Late last night I was catching up on the final heats from Regionals this weekend. I didn’t watch much of the coverage live, but watched nearly all of the final heats from all three Regionals.
Watching Khan Porter smoke the final event in the Pacific Regional to make it to the Games was awesome.
Nearly seeing EZ Muhammad do the same was almost as awesome…until he failed on his rope climb and sputtered to the finish and missed qualifying for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games. I mean, he was crushing it and that rope climb, where he is supposed to excel…ouch. He misses the Games by three points.
Brooke Ence didn’t really own any workout this weekend with only one finish in the top three. She did place fifth in three events, but also had a 12th and 27th place finish. Most would have considered her a sure-thing to qualify, but she fell short.
If Porter didn’t qualify that would have made three CrossFit personalities that are pretty popular on social media that wouldn’t have qualified. There are some athletes that put a lot – a LOT – of their life and their training on social media but when it comes to qualifying for the Games they can’t do it. Then there are athletes like Roy Gamboa who don’t post nearly as often that go out and crush it. Or maybe that’s just who I pay attention to?
Kara Webb absolutely destroyed her Regional. Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet nearly did, but showed some holes (wall balls, for example).
Josh Bridges showed that last year really fired him up. He dominated the California Regional. I think he was sort of on auto-pilot on Sunday because he knew he basically had first wrapped up. And with Bridges takes me to Dan Bailey. Dan Bailey didn’t qualify for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games. These two switched spots from the 2015 California Regional where Bailey won and Bridges finished on the outside looking in.
Every year there is a shocker, it seems. I’m pretty shocked that Ence didn’t qualify. I was shocked at how well Kristin Clever was doing after Saturday. I am sort of shocked that Tiffany Hendrickson didn’t fare better this weekend. Not so shocked that Molly Volmer didn’t push the top five.
But I am FLOORED that Dan Bailey didn’t qualify. The California Regional was stacked.
Not only did Bailey not make it, he finished well outside the top five, considering how close these Regionals have become. He finished seventh, not sixth. And he finished 21 points behind fifth place. 21 might not sound like a lot but Muhammad missed by three measly points. 21 is actually a pretty sizeable number. Jason Carroll who finished fifth was only five points out of qualifying. And Carroll went out and smoked the final event – something Bailey needed to do. When I saw Bailey slowing jogging back to the rig for his final rope climb I was floored. First of all, he was jogging, not sprinting, which was a shock because he needed to win that event or place in the top two or three spots. But when he crossed the finish line and a large portion of the guys in his heat were already there…floored.
But Bailey not qualifying is different than, say, Sam Briggs two years ago. Or Bridges last year. Two years ago Briggs didn’t qualify because she did poorly (albeit really poorly) on one event – the handstand walk. Otherwise she crushed but still missed. This year Bailey didn’t do particularly well in many events. He finished outside the top five in every event except one. He had a 10th place finish and two ninth place finishes, an eighth, a seventh, a sixth and a second place finish in event 4 (heavy deadlift event). While that isn’t bad…it’s not good either. If you finish outside the top five in six of the seven events you shouldn’t qualify for the Games. Comparatively Garrett Fisher who finished fourth had an event win and a second and a fourth place finish in the same Regional.
Did Bailey have an injury? An off weekend? Some unfair or untimely no-reps? We’ll never know. First, because CrossFit still doesn’t have the media support to inform it’s fans of details like this. CrossFit doesn’t have reporters who will ask the tough questions and snoop for this sort of information (just like you won’t find a simple injury report). And, second, because Bailey won’t look for any sort of excuse. He will most certainly take the high road and give his competitors their just due and move on.
When guys (or gals) of this caliber miss the Games you really wonder if they question what they are doing. Someone like Bailey who was a shoe in, or so most thought, doesn’t make it…does he wonder if he wants to go through another tough year of training to try to make it next year? I wonder if his sponsors have any say in that? Does he count on whatever little money he makes from Rogue or his other sponsors? Does he continue because of that? Or does he truly love the grind so much that he will do it again.
In any case, the Games this year will definitely be different without him. For the first time since 2010 no Dan Bailey. Bailey has finished fourth, 10th, eighth, sixth and sixth in the last five Games. Never finished outside the top 10 at the CrossFit Games and finished sixth or higher in three of the last five Games. And he isn’t one of the top five fittest men in California right now? I find that hard to believe, but I guess that’s so based on Dave Castro’s programming.
This is only week one! There are two more weeks of this where I am sure another big name or two will not qualify. Who might that be in the coming weeks?? I certainly cannot wait to see.