At 22 years of age, Ben Smith has quite the CrossFit CV. Not only is Smith a Regional Champion and a four times Games competitor, he is also one of few people to stand on the podium on the final day of competition at the Home Depot Center.
After finishing third overall in 2011, the young man from the Mid Atlantic Region showed everyone in the CrossFit world he is a genuine contender for the title of being the ‘Fittest in the World’.
This year, after day one of competition, Smith sits in 8th place overall, perfectly placed to make another surge towards the top three.
John caught up Ben after the grueling first two events of the 2012 CrossFit Games, to find out some of his thoughts on the weekend ahead.
First off, what were your thoughts when you found out there would be an extra day of competition?
I thought it was pretty cool, something that they’ve never done before which you kind of expected at the Games. We thought they would do something crazy and this turned out to be it. I thought it would be a very challenging event for a lot of people, including myself, and I was just trying to get through it as good as I could.
And are you happy with how you went on Day one at Camp Pendleton?
I’m actually very happy with my performance. I didn’t know I was going to do that well in the run, I thought I was going to do better in the swim and the ride. That surprised me cos’ I wasn’t too good in 2009 when I ran the hills of Aromas, so I got a little bit better at running in the past couple of years I guess.
On the hills a lot of people were walking the hills and I managed to run and kind of do many intervals of runs and walks, and that worked well for me and I think. I caught about nine people on the run and that was surprising for me.
Tell us about what happened with your bike. We heard reports that your bike was stolen during the transition in Event 1?
Yeah, one of the other competitors that got out of the water just before me actually took my bike, and at the time I didn’t know who it was or if I was going crazy! I ended up looking through all the bikes, looking through all the woman’s bikes, through all the men’s bikes again. And then I called somebody over, Tony Budding, and he ended up giving me another one, so I wasted a lot of time there that I shouldn’t have.
How much time did you lose?
It was probably 2-3 minutes, I’m not sure exactly how long it was. But it was actually someone else’s bike and it was real short and it wasn’t the way I had it set up so it was a little uncomfortable. But it’s OK, I guess it’s unknown and unknowable. That’s why I’m pretty happy with my performance.
That was the longest event in CrossFit history, how do you feel now?
That’s the longest workout I’ve ever done. I’ve never run that far or done a workout that long, so it was a first for me. But it was pretty cool to be able to that on the scene of the CrossFit Games. But I actually had a big steak for dinner at Outbacks so I feel good right now.
What are you plans from now until Friday?
Get some good sleep, take a bath or two and maybe row a bit to loosen up the legs and get some blood flow, but apart from that, just kind of rest up and eat a lot and get myself ready for Friday.
After day one you’re sitting in 8th position. You’re obviously a good chance to get back on the podium, if not win the comp this year. Who do you think your main competitors are?
As you can see after the first few events, it’s anybody’s Games. There are 15 events throughout the weekend and you can see how one event can change the scoreboard, and it really can be anyone’s Games depending on what the to be announced events turn out to be.
You know, all the top 15 guys from last year are all competitive and I’m sure there’s a bunch of new guys, I’m not trying to hunt down anyone I’m just trying to do my best. I’m fighting the workouts, I’m not fighting the other competitors.
Finally, Chad Mackay from Australia is currently leading, what are your thoughts on him?
Yeah he’s killing it, he’s doing good. He’s been at the Games before and he’s improving every year clearly, he’s going to be a good competitor this year. I mean he’s strong so he’s going to do well on the clean ladder. I guess we’ll see, but I think he’s going to be a really good competitor this weekend.