With all of the surprises that the Games have thrown our way in 2019, it only seems fitting to have just one more thrown into the mix. And, this year’s wildcard invite to Hunter McIntyre was just that. Whether you love it or hate it, this addition will add some excitement to the events in Madison- even if that excitement ends abruptly at the first event.
So, who is he? Hunter is an OCR champion that has been crowned as national champion four times, the world champion six times, and the undefeated champion at Broken Skull Ranch for three years. If that isn’t enough, he’s gone on to hold several victories at the Tough Mudder X.
His resume is solid. There’s no denying his tenacity and athleticism in the world of OCR and endurance sport.
But, will this kind of success translate into fittest on earth? And, the question that even more CrossFitters are asking: was this handout well-deserved despite him not technically earning a slot in the Games?
In an attempt to stir the pot, let’s remember one thing: CrossFit’s goal has always been to find the fittest on earth. So, why not extend that search outside of the sport’s standard field?
Hunter agreed in an interview with the Morning Chalk Up saying, “What you’ve done is you’ve basically created a closed pyramid that only allows a very select few people to fit into. And if you truly think that this incredible sport that you’ve designed creates the fittest athletes on earth, you need to bring in other people on earth. You need to bring in other people to challenge that title…let me in.”
Hunter got what he fervently petitioned for, being invited to the 2019 Games. Now, the question remains. Will he live up to the well-known smack talk he likes to throw out there? Or will he follow half the field home after the savage first event?
If the CrossFit open is any indication of how he’ll do, I think we can almost be certain that we won’t see him standing on a podium at the end of it all. Sure, McIntyre did a solid job. A job most couldn’t do. But, on a competitive scale, the numbers just aren’t there. He finished the open with an overall rank of 1,092. His best placement in the open was 113th in 19.1. His worst? 8,871st in 19.3.
To put things into perspective, we don’t see 4-digit placement numbers until about the 120th name listed on the leaderboard for any single event in the open.
With those stats, it’s a bit challenging to envision him standing at the top with Matt Fraser.
However, McIntyre does have his strengths. Plus with the surprises in the Games this year, indeed anything can happen. And, a lot of his success, or lack thereof, will ultimately come down to the programming of this year’s workouts.
Given his OCR career, McIntyre will outshine a lot of athletes in any event with a longer time frame. Anything over the 20-minute mark is going to work in his favor as an endurance athlete.
So, if Castro throws in a lot of swimming, distance biking, or trail running, McIntyre will earn some serious points.
Self-admittedly though, McIntyre struggles more in the heavier barbell events. Which, typically play a significant role in crowning the fittest on earth. Quicker barbell events and gymnastics workouts that require skilled movement will test his abilities. We saw the struggle in the open. His numbers went down significantly when things like strict HSPUs, double-unders, or heavier squat cleans were implemented.
To be clear, there is no denying that Hunter McIntyre is a specimen. How could he not be? He’s been training with some of CrossFit’s best including Tia-Clair Toomey, Matt Fraser, and Sara Sigmundsdotter. No doubt he’s been getting some of the best workouts, advice, and prep for the Games.
Ultimately though, we’ll have to wait and see. If anything else, CrossFit has continuously succeeded at keeping us on our toes this year. Whether you’re rooting for him, or desperately hoping to see him leave in event one, McIntyre’s presence at the Games is going to keep things interesting.
Although we predict his stamina will only get him so far in the competition, it’s hard to argue that CrossFit is no doubt doing all it can to draw in a broad spectrum of athletes and legitimize itself as a competition that truly crowns the fittest on earth.