The unofficial start of the 2016 season begins the day after the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games concludes. Everything that happened over the past week is now part of the history of the Games and will be analyzed to death until the start of the Open next spring.
I had the privilege of again attending and working at the Games, and here are my thoughts on what to look forward to for the next go-around for July 2016 in Carson, California.
Youth Was Served
How impressive was the Teen division? We saw a historical performance by Sydney Sullivan from CrossFit Jenks in Oklahoma. After winning the Open in the 14- to 15-year-old Teenage Girls division, Sullivan went to the StubHub Center and kicked ass. She put together six consecutive 100-point wins to start off her CrossFit Games’ career. That feat has never been accomplished by any athlete at any level or division, Regionals or Games. Like four-time Games champion Rich Froning, and the newly crowned CrossFit Mayhem Freedom (2015 Affiliate Cup champions), the 14- to 15-year-old Teenage Boys division champion, Angelo DiCicco, is also from CrossFit Mayhem. This kid put on a display from start to finish, and I have a feeling that we’ll see more from both these young talents for years to come.
Rich Froning Doesn’t Lose
The last person to beat Rich Froning was … a rope in 2010. Everyone was intrigued by what would happen when our champion left the individual side to become a member of a team. The consensus was that Froning’s talent might not be matched by his teammates’ and they would do OK but that they wouldn’t be a contender for the top spot or even the podium. We were all very wrong. The ladies on CF Mayhem Freedom more than pulled their weight (literally in a few events) and not only did Freedom land on the podium, but they also landed right at the very top, becoming the Affiliate Cup champions for 2015.
It’s a Total Test
Dave Castro, director of the CrossFit Games, can’t win. If all the male and female athletes finished a minute under the proposed time cap in the final, everyone would have gotten on social media and complained about how it was “too easy.” Conversely, when the final was so difficult that a good deal of the athletes (especially on the women’s side) weren’t able to finish (mostly because of the infamous Pegboard portion), then they complained because it was too difficult. I thought the four-day event was a great overall test. The Pegboard might not have been fun to watch, but I promise you that there are athletes around the world flocking to high school gyms to take a crack at climbing one of those now.
Europeans Are for Real
I got to see these young talents in Denmark at the Meridian Regionals and they are talented, strong and, most important, very young. The ladies did well, taking two of three of the top places, and the young man Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson was impressive in all domains of fitness and consistent throughout the Games. Is there a trend in CrossFit that is tipping toward a more international top three year after year? Who will be the next American woman to win the Games? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, but in terms of the European athletes, I believe they are just getting started.
Although the usual suspects weren’t all sitting at the top of the leader board at the end of Sunday afternoon, I think the test of fitness was very well-done from start to finish. Some of the athletes pointed out that it’s difficult to plan for the unknown and that most of the time the athletes are prepping all year for what they saw last year. Because of that, new movements and odd objects can throw off the performance of ever the fittest on the planet.
What did you think about this year’s CrossFit Games? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Stay on the Grind, and Happy New Year!