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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Quick Hits: Initial Games Reaction and Upcoming Schedule

Does anyone else go through a weird sense of withdrawal after the Games ends each year? After spending all spring analyzing the Open and Regionals, making predictions and finally attending the Games in person, it's bizarre to consider that we won't really start up another season for six more months. Sure, there will be follow-up videos posted on the Games site for the next few weeks, but eventually the coverage will dry up and we'll all be back in the grind of preparing for next season.

Hopefully, I can fill that void to a certain extent. My goal over the next few months is to break down the 2013 Games and Games season in depth, take a look back at the history and evolution of the Games from a statistical perspective, as well as delve into a few new topics related to training, programming and competition. First on the slate is a critical look at this year's Games, similar to what I did last year in my post "Were the Games Well-Programmed? (Part 1)." My goal is to put this together in the next week or two.

For today, I just wanted to get some quick reaction to the Games out there:

  • The thing that stuck out to me attending the Games in person the past two years is how well-organized and professional the whole event is. Considering this thing is just four years removed from being held on a ranch, it's amazing to see how efficiently things run today. Virtually every event got off on time, the judging was solid, there were no equipment problems, and from what I could tell, the televised product looked good as well. The ESPN2 broadcast certainly seemed to go over well.
  • It's also a blast being out there in person, and I'd recommend it to anyone who hasn't been. Sure, it can be a little draining to sit outside for 10-12 hours a day, but there is plenty to do outside of just watching the events, such as the vendor area, the workout demos, a wide food selection and of course some general people-watching. Many of the CrossFit "celebrities" we see on videos online all the time (plus more mainstream fitness celebrities like Bob Harper) are just hanging out in the crowd like everyone else.
  • As for the competition itself, I think we crowned the two deserving champions. 
    • Rich Froning proved again that he's simply the most well-rounded CrossFitter out there, and as usual, he seems to get better as the stage gets bigger. I'm starting to get the sense that he really looks at the big picture and maybe, just maybe, holds a little bit back early on to keep his body intact until the end. Remember, he didn't win any events until Sunday, where he won all three.
    • Sam Briggs was also the most well-rounded athlete, but she did have a few holes exposed. The zig-zag sprint and the clean and jerk ladder both made her look vulnerable, but she was so solid on the metcons that it didn't matter. I think if Annie Thorisdottir can return at full strength next year, it will be a real battle between those two. Annie clearly has a big strength edge, but I don't think she is at quite the same level as far as conditioning.
  • In my opinion, which I'll expand on in my next post, the test was probably the best all-around that we've had to date. It wasn't too grueling to the point where athletes were falling apart by the end of the weekend, but it was a legitimately challenging weekend. The events were nicely varied, and there were only one or two duds from a spectator perspective.
  • Although things got shaken up at first, the cream really rose to the top by the end of the weekend, particularly for the men. 
    • For the men, I had Froning at a 59% chance to win coming in, and all the men on the podium had at least a 34% chance of doing so according to my predictions. Of the top 10 finishers, 7 were in my top 10 coming in. Garrett Fisher (5th) was probably the biggest surprise on the men's side.
    • For the women, I had Sam Briggs as the favorite at 32% coming in, and I had Lindsey Valenzuela with 15% chance of reaching the podium. Valerie Voboril was a bit more of a surprise, but I still had her with an 8% chance of reaching the podium. Of the top 10 finishers, 4 were in my top 10 and 9 were in the top 21. The only big surprises near the top, based on the Open and Regionals, was Anna Tunnicliffe. I was, however, surprised that Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (16th) and Elizabeth Akinwale (10th) didn't finish higher.
That's it for now. I'll be back in a week or two with a more in-depth breakdown of this year's Games. Until then, good luck with your training!


  1. Watching the events, I kinda felt like it would have been an awesome Games for Julie Foucher. I think she might have beaten Annie had they been competing. Stuff just seemed well suited to Foucher, though I'm not going to attempt to quantify it like you do :)

    I really enjoy your analysis (analysees?)!

    1. Yeah it's tough to say how well Julie would do because we don't know what weaknesses she would have improved on in the past year, but obviously you'd expect her to do well on the longer stuff like the burden run and the Naughty Nancy, maybe the 2K row. But I'm not sure if she would have been near the top on some of the really heavy stuff (like Cinco 1 or the C&J ladder), and she very well may have done poorly on the zig-zag sprint, considering it was dominated mostly by former college athletes.

      Then again, she has been so well-rounded in the past that I bet she'd at least have been top 5 again this year. I won't attempt to quantify that right now either, because I think it would be awfully tough to do, but those are just some thoughts.

      Thanks for reading.