It was the day nobody in the CrossFit world, except maybe Dave Castro, was expecting!
After Monday’s surprise announcement that all individual athletes would be competing in an extra day of events, the 2012 CrossFIt Games got off to an unusual start, away from the Home Depot Center, and with no crowd, and minimal media.
Rather than beginning on the Friday, the event got underway two days earlier with what would be the longest event in Games history.
Most of us thought there may have been a water element included in the workout schedule this year, but few thought it would be as brutal as it was. The 700 meter swim, 8 kilometer bike ride and 11.3 kilometer run proved to be an absolute killer for the athletes, with many crossing the finish line in distressing states.
Numi Snaer Katrinarson from Iceland was the worst affected, with doctors advising him to withdraw from the event. Katrinarson, however, ignored the doctors orders and bravely competed for the remainder of the day.
There were may surprises during day one with many favourites getting off to bad starts, and some lesser names rising to the top of the leaderboards.
At the end of day one it wasn’t any former winner, or pre-games favourite in the lead, but rather an Australian competitor on the comeback trial.
Chad Mackay last competed at the Games back in 2010, where he finished in an impressive 12th spot overall. However, he missed out on competing last year, and was in danger of missing the Games again in 2012 after picking up a serious injury weeks before the Open. Mackay managed to overcome the pain barrier, winning the Australian Regionals in May and has now shown world he is a serious contender for the title of being the ‘fittest in the world’.
The 30 year old won the first event at Camp Pendleton, storming home in the run to beat former national swimmer Numi Snaer Katrinarson, who was in front after the first check point. Matt Chan, who was a former water polo player back in his day, exited the water in third spot, but struggled in the two other disciplines to finish in 17th spot overall. Kyle Kasperbauer rounded out the podium.
The event wasn’t great for any of the former champions, with Rich Froning (12th), Graham Holmberg (21st) and Jason Khalipa (31st) all failing to break into the top ten.
The second event, however, suited some of the big names a little bit more. The Camp Pendleton obstacle course required athletes to get through a series of hurdles, walls and parallel bars as quickly as possible.
Individuals were split into groups of fours with the first two athletes in each heat advancing to the semi finals. In the end it was 2011 champ Rich Froning, Spencer Hendel, Patrick Burke and Kenneth Leverich battling it out in the final, which was eventually won by Hendel, who now sits in 13th place overall.
Kasperbauer finished 8th in the event to move up to 2nd overall, Katrinarson slipped down to 3rd, while Froning sits in 5th spot.
There was only one casualty on day one, with Orlando Trejo’s dream of a podium finish shattered just seconds into the opening workout, with the South American injuring his ankle running into the water.
Just like the men, the females competition isn’t being led by a former champion, or runner-up. Crowd Favourite Julie Foucher is now the women to catch after impressive performances in the opening two events.
The 23 year old stormed home in the run to win the 700 meter swim, 8 kilometer bike ride and 11.3 kilometer swim, claiming the opening event at the CrossFit Games for a second year in a row. Christy Phillips came second overall with New Zealander Ruth Anderson Horrell rounding out the podium.
Last years champ Annie Thorisdottir (14th) and runner-up Kristan Clever (28th) both struggled in the event, although the pair stepped up in the Camp Pnldleton obstacle course.
Thorisdottir and Clever joined Talayna Fortunato and Jaime Gold in the final of the event, with Fortunato claiming victory. The win sees her move up to 3rd overall, while Thorissdottir is in 6th place, and Clever 15th overall.
Valley CrossFit girls Lindsey Valenzuela (22nd) and Rebecca Voigt (25th) are both evenly placed, while crowd favourite Annie Sakamoto is in 11th position.
The big disappointment was Azadeh Boroumand, who struggled in both events and now sits in 36th position, well behind the main contenders.
There were also a few withdrawals before the day, with Australian Danae Brown and North West competitor Allison King both failing to take part in the opening workout.
All individual athletes will now have a rest day, before going at it again on Friday at the Home Depot Center with the Teams and the Masters competitors.
You can check all the live leaderboards on the Games website by clicking here.