Below just represents my rambling views on this year’s games. As this post was written over several days my views may not have settled and may change as the games becomes a memory.
This years games felt completely different to 2011. Now maybe it was that I watched one online and was coaching at the other. Did I mention I had a coach’s pass at The Games? One athlete even commented on how it felt like nothing they’ve ever done before, and how they felt completely unprepared for the weekend. Another one expressed that during the rope/sled, it felt like she’d never done a metcon before. Remember, these are Games athletes saying this!
I think the season was too disparate from one stage to the next. In 2011, The Open built into a tougher Regionals, then into a tougher Games. There was a lot of “new” components brought in to the 2011 Games – swim, sled, bike – but overall it was very CrossFit. I’m defining CrossFit here as your traditional mix of barbells with bodyweight movements. The Open by and large, with the exception of biased scoring by your own affiliate and dodgy standards being upheld, was a good predictor of Regionals, and Regionals was a good test of who’d perform at The Games.
This year, it seemed like we’d grunt work capacity, then heavy as shit Regionals, then a durability test in The Games. It started with not just a triathlon, which was widely expected, but a rough terrain triathlon. After that, you’ve taken so much out of the athletes that it’s almost cruel to see them move throughout the weekend. (Once again, it’s amazing they performed the way they did. Puts in perspective when you’re a little beat up from a 20 minute metcon the day previous.)
Having said that, The Games were epicly awesome. The athletes tent was spacious, air conditioned, and for some reason didn’t have plain old water. You could get as much Vita Coco, FRS, and GNC protein drinks as you liked, but no water. Their hotel was also tricked out with a CrossFit gym, and even came with the standard waiver upon entry.
As for CrossFit as a sport, there’s still some questions. Is it better to keep the events secret, or reveal them ahead of time? Which makes the sport more “legit”? I’ve no problem with either approach. For Regionals, what difference is it if you go on week one or week five. Other sports have their qualifying events at various times leading up to the world championships, and everyone knows what the event entails. It doesn’t make it less exciting.
There’s speculation that by keeping the events secret, HQ can create events that favour a certain athlete, and change them as the weekend progresses. I don’t think that’s the case, and even if it was it wouldn’t guarantee that athlete victory over another. Games athletes are too well rounded at this stage that throwing in one movement who mean your favourite would win. I do have a fondness for the guessing game of what’s going to come next in CrossFit events.
HQ have their favourites (who doesn’t, really?) but there’s a bunch of guys that they’d have no problem winning. Julie Foucher would have been a HQ favourite to win for the ladies I’m sure. They’d most likely prefer an American, and Foucher is pretty marketable too.
Froning looks completely untouchable. And while you could pick a workout that some other top CrossFitter can beat him in, when the weekend is said and done, he’d still be on top.
The only way you could beat him is if you went elimination style, which might be something nice for a 32 man off season competition. Two to four athletes walk out onto the floor, not knowing which of 3 workouts they’ll be doing. It could be “Fran”, could be “Diane”, could be “Grace”. Workout is pulled out of a hat and then GO! Winner advances, losers are either knocked out or go through to a repechage. (I like that word, repechage.)
The organisers could have all the workouts announced for the different rounds, so you’re not repeating any workouts along the way. Be a fun addition to the sport I think.
For what it’s worth, I would have made my Games triathlon like this. Swim, then 5 minutes to establish a 1RM Snatch (Full squat/no fucking press outs), Bike, then 5 minutes to establish a 1RM Clean & Jerk (again, held to Olympic Standard), then Run. Score the tri out of 100 points, and the Oly total out of 100 points too. Or the Snatch equals 50, C&J equals 50.
The clean ladder I would have thrown out a shoulder to overhead double ladder. We’d already had pulling from the floor at Regionals and also we’d no heavy overhead at this year’s Games. Two reps at something you’d expect those lads to push press up to something ridiculous that no one could jerk for a double within thirty seconds or a minute.
In the unlikely event that Castro is reading, and if you use these ideas in future CFHQ events, I’d expect a t-shirt. I love free t-shirts.