My thoughts of the 2016 CrossFit Games

First, let me get out of the way how stupid I am. Here were my predictions before the Games started:

Women (my picks)
First: Kara Webb
Second: Emily Bridgers
Third: Sam Briggs
Fourth: Sara Sigmundsdottir
Fifth: Margaux Alvarez

Women (actual finish)
First: Katrin Davidsdottir
Second: Tia Toomey
Third: Sigmundsdottir
Fourth: Briggs
Fifth: Kari Pearce

I didn’t pick the winner or 2nd place. I did however get 3rd and 4th place correct, just in the wrong order. Bridgers and Alvarez were far off of the pace: Bridgers finished in 29th place and Alvarez in 22nd. I wonder what happened to Bridgers? She looked unstoppable after Regionals in 2015, but hasn’t shown much since (24th at the Games in 2015). Alvarez fell off a bit this year. Last year she finished in the top 10. I wonder if her move to Montana to be with her grandmother took away just enough attention to cause her to slip.

As for the winner, Davidsdottir, I guess I am not still a big believer. However, hard to argue with back-to-back wins. Not sure why I don’t believe. I guess I am blind. And 2nd place finished Toomey proved that last year wasn’t a fluke, too.

Men (my picks)
First: Mat Fraser
Second: Ben Smith
Third: Josh Bridges
Fourth: Scott Panchik
Fifth: Jacob Heppner

Men (actual finish)
First: Fraser
Second: Smith
Third: Patrick Vellner
Fourth: Brent Fikowski
Fifth: Cole Sager

I would be proud of picking the top 2….but I figure everyone picked those 2 to finish 1st and 2nd. Looking back I should have seen Fikowski coming as much as he dominated his Regional. And Sager is the same for me as Davidsdottir. I just don’t see it – I’m blind. He barely sneaks into the Games each of the past two seasons….just doesn’t feel like he should be the fifth Fittest Guy in the World after he barely got fifth place in his Regional each of the past two years.

Teams (my picks)
First: Mayhem Freedom
Second: Invictus
Third: CrossFit Overtake
Fourth: Dynamix
Fifth: CrossFit Fort Vancouver

Teams (actual finish)
First: Mayhem
Second: 12 Labours
Third: Yas
Fourth: Dynamix
Fifth: OC3

Big surprise, Mayhem won. And I’m sick of hearing the team events being referred to as the worlds fittest box. I know Lindy Barber doesn’t live in Cookeville, does James Hobart live down there? Or does he still call the Boston area home? Dynamix was a group of 6 athletes who lived in New York (or somewhere in the upper northeast) for a year and as far as I can tell they will all go back home now.

I have said it before and I will say it again – just let anyone compete on a team. Stop with the stupid requirements for x number of days working out in the gym with your team to qualify. Or, better yet, have a “super teams” category that doesn’t include any requirements as to where people workout and a real “teams” category that keeps the original intent in place: finding the fittest box.

Let Jason Khalipa form a team with Briggs and Michelle Letendre who are both retiring from individual competition and let them challenge Mayhem next year with a few of their friends. Who cares if they live in different countries? Leave the real “team” competition to gyms like Invictus and Fort Vancouver who legitimately have 6 members who all truly live in that area and train at that gym – not people who come in for a few days a week to get a few workouts in and then travel a few hundred miles back home.

Other thoughts from the Games

Reporting got better, but still needs work

Last year athletes were getting hurt right and left and nowhere could you find out what was injured. I had to dig and dig on the athletes social media pages to figure out why they dropped out. This year that got better. Although there weren’t as many injuries as last year, but at least you heard what happened to Alethea Boon, for example. I didn’t hear, however, what was wrong with Sam Dancer until he posted something on his social media.

The CrossFit Games needs to have an injury section on their main page. A place where people can go and see who is hurt, what is hurt and how they got hurt. If someone was to go on the DL in baseball you can bet you can easily find out why. If CrossFit wants to be a true sport they need to open the curtains all the way.

How hard were these Games

On Tuesday Dave Castro made it sound like this was going to be the toughest Games ever. I don’t think it was. I think last year was worse. Or even the year at Camp Pendleton.

The 7k trail run was hard, but other than Jen Smith re-injuring her plantar faciatis no one was injured and many recovered really quickly to turn around and deadlift a ton of weight. The sprint chipper that same day wasn’t terribly taxing, either.

The 500m swim was nothing more than a really, really slow and easy “active rest day” for the majority of the athletes. So while they kept saying that the 2016 Games was a five day event, that one day wasn’t really a day of working out for these guys and gals.

Murph got easier (earlier in the day and partitioned) and the double DT was certainly easier on the athletes than heavy DT.

Overall the volume seemed to be less and the workouts easier. I don’t think it was the toughest Games ever.

They should have done all of the 2006 events on Day 1 in Aromas – that would have been a good start to the toughest Games ever.

Dave Castro’s hair

Get rid of the corn rows. That was terrible.

Love the fast events

The sprint events are by far the best to watch. The Clean Pyramid, 100%, handstand walk, suicide sprint and plow pull were really fun to watch. I also enjoyed Murph and I think the mini chipper at the Ranch would have been more fun to watch with better camera/reporting. But the rest was fairly boring. The Rope Chipper was boring, save a few dramatic sled pulls, and The Separator was terrible. The judging on the strict ring handstand push ups was terrible – albeit, almost impossible to judge. Watching Fraser get no-repped was mind boggling. But, I would have HATED to be a judge in that event. Far worse than the standards for the strict muscle ups at Regionals.

Day 1 at Aromas

I personally didn’t mind the Facebook Live stuff the first two days. I thought it was kind of cool. I also think there isn’t any reason why they couldn’t have had a basic crew there ready to do real camera work and reporting. I understand logistics would have been pretty rough, but they could have made it work.

The behind the scenes stuff the morning before they flew to Aromas was pretty cool. I have never been so intrigued to watch a bus full of people drive to the airport. I was GLUED to my computer that day to see what was in store and the Facebook Live stuff sort of made it feel like you were right there with them.

Not much CrossFit

I feel like there wasn’t a lot of “classic” CrossFit at the Games. I know, that’s what the Games is – odd objects and a lot of stuff people don’t train for. But I would have loved to see guys and gals who excel at CrossFit get a better chance to shine.

I don’t know… I suppose it is all “CrossFit”, but the snail, separator, swimming, handstand walk, plow and even redemption just didn’t feel like “CrossFit”. Call me stupid.

The future

No more Briggs in CrossFit? What??!! No more Letendre?? Who else has officially stated that they are retiring? Did anyone see anyone else post to their social media that they are done competing? I saw quite a few state that they will be back and trying for 2017 including Becca Voigt and Alvarez. I know Fraser and Smith will be back. I haven’t heard much out of Josh Bridges, but I suppose you don’t normally hear much from him on social media. Will Barber be a part of Mayhem again next year? Will Hobart?

There are a lot of questions that will be answered very soon and others we might need to wait to hear one way or the other.

In any case, I will be watching in 2017!!


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