Tension was in the air on the third day as the champ took the stadium floor for the midline march (3 rounds of 25 GHD situps, 50ft unbroken handstand walk, and then a 155# overhead lunge walk with the torque bar).
…At least I think it was, because I was standing in line to get into the tennis stadium to watch the final two wods of the day (more on this later). The lines were huge, and if you wanted good seats, well…you just had to stand in line with a gazillion other people.
When we were finally allowed into the stadium to reserve seats (after standing in line for literally over 3 hrs), we were greeted with the final heat of the midline march…on the jumbotron. Wah! Wah! Waaah!
Rich Froning took to the field and burned his way across. It would be the first of 3 first place finishes on the day (Rich won every single event on the last day of competition!). It was do or die time for him, with Mat Fraser racing to catch him all day long.
Though Ohlsen was first to his 2nd round on the march, Froning never relented from his pace and soon overtook the rookie. It became a game of endurance, as Froning took to the overhead lunges for the 2nd time. He was incredible. He destroyed the field with a blazing 5:25 time. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, it was quickly erased.
The women took to the field next (and yes, in true CrossFit style we had already trampled over people to secure our seats in the tennis stadium, so we were now back in the soccer field). Talayna Fortunato ran into trouble early as she “walked” out of her lane and had to start the handstand walk all over again. Her struggles continued as she picked up the 115# torque bar for the overhead lunge. She struggled, but refused to let that hamstring injury hold her back. Showing true heart, she pressed on even after the field was far, far ahead of her.
Becca Voight finished up her final handstand walk and overhead lunged her way to the finish line and a spot in the remaining competition. (After event 11, the competitor field is pared down and only the top 30 crossfitters advance to the next stage of competition in the tennis stadium.) As soon as she was finished she immediately went back to Alvarez, who was struggling on her 2nd round of handstand walk. Time ended, and with a big hug the two competitors made their way off the field.
In the 2nd round, Jackson made it to the very end of her handstand walk and fell just short of the line!!. She was forced to start all over. Though demoralizing, she refused to give up.
Akinwale led the field, with Bridgers right on her heels, er…palms, as would be the case. After Akinwale no-rep’d an overhead lunge, Bridgers was able to catch the leader and they were tied going into the final round. They were going neck and neck the whole way through. Bridgers beat Akinwale off the GHD, and then the race was on for the final round of overhead lunges. It would be Bridgers with a solid finish over Akinwale.
Big guns came out for the 3rd heat with Thorisdottir, Webb, and Leblanc-Bazinet lined up side by side. The race was on as they hopped on the GHD and a wave of pony tails were flip-flopping back and forth through the air as the ladies took to the sit-ups. Thorisdottir jumped out ahead and immediately went to the handstand walk. Camille picked up her pace on the lunges, but couldn’t catch the former champ.
Fisher came up from behind to take 2nd, but it was Thorisdottir who cruised through the 2nd handstand walk. Camille was fast on her walk and made up time. But Thorisdottir picked up the pace on the 2nd round of lunges. “Iceland” Annie was incredible. She would not let up. The girl was on a mission.
Lil Fish Laura Fisher tried hard to catch up, but Iceland Annie slipped right through her fingers. On the final handstand walk Annie looked flawless. And now she was on to the final lunges. She needs this win. And she got it. She worked and worked and lunged her way without taking a single break. She was amazing.
Lauren struggled to finish, getting no-rep’d on an overhead lunge, and Camille used the opportunity to pass the rookie. But with only 1 rep to go, Camille dropped the bar and Julie foucher snuck out of nowhere to take 2nd! Camille was concentrating so much on Lauren that she didn’t see Julie edging by her on her left. To end the round it would be Camille in 3rd and Fisher 4th.
As athletes entered the tennis stadium for the final 2 wods of the 2014 CrossFit Games, they were greeted with a rig set for rope climbs. It would be 6 rope climbs and then 3 over head squats. Then the athletes would return to their starting positions where they would be surprised with a final wod: Grace. But this is The Games, so they had to do DOUBLE Grace. (How was this a surprise, you wonder? Castro had all the athletes sequestered, taking away their phones before athletes would finish the games with the surprise, final event.
Cody Anderson took to the rope climb straight out of the gate and never looked back. He looked poised, powerful, and very “Spealler-like” (at his slight 160# he’s very reminiscent of a younger Chris Spealler). He would take this first heat easily.
Speaking of Spealler, he had a great showing in his last 2 Games WODs. It was nice to see the crowd cheer him on, as everyone knew this would be his last appearance as an individual games athlete. He made his way powerfully through both WODs, with the crowd cheering him on the entire time.
With just a few minutes of rest, the Double Grace “surprise” was announced and athletes had very little time (Castro would announce the surprise with only 30 seconds until “Go!” time) to compose themselves. Anderson struggled this time around, and had a very difficult time with the doubled rep count.
The 2nd heat began with athletes stretching their bodies out on the rope. Leverich tried to snatch his first overhead squat and missed. A costly mistake. Bailey got no repped twice. Maddox would take the heat and then Double Grace was announced.
All eyes were on Bailey, who is known for this workout. Working methodically, he pushed through the pain all the way to the finish platform. On his final set of 10 he knocked the reps out and crossed the line only to collapse from sheer exhaustion.
The girls took to the court for the next 2 heats and were off to the races. When it was time for Grace, Dani Horan nodded her head. But then Castro announced it would be double Grace…her mouth dropped open. Others could only shake their heads back and forth, I suspect muttering many a curse with Castro’s name in it somewhere.
Horan started strong, but began to fatigue. This final, 13th event of the games was killing everyone. Tunnicliffe passed Horan and started on her final set. She would take the heat and collapse to the stadium floor by the time she was finished.
The women’s 2nd heat commenced and the women slid up and down the rope. Jenn Jones took an early lead with Chyna Cho chasing her down.
On to the 165# OHS and Akinwale caught the pack. But it would be Jenn Jones for this heat, with Emily Carothers and Chyna Cho close behind.
As the ladies tried to compose themselves, they were asked to stand in front of the rig for Castro’s surprise. Akinwale was out to a quick, strong start. She went unbroken on her first round. Kinney moved up, caught and passed Akinwale. She never looked back and took the heat in style.
Chyna, in true CrossFit fashion, was right up there with the rest of them knocking out reps at a solid pace.
As the crowd waited for the final round of women and men to take the floor, DJs started spinning, the beats started dropping, and the crowd started moving. In typical Castro fashion, he got the crowd down to the court floor and had them dance off plenty of (not-so-paleo) beer calories for time!
The women’s final heat took the floor and got ready to battle it out on the ropes. Annie was ready, having moved into 2nd place after her blazing fast win in the midline march. She had Camille in her sights and was looking to take her down. Lauren made quick work of the rope and looked strong as she made her way up and down.
Julie Foucher jumped out to the lead on the rope climbs, but Annie was right behind her. Julie was first back up the rope as Annie trailed. With a size able lead Julie made it to the floor for the ohs, Annie was right next to her. Julie got 2 reps but dropped the bar on the last rep, giving Annie the opening she needed to take the heat, but she still fell short of Jenn Jones time.
Camille faltered after sustaining a few no reps and finished in 7th.
When double grace was announced, Camille looked to Annie as if to say, “WTH?!?” She didn’t have long to think because the event started almost immediately.
Lauren jumped out to an early lead. She looked solid in the midst of so many vets.
Annie caught Lauren and began to distance herself from the pack. She was “touch-n-going” her reps as she raced her way to the finishers platform. She took a breather at 36 but was soon back on it. Her strength and pace was amazing as she continued to touch n go her reps into the round of 40s. She completed the workout with smiles and waves for the crowd.
Camille stole the crowd’s heart when she was immediately announced as the fittest woman on earth.
Rounding out the top three were Annie (who made a great comeback during the games) and Julie Foucher in 3rd.
The final event was set with the men taking the field and preparing to race for glory, or shall we say in the shadow of Rich’s glory? As the men took the field, the crowd went crazy. All eyes were on Froning.
Froning climbed that rope like he was Spider-Man. And I’m talking Spider-Man in Beastmode! Khalipa, on the other hand, really struggled through his rope climbs and fell far behind the rest of the pack.
Bridges also found himself in a place of struggle on each of his OHS. The reps did not come easy, but he would not give up. Finally getting the reps in and clearing the field. And yes, that is an extremely painful squat face.
Froning made it to the OHS and cleared the field well before anyone else. It looked incredible, but they still weren’t done. The final Double Grace was to come, and the chase for glory was on. This year, unlike other years, Rich’s quest for the podium was anything but sure. Fraser was right behind him the entire day, having placed 2nd in the two earlier events. With a 1st place finish in Double Grace, Fraser would have surpassed Rich and finished 1st overall (even last year, with Rich’s slow start and climb back up the leaderboard, he was still well ahead of the pack going into the last day; this year was an entirely different story with the men’s top two places a tight race the entire day).
As Double Grace began, Rich and Fraser found themselves in the position of chasing down the big bear from NorCal, Jason Khalipa.
It was a back n forth struggle. Froning began to drive the pace, slowly separating themselves from the pack. Khalipa clawed back. But Froning wouldn’t give up. He fought hard and went out in style by taking 1st once again.
The Champ is, well…always gonna be The Champ. For 4th year in a row, the Fittest Man on Earth:
Rounding out the podium was Mat Fraser in 2nd and Jason Khalipa in 3rd.
The Crossfit Games were truly astounding. These athletes, all of them, are truly amazing. In fact, these Games were better than last year. People were amazed, inspired, and encouraged as well as encouraging. As The Games wrap up, I’m sure everyone has the same thing on their minds:
So when does the Open start?
I know I do…time to get ready:
(A special thanks to Annie Liang for taking many of the wonderful pictures used in the At The Games posts)