the Clean Ladder was the best. And outside of those two I don’t think either really was all that intense for the spectator. The Muscle-Up Biathlon was fun to see who would drop off, or if they would, but not intense (watching Dan Bailey hang on the rings and watching his brain try to decide if it was better to somehow rest while hanging or go for another 200m was fun).
- I couldn’t help but question Castro when he announced that CLB was the Fittest Women on Earth – not without Sam Briggs in the competition. Briggs might have struggled with the Mid-Line March, but she would have dominated a lot of those workouts.
- And did you notice how a lot of those events didn’t really have a “CrossFit feel”? The Triple 3, all the odd object pushing, carrying and pulling? Sure, these are technically “CrossFit”, but there was a lot of emphasis on the odd object stuff this year. Once Annie Thorisdottir and Froning got a hold of a barbell they both took off. CLB was one more a-typical CrossFit workout away from losing the title to Thorisdottir.
- Lastly, and maybe I am just getting more jaded the longer I follow CrossFit, but calling these guys/gals the Fittest on Earth seems a bit over the top, no? I understand that the competition is open to anyone willing to participate – anyone can signup for the Open and try to make the Games, but there are a lot of really, really fit people who choose not to participate because they make millions using their super-fit bodies in their sport of choice. But, I guess that is what it is. I always say that the US would dominate in soccer if its top athletes chose to play soccer instead of football or basketball. I guess the same can be said about CrossFit – if Terrell Owens and his freakish body and fitness had chosen to focus on CrossFit instead of football would he have won multiple times? What about Calvin Johnson or Adrian Peterson or Charles Woodson (he can bench 500 pounds!)? I can’t wait for the day that a really highly rated football prospect doesn’t make it in the NFL and immediately turns his attention to CrossFit.
All in all it was a fun weekend of watching. Those who competed are freaks. To be able to compete in endurance events like the Triple 3’s and complete that in less than 50 minutes while also being able to overhead squat double their body weight is a testament to what CrossFit can and will do for someone. It continues to show that you can be really good at “cardio” events while being really, really strong.