Well, that was quick! The excitement and buildup ahead of the 2014 Open was well worth the wait, as we were all put through our paces in 5 grueling workouts, with plenty of additional surprises for good measure. Yet, despite still having a faint taste of phlegm in my mouth from 14.5, I feel as if it was over too soon. Alas, all good things must come to an end! But not to worry, the Regionals start on May 9th, with the Games to follow July 25th. Until then, let’s breakdown how this year’s Open played out.
Firsts for the WODs
This was the first year that none of the workouts featured a triplet. In fact, we were treated to three couplets in a row before the chipper eventually came in 14.4. And, in 14.4, we were treated to another first, as the rower (a truly underrated piece of equipment in my opinion) made its inaugural debut. The big news ahead of the Open’s climatic workout was that five champions of the CrossFit Games would be competing at the live announcement in San Francisco. Not only was this the first time that more than two athletes would be competing head-to-head, but never before had we seen female athletes compete alongside men in an Open workout. That wasn’t the only unique aspect of 14.5, as Castro (in his uniquely overdramatic fashion) declared, “The clock? Save you it will not. You will do 168 reps, or you will quit in the process of trying. 14.5 is for time.” Amazingly, 14.5 was the first time we have had an Open workout that was scored for time—a great move by Castro and HQ. And, fittingly, the two reigning champions of the Games finished 1st and 2nd on the night, which brings me quite neatly to…
Rich and Sam’s winning ways continue
Fresh off a third consecutive victory at the CrossFit Games, Rich Froning Jr. held a consistent performance throughout the Open, winning 14.4 and never finishing outside of the top ten as he took a third consecutive Open victory. Samantha Briggs was dominant, winning 14.1, 14.4 and 14.5 on route to a first place finish in the Open. On this form, both Froning and Briggs look like early favorites to repeat in Carson-though a lot can happen before the Games roll around in late July.
Familiar faces at the top of the men’s leaderboard
Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Ben Smith. 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Sound familiar? Yes, the men on the podium at last years Games finished the Open in the exact same position. Coincidence? Perhaps, given that it’s so early in the CrossFit Games season, but when you see those names at the top of the leaderboard, again, one has to think that these are the three male athletes to look out for come the Games, and barring a major catastrophe/injury, it’s a good bet that these guys will be at or near the podium once more.
Women “win” the Open
CrossFit is fitness that is Open to all, and whilst men do have a proven advantage in terms of natural strength, the performance of female athletes during the Open show that the gap is not that great. In fact, 3 of the 5 Open workouts were won by a female athlete. This year, the female division is absolutely stacked, with big names returning from absences (including Annie Thorisdottir and Julie Foucher). If any of you may have been surprised by the amazing female performances in the Open—just wait till we get to the Games.
The CrossFit community represents
Personally, this was one of my favorite (if not, THE favorite) moments of the Open—because it wasn’t just one moment. Every Thursday evening when I would tune in for the Open WOD announcement, I loved seeing how the boxes (or arenas—14.5) would be absolutely packed with CrossFitters of all shapes and sizes-a perfect reflection of our sport. The one unifying factor was the noise—the cheers of excitement, yells of approval and roars of encouragement for the athletes. In New Orleans and San Francisco, we even had unified chants (granted, they were NFL based, but it was still pretty cool)! Even as our sport continues to experience exponential growth, the community continues to show that the future of the sport lies with us.