2015 CrossFit Invitation Recap + Event Video

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January 5, 2016

Spoiler alert: If you don’t want to read details of the 2015 CrossFit Invitational before watching, scroll down to the bottom for a video of the entire event.

On Sunday night in a packed house inside the Caja Mágica, Team USA battled against the fittest athletes from Team Canada, Europe and the Pacific region as they successfully retained the CrossFit Invitational title.

With Rich Froning stepping in for the injured Ben Smith ahead of the competition, Team USA (Froning, Dan Bailey, Chyna Cho, Margaux Alvarez) was a clear contender to win the competition. But as the statistical favorites and home-town heroes, Team Europe (Katrin Davidsdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Jonne Koski, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson) were poised to challenge the US. Team Canada (Alex Vigneault, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Emily Abbott, Lucas Parker) and the Pacific (Kara Webb, Tia-Clair Toomey, Kevin Manuel, Ben Garard) also sported strong teams. Based on previous Invitationals, 2015 appeared to be the most competitive yet.

Event 1 featured a nasty couplet of thrusters and rope climbs. With one athlete working at a time, the teammates did 21-15-9 thrusters (95 / 65 lb.) and then 4-3-2 rope climbs (Female 1, Male 1) / 3-2-1 legless rope climbs (Female 2, Male 2). Toomey and Alvarez got off to a lightning fast start, but it was the second set of athletes who lit up the crowd. Cho, Abbott and Sigmundsdottir made the legless rope climbs look easy, but it was Cho who managed to give Froning a slight lead as he anchored the event for the US. Lucas Parker gave the CrossFit legend a fight right to the finish, but Froning was able to hang on, giving the US an early lead in the competition.

Standings after event 1:
1. USA – 12:25 (6 points)
2. Canada – 12:30 (4 points)
3. Europe – 12:47 (2 points)
4. Pacific – 13:09 (0 points)

Events 2 and 3 featured a new movement to CrossFit competition—Atlas stone cleans. Dave Castro (Director of the CrossFit Games) withheld specific details of the events when he briefed the athletes on Friday, simply stating that it would be a clean speed ladder. Knowing that Castro has a flair for the dramatic and unexpected, we should have expected something other than a barbell.

In two separate heats, the four pairs of women had to tackle five ‘cleans’ each of a 130lb. stone, moving it from the ground to the finishing position on their shoulders. They then advanced to complete three reps at the 145lb stone, before finishing with one rep of the 160lb. stone. The Pacific team edged out the Europeans in heat 1 with a time of 4:13, but it was Team Canada that posted the fastest time of 3:06 for the women, with Team USA just behind them in 2nd with a time of 3:09.

Event 2 Results
Canada – 3:06 – 3 points
USA – 3:09 – 2 points
Pacific – 4:13 – 1 point
Europe – 4:21 – 0 points

Standings after Event 2:
1. USA – 8 points
2. Canada – 7 points
3. Europe – 2 points
4. Pacific – 1 point

Three more points were available for event 3, which followed the same format as event 3, this time for the men. The stones moved up to 175lbs (5 reps each), 215lbs (3 reps each) and 250lbs (1 rep each). In what some might consider a surprise win, Gudmundsson and Koski were able to come from behind in their heat against the Pacific men to finish with a time of 3:42. That time would best Team USA (Cap +1) and Team Canada (4:58), giving Team Europe a precious event victory.

Event 3 Results
1. Europe – 3:42 (3 points)
2. Canada – 4:58 (2 points)
3. USA – CAP+1 (1 point)
4. Pacific – Cap+2 (0 points)

Standings after Event 3:
1T. USA – 9 points
2T. Canada – 9 points
3. Europe – 5 points
4. Pacific – 1 point

Next up was the chipper of event. Aptly named ‘Push, Lift, Flip,’ each athlete needed to complete 25 handstand push-ups while teammates held a handstand or hung from the bar. Following that, teams had to work their way through a series of snatches and cleans before flipping an 880lb tire to the finish line. Europe started brightly but faltered in the barbell movements, allowing the Pacific team to move into the lead and destroy the tire flip, winning the event by a significant margin.

Event 4 Results
1. Pacific – 7:31 (6 points)
2. USA – 7:56 (4 points)
3. Canada – 8:13 (2 points)
4. Europe – 9:51 (0 points)

Standings after Event 4:
1. USA – 13 points
2. Canada – 11 points
3. Pacific – 7 points
4. Europe – 5 points

With Team Europe mathematically out of contention and the Pacific team needing a crazy scenario to win, the battle for the championship came down to the Canadians and the Americans—just as it did at the 2014 Invitational. Event 5 was another mishmash of different movements and synchronization. First, teams had to complete a series of tandem bar and ring muscle-ups, before moving on to paired rowing and static deadlift holds. Following that, the men and women (still in pairs) performed a 1,000m ride on the assault bike while their partners held a barbell in the front rack position. Finally, as a team, the athletes performed a series of worm thrusters and worm ground-to-shoulders.

All four teams were neck and neck leading into the row/deadlift hold, but Team USA came off the ergs with a slight lead—which is all they needed to bring home the event win. With Froning’s experience in the worm at last year’s Invitational, the Americans moved at a steady, controlled pace, pausing at the top of each thruster while other teams were stringing reps together in an attempt to catch up. That strategy proved to be decisive, even as the Americans began to falter in their final few reps, their lead was significant enough to allow them to drop the worm, rest, gather themselves and hit the final few reps, crossing the line once more as CrossFit Invitational champions.

Event 5 Results
1. USA – 13:52 – 7 points
2. Pacific – 14:46 – 5 points
3. Canada – 14:53 – 3 points
4. Europe – 15:48 – 1 point

Final Standings
1. USA – 20 points
2. Canada – 14 points
3. Pacific – 12 points
4. Europe – 6 points

About Damect Dominguez

Co-founder of BoxLife Magazine. Author: Training Day: 400+ Workouts to Incorporate in Your Training.

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