To Top

When CrossFit Meets the Olympics

2012 London Olympic Games

2012 London Olympic Games

The greatest sporting contest in the world has just begun. Yes, you heard me. The. Greatest.

While I was also glued to my laptop screen watching the feed from the Home Depot Center two weeks back, c’mon, this is the frickin’ Olympic Games!

CrossFit draws plenty of inspiration and methodology from other sports, especially the Olympics. So what about some quid pro quo? For all the WOD obsessives out in Rx land, here are a few ways the IOC could tweak the schedule over the next two weeks to combine London 2012 with the Sport of Fitness.

The 100m Sprint

Bigger does not always mean better, especially when it comes to the duration of an event. The greatest of all Olympic competitions is also the shortest – the 100m sprint is the focal point of the entire Games. CrossFit has its own contender – a little couplet of thrusters and pull-ups that can strike equal parts of fear and excitement into the hearts of even the most elite CrossFitters.
‘Olympic Fran’ would be the centrepiece of the CrossFit-skewed Olympics.

CrossFit Games: Team Fran

CrossFit Games: Team Fran

Currently sitting just below the 2-minute mark, just how quick could Fran’s 21-15-9 be done? Consider the 100m sprint. When Jesse Owens hit 10.2 seconds at the 1936 Berlin Games, the 10-second mark remained the Holy Grail in the four-yearly search for the fastest man alive. Jim Hines was the first man to break the barrier when he ran 9.95 at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Usain Bolt confirmed his own place in the history books when he went under 9.7 in Beijing.

This kind of one-upmanship would drive CrossFitters to race through the sport’s greatest Girl at ever-higher speeds. With the added pressure of billions around the world tuning in, it’s easy to imagine fire-breathers progressively shaving seconds off the world record time for ‘Olympic Fran’.

How low could it go? Is there a physical limit akin to the 10-second barrier? Post your comments below.

The Marathon

This longest, most gruelling of all the Olympics sports would also be the most nightmarish for the typical running-phobic CrossFitter. But our sport has its own equivalent. Book-end the 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats with a half-marathon on either side and you have ‘Marathon Murph’.

The beauty of pairing Murph and the marathon as the dominant endurance workout at the combined Olympics-CrossFit Games is that, along with the running leg to cash in and cash out, the rest of the exercises are bodyweight, so wouldn’t necessarily preclude the lithe and sinewy sportsmen associated with marathon greatness. While it’s hard to imagine Ethiopian distance legend Haile Gebrselassie powering through 200 push-ups without a new slant to his training, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.


2012 Regionals Snatch Ladder

2012 Regionals Snatch Ladder

Olympics already have weightlifting so to CrossFitterize it, the IOC could take inspiration from the 2012 Regional Snatch Ladder and add in double-unders. There’s already a comical aspect to enormous beefcakes in tight Lycra raising ridiculously heavy weights overhead (excluding the god-like Pyrros Dimas of course). The sport of weightlifting clearly gets the joke – anyone who gives their movements names like ‘snatch’ and ‘jerk’ doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

Watching these beefcakes drop the bar after the three beeps and start powering through DUs could only enhance the juxtaposition of humour and humungous.


Along with weightlifting, this is the other Olympic sport with the greatest crossover into the Sport of Fitness. Our redesign? Do the whole lot as usual, but in weight vest. And maybe a gas mask.

Weightlifting & Gymnastics

Olly lifts and gymnastics movements already constitute a big chunk of the CrossFit spectrum, so why not combine them at Olympic level? Imagine the chipper: start with the floor exercise, up onto the stage for a 1RM heavy clean and jerk, then uneven or parallel bars, heavy snatch, and finish up with the rings.

Watching a lifter from the women’s 75kg division attempt a Rhythmic Gymnastics routine would be a sight to behold.

Here’s a couple of suggestions that didn’t make the cut:


It is going to be hard to make the Erg as nail biting as the neck-and-neck battle that world-level rowing can be. It’s hard to imagine fans screaming at the alphanumeric display of a Concept 2. Rowing really has to be on the water, so perhaps there’s a way to fashion some kind of cable-powered engine attached to the flywheel and some floatation device rigged to the castor wheels.

Or just watch the rowing.

Hammer Throw

The GHD Ball Toss would make a perfect replacement… no, no, I can’t say it, I’m laughing too much.

Shot put

The softball throw could… OK, stop it now. Just stop it!

Those are my picks for a combined Olympics-CrossFit Games. Give us your ideas in the comments below.


Steven Kiernan is a magazine editor and runs the social media for the Australian CrossFit Region. He trains out of Inner West CrossFit in Sydney.

More in NEWS

The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.