For those that were awaiting the announcement of the most epic WOD when Dave Castro walked across the field in Madison, WI this morning, I’m sorry. But, for those that were hoping this workout would stay true to CrossFit’s core standards and highlight the athletes that genuinely deserve to be standing on these grounds, you got just that; A very well-rounded workout that hit everything.
It was safe to say that athletes couldn’t squeak through or hide behind anything in this workout.
Here’s a recap of the workout in case you missed it:
4 rounds for time of:
3 legless rope climbs
♀ 125 lb
♂ 185 lb
Knowing that half the field would be eliminated Thursday morning had most fans waiting with some nervous anticipation. But, it’s safe to say that the big names you know and love have made it through. And, not surprisingly. This event highlighted the athletes’ endurance capabilities, gymnastic skills, and power. Everything CrossFit stands for.
It was fitting to start heat one of event one with a fan favorite, CrossFit legend and wildcard invite Ben Smith. He led the pack from the start and took off on his second run with no other competitor within sight. Making it look easy despite coming off of a knee injury earlier this year, Smith took first in heat one with a time of 16:28:29. As the only athlete in his heat to finish the workout within the time cap, he had no one to chase or pace with – proving that the wildcard invitation went to the right man.
Everyone’s eyes were on the other wildcard invite, Hunter McIntyre, at the start of heat two. But, they didn’t stay there long. Not surprisingly, the OCR athlete took off on the run toward the head of the pack. Transitioning to the rope climb though, proved to be a struggle as he slowed down pace. Attention was turned to Will Moorad, the 30-year old U.S. representative who stood in first early on. Shortly after, we watched Australian James Newbury overtake him in the heat, ultimately setting a new time to beat at 16:21:19.
After heat two, only 14 men had finished the workout within the 20-minute time cap. With Mat Fraser in the final men’s heat, we certainly knew that number was about to change. Fraser led the pack early on (no surprise there). We watched Chandler Smith and Pat Vellner battle it out for a 2nd place finish. Vellner’s no rep struggle on the bar during his snatches sealed Smith’s overall 2nd place win for event one. Mat Fraser proved that seeing him crowned as fittest on earth for the fourth consecutive year is not a long shot. Crossing the finish line at 15:07:70 made that very clear and marked his 10th event win at the Games.
As for the women, they put on quite a show. We watched Erin Vandendriessche crush heat one, but still left the heat with no women to complete the event within the time cap. This didn’t change in heat two, but we did witness a savage performance by Laura Horvath, the Hungarian who placed 2nd in the Games last year. Despite her tenacity, she lost her lead to Bethany Shadburne.
Again, heats one and two were left unfinished by every female athlete. With Tia-Clair Toomey stepping onto the field for the final heat, we could almost be certain that this was about to change. And, it did. Not only did she complete the workout within the cap, she also dominated the field in true Toomey fashion. Letting the women behind her know what the tone was going to be for the next three days. Despite holding a strong lead, Toomey’s pace never let up. Her run looked smooth, almost looking like a break for her. She went into her legless rope climbs at a ridiculous speed. Toomey finished with time to spare, taking 1st in the event with a time of 16:56:63, followed by U.S. rep Karissa Pearce with a solid time of 18:16:35. Taking third was Jamie Greene, the New Zealand athlete, with a time of 19:00:67.
So, what can we take away from event one? For starters, our fear of athletes somehow squeaking through or pushing out the top tier athletes of CrossFit was eradicated. This event did it’s job, clearing the path of anyone that shouldn’t be here, all the while proving that the top contenders are still very much that.
If you were unclear on Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey’s fitness and ability to finish on top once again, I think you’ll have found your clarity. One thing’s for sure, things are about to get heated in Madison.