Ben's Top 10 Games Moments
10. Maya as Dave Castro's Assistant for the entire week.
9. Watching the Motocross half-time show from the VIP section with Bode, Heather and my Mom.
8. Froning wins the last three events outright to cement the three-peat.
7. Dave Castro wearing a "NO BULL" shirt - more on this later.
6. Kahlipa enters the Soccer Stadium first during the "Burden Run" to a standing ovation of 22,000 CrossFitters.
5. Becca moving up from 24th to 15th place during the second mile of the "Burden Run", and then moving from 15th to 6th place on the pig.
4. CFNE on the Podium (third time in four years).
3. Kevin and Rachel win the "Iditarod 1 Event".
2. Becca goes unbroken in the Handstand Walk of "Cinco 1"
- followed by no failed reps on "Cinco 2"
1. Bethany's tearful "Thank You" to me after winning the silver medal.
Ben's Favorite Events
Teams - Stadium Relay
Individual -Cinco #1
Teams - Stadium Relay
Individual - The Burden Run
As an Overall Test of Fitness
Teams - Squat Burpee
Individual - The Burden Run
Ben's .02 on The 2013 Programming
I loved the Games programming this year, both for the individuals and teams.
The teams were put through a legit test of fitness, and for the first time had a "WOW" event with the "Team Burden Run". We have yet to go off campus, but I love that there was a big test this year; over 2 miles of running, flipping hundreds 300-500 lbs a hundred yards, followed by a team log carry that punished the the teams that couldn't work together. How awesome!
The theme for the Teams this year was "Team Work". Castro kept sarcastically asking me, "So, still not team-work in the Team competition?" This year's test was the appropriate blend of fitness, team-work and team dynamics. Even in 2012 when every athlete competed in every event, strong team members could cover for weaker ones. Not this year. In 2012 there were seven single modality events, this year there was only the sled pulls, which were guys and girls working together in a test of "work" not specific skills. Love it!
The team that was the fittest, the team that could accomplish tasks together, and the team with the right chemistry on and off the field won. That is a great test.
On the individual side, the test was equally as legit. If I had to put a theme to it, I would call it "work". Every event, up until the final "Cinco's" were about getting work done. Not about skills, strength, or specialization, just a big test of "whatcha got?".
I think the beauty of this year's programming is going to be how the general public will be able to relate to the tests. When someone who has never done CrossFit watches a workout like the 2010 opening event "Amanda" they have a hard time relating to the difficulty of squat snatches and muscle ups on the rings. Very few people have every done a squat sntach, and even fewer have been on rings.
This years events, on the other hand, are very easy to relate to, and because of that, the level of athlete appears even more impressive. The pool event; swim a lap in the pool and get up and on top of a pull up bar, repeat 10x. Check, it get that, and wow that's impressive. Every event, from the rowing to the burden run to the zig-zag sprint were relatable, and together created a well-rounded test of fitness. Nothing fancy, just get work done.
That is until the final with the heavy loads (405 deads and 165 overhead lunges) and high skills (weighted pistols, handstand walks, muscle ups and deficit hspu). What a great way to compliment the "GPP" of the previous ten events.
My only critique on the individual side was the 200 points rewarded to a single modality; rowing. I think the big endurance events deserve more attention and points, like the 200 points in the Triathlon last year. However, the triathlon had 200 points spread over three disciplines (swim, bike, run). This year's big event had 200 points rewarded just to rowing. I think that creates a big and unjust advantage to the elite rowers in the field.
In my opinion the Team and Individual programming this year was the best we have seen to date. Every year becomes more spectator friendly and the tests become more daunting and well rounded.
Going forward, in terms of training for the Games, you can't guess what's going to come up. If Dave thinks you're thinking it, he won't do it. Another thing about Castro, many people think he doesn't want to make the Games Athletes look bad, so he won't program in things that expose our weaknesses. I remember athletes three years ago, saying there would never be a swim because it would make the Games Athletes look bad. Dave has no interest in "showcasing" the athletes like many think he does. Dave wants to shock the athletes, with what they haven't prepared for, in a balanced test of fitness.
My suggestion for training... get really fit and be ready for anything. A word to the wise; being ready for anything doesn't mean scrap your CrossFit training and start paddle boarding and running marathons. CrossFit is still the best program to garner the greatest general physical preparedness, while preparing you for the unknown and unknowable.
Castro wearing our "NO BULL, Just the Horns" shirt on the stadium floor.