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2012 Reebok CrossFit Games Individual Events – A Spectators Perspective

Elisabeth Akinwale 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

Elisabeth Akinwale a crowd favorite at the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

The 2012 CrossFit Games saw the introduction of a fourth day of competition as well as some unique movements never before seen in the history of the Games. Being a spectator at the Games puts the Sport of CrossFit in a new light, particularly witnessing the almost super-human abilities of the competitors. It also allowed me to critique the events as both a spectator at the live and live stream level. There were some definite winners and losers; below are three of the best and worst.

The Bad

1. Ball Toss: Sitting in the GHD, athletes will throw as many medicine balls as far as possible

I didn’t get it. It’s like HQ forgot to add the GHD in the events so they decided create an event for it. Good to watch? No. Will we see it at the Games again? I hope not. Rogue specially made 2 and 4 pound medicine balls for this event. I wonder who got those in the sale of used medicine balls afterward.

Rich Froning 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

Rich Froning during the Sled Drive

2. Rope-Sled: Five rounds for time of: 20 foot Rope climb, 1 ascent, 20 yard Sled drive. The athletes will drive the padded sled 100 yards in 20-yard increments

I watched this event at the field. The sled drive looked brutal, and the 20’ rope climb was impressive to watch from the other end of the field. However as a spectator it lacked the excitement of other events. The sprint prior was far more exciting. Unfortunately the most exciting part of this event was Neal Maddox being no-repped twice on the rope climb.

3. The Final: Elizabeth/Isabel/Fran

Really, this is the final event? Don’t get me wrong, I was in awe as the competitors threw down crazy times (after 4 days of competition) which the majority of individuals couldn’t do on their best day.  But to have heats of three WODs was more like a fire cracker which fizzled out.

Take a step back to one year ago and the 2011 final event named ‘The End’: a 3min, 6min and ‘for time’ chipper which pushed every competitor to the brink of exhaustion, the crowd on their feet willing everyone to pull that sled that little bit further.

‘The End’ outshines the Elizabeth/Isabel/Fran final by far. The saviour of this event however was probably the most dramatic showdown in the history of the Games between Kris Clever and Talayna Fortunato for a place on the podium. Their Fran-off will go down in Games history as one of the best head-to-head competitions ever.

Rich Froning and Matt Chan 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

Rich Froning and Matt Chan battle it out

The Good

1. O-Course: Complete Camp Pendleton School of Infantry Obstacle Course. Athletes will race against each other head to head in a 3-round bracketed tournament

Although this event wasn’t made available to spectators as it was at The US Marines Camp Pendleton, the inclusion of this event was a great addition. It tested speed, strength and agility all without the use of Rogue equipment (!). Did I mention that it was after a 700m swim, 8km bike ride and an 11km run? Well done HQ for its inclusion. Will it be the GoRuck Challenge or Tough Mudder next year?

Annie Sakamoto 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

Annie Sakamoto 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

2. Clean Ladder: 1-rep Clean every 30 seconds with progressively heavier barbells

Having the Snatch ladder at Regionals and it being such a popular event HQ embraced its popularity and threw it in for our enjoyment again. The difference being that the time limit was halved to 30 seconds which made multiple attempts almost impossible. Being in the stands willing the barbells up was a true joy to be part of; I’m talking goose-bump material. Only two athletes completed the ladder: Lindsey Valenzuela and Elizabeth Akinwale both of whom are Outlaw Athletes. Throw a couple of deadlifts in there for good measure Elizabeth and Lindsey. Hat’s off to Rudy Nielsen.

Julie Foucher 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games

Julie Foucher during Double Banger

3. Double Banger:  For time: 50 Double-unders, Low banger, 50 Double-unders, Down banger, 50 Double-unders, Mid banger

The Double Banger WOD was the highlight of the weekend. The Double Banger implemented the GPP (General Physical Preparedness) principle whilst piggybacking on the Fire Fighting skills that some competitors the number 1 & 2 Fittest Men in the World have. When Dave Castro explained the WOD with a demonstration from Jason MacDonald the crowd went wild, and that was for the DEMO! One word can explain it: badass. I want to go and get my sledge hammer and hit some shit. Please HQ, more of this next year.

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  • Another reason that Med Ball toss was bad is the fact that members of my gym have started trying it with 10 pound Med Balls.  Injury stories to follow.  

  • I was also REALLY hoping they would bust out the Rogue Warhammers for the double banger.  

  • Philip

    Next year, Ninja warrior style course!

  • Agree Cookie – THe ball toss was impossible to enjoy as a spectator!

  • Thanks for the insight. I’m just wondering how the O-course could be ‘Good’ from the spectators point of view even though spectators weren’t able to watch it.  I do agree that it was a good inclusion in the games.

    • Daniel Cook

      Hey Matt,
      The O-Course was available on the Live Stream. Agreed it’s not as good as being there but the challenge that the event presented (and viewing of it on the live stream) exceeded that of other events even if we weren’t there in person.

      • Ok Daniel, I didn’t know about the live stream. 

      • Dave Secondino

         Uh, that was live “radio” stream.  Not exactly spectator friendly.

  • Its so hard to judge the events at times.

    The O-Course I liked and at the same time disliked.

    Sucked that specators couldn’t be there but ah well, wicked event to include.

    I did sort of like the fact that the best of the best threw down Fran but at the same time its almost a cop out. Would have loved to see and final WOD like last years games.

    Always next year. Great write up.

  • Steven Kiernan

    I liked ‘The Girls’ as the Team final, except for one major criticism – why did they end with Karen? 

    Like you pointed out, Cookie, that photo finish Fran between Clever and Fortunato in the women’s final was a real nail-biting moment. For the exact opposite reason, watching Hack’s Pack start the wall balls about, what, 40 or so reps before anyone else meant the result was decided long before the event finished. Tension evaporated. (Although I think Tommy Hackenbruck did all 150 reps unbroken, which is pretty crazy)

    The team ‘Girls’ should’ve finished with Fran, Elizabeth or Diane, where the lead could’ve change hands up to the final movement. 

    Diane could’ve shaken things up. Fatigue on the HSPUs on that Friday night event really hurt Foucher and Khalipa

    • Steven Kiernan

      Just checked – actually 111 wall ball shots unbroken.

  • JaisenGray

    I think last year was a cop out because you didn’t have to push yourself on all of the final events. I didn’t like watching Par Barber barely try, then bust his ass on the last workout.

    This method made the competitors work hard the entire time. That made it more interesting.

  • Nels

    Would have loved to see it live. Maybe next year…


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