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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Back from the Dead with More 2015 Games Analysis

In late July, I caught a break at work that allowed me to watch the 2015 CrossFit Games nearly uninterrupted from Friday through Sunday.  I kept up with the CFG Analysis Games Pick 'Em daily and took to Twitter several times a day to converse with others about the action.  It was glorious.

The day after the Games ended, things turned around in a hurry.  Free time evaporated quickly, replaced by weekends and nights working just trying to keep up at work.  In past years, I typically like to post my thorough CrossFit Games recap within a few weeks of the end of the Games, but that just hasn't been possible this year.  But I have been able to chip away at a few different analyses, and I figure now is as good a time as any to post what I've found.  I know many of you have moved onto the Team Series (starting today!), but this post will focus on the individual 2015 Games season.

Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir and Ben Smith Deserved It

As I do most years, I looked at the results from this year's Games under a number of different scoring systems, and Davidsdottir and Smith wound up on top in all of them.  Here are the top 3 under the various systems I tested:
  • Classic Points-per-Place (low score wins)
    • Men - Smith, Fraser, Gudmundsson
    • Women - Davidsdottir, Toomey, Sigmundsdottir
  • 2012-2014 Games Scoring
    • Men - Smith, Fraser, Gudmundsson
    • Women - Davidsdottir, Sigmundsdottir, Briggs
  • Normal Distribution Points-per-Place
    • Men - Smith, Fraser, Gudmundsson
    • Women - Davidsdottir, Briggs, Sigmundsdottir
  • Standard Distribution System (not points-per-place)
    • Men - Smith, Fraser, Gudmundsson
    • Women - Davidsdottir, Briggs, Toomey
The top 3 men are actually identical under every scenario I looked into.  The only system I've seen proposed where Davidsdottir doesn't win is a system in which all the athletes who did not complete any reps on Pedal to the Metal 1 were given 0 points.  However, that's not really a system that makes much sense to me.  A more reasonable alternative for the events with large ties is to give all tied athletes the average ranking from that group, rather than the highest possible ranking.  In this case, that would mean giving Davidsdottir and the other 24 women with no reps a rank of 25th, which translates to 30 points, rather than the 54 they did receive.  This would drop her to 766 points, still above Tia-Clair Toomey's actual total of 750.  Keep in mind Toomey also would have lost 12 points under this system, putting her at 738.

Metcons at the Games Keep Getting Heavier

Since the Open began in 2011, the required weights at the Open and Regionals really haven't changed significantly.  Think about it: how many times have we seen 75-lb. snatches required for men in the Open? (answer: 4)  But at the Games, we've seen a steady trend of heavier and heavier metcons over the years.  In 2011, it would have been unreasonable to have 100-lb. dumbbell snatches required in a metcon.  Even something like Heavy D.T. (205/145) would have been a major stretch.

The chart below shows the average relative weight load at the Open, Regionals and Games since 2007.

The chart above does consider the 2014 Clean Speed Ladder and the 2015 Snatch Speed Ladder to be metcons, which I think is reasonable considering the weights are required and the athletes are expected to move the weights quickly.  If we exclude them, the pattern is generally the same, but it flattens out in 2013-2015.  Note that the levels are still well above pre-2013 levels.

2012 Regionals Still the "Heaviest" HQ Individual Competition Ever

Despite these increases in loading for metcons, the 2015 Games was still only the third "heaviest" competition in history, according to load-based emphasis on lifting (LBEL).  That's because the points for the 2015 Games were only 49% from lifting events, which is only slightly above the historical average.  This year's Games had an LBEL of 0.80, which is above the historical Games average of 0.67 but not an all-time high.  The 2014 Games were 55% lifting and therefore had a somewhat higher LBEL (0.89).  This is the highest all-time for the Games, but not among all HQ competitions.

The 2012 Regionals remain the gold standard as far as lifting-biased competitions.  The points at that competition were 67% from lifting events and the average load in metcons was 1.15, which is on par with the 2011 and 2012 Games and higher than the 2013 and 2015 Regionals.  The LBEL at that competition was a staggering 0.92, more than 34% higher than the historical Regional average (0.69).  It's still a minor miracle that Spealler was able to pull out a qualification spot.

Want to Win the Games?  Better Be Able to Run.

Despite having minimal emphasis at the Open and Regional level, we see yet again that running is a huge component at the CrossFit Games.  Running made up 16% of the total points this year, marking the third straight year with at least 11% of the points.  In every year since 2012, running has been one of the top 3 most valuable movements at the Games.

In contrast to what we saw at Regionals, where Olympic-Style Barbell Lifts and High Skill Gymnastics made up a ridiculous 81% of the points, they made up less than 40% of the total points at the Games.  Aside from running, we saw 30% of the points come from Uncommon CrossFit Movements, including swimming, paddle board, sandbag carry, pig flip, yoke carry, assault bike and peg board climb. 

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