CrossFit Invictus, the 2014 Affiliate Cup champions, enters the 2015 Games with a different squad that qualified from the California Regional last month (and they’re not the only team to do this). If you watched the start of the Team competition on Wednesday, you may have spotted a familiar face sporting the Invictus uniform—Lauren Fisher. Both Fisher and Rasmus Andersen (who was a member of the winning Invictus team last year) elected to compete as Individuals at the California Regionals, while CrossFit Invictus sent this squad to secure qualification for the Games:
CrossFit Invictus Regional Roster
One male and one female athlete are selected as alternates.
While Team Invictus finished 4th at the Califronia Regional and qualified for the Games, both Fisher and Andersen weren’t able to replicate the success of their affiliate, finishing 12th and 8th respectively.
However, Invictus coach C.J. Martin decided to bring both competitors on to their Games
roster, as well as Bryan Miller, an individual competitor at the Games in 2013. The CrossFit competition rulebook allows any member of an affiliate that competed during the Open (as a member of said affiliate) to be eligible for selection to the affiliate team—which is how Andersen, Fisher and Miller could be selected to the Invictus team at the Games despite them having not competed with the affiliate during the Regionals.
CrossFit Invictus Games Roster
Speaking on the CrossFit Games Update Show, C.J. Martin explained the additions to the team:
“We added three solid athletes. Bryan Miller had to sit out the Open [Miller did complete the Open, but only did 1 rep for each workout. 15.5, which was for time, took Miller 48 hours] and the Regionals because of a shoulder injury, but he’s a 2013 Individual Games competitor and member of our team last year. We never look too much at the leaderboard but we think we’ve got a phenomenal group of athletes, both physically and in their character. They’ve been there [to the Games], they’re experienced, every one of our athletes has been on the competition floor at the Games so we expect to represent themselves really well.”
After Andersen and Fisher missed qualifying as individuals, Coach Martin had a difficult choice to make. Stick with the squad that qualified from Regionals, or include the considerable firepower of the aforementioned athletes at the expense of some of the Regional competitors. With the Affiliate Cup to defend, Martin decided for the latter—and one can understand why. The 2015 Team competition is arguably going to be the toughest in history, with two-time champions CrossFit UTE, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and NorCal CrossFit all being legitimate threats to take the title away from Invictus. As such, every affiliate team needs to send their strongest six men and women to the Games, and Martin clearly feels that Fisher (18th worldwide in the Open, 9th at the 2014 Games), Andersen (champion with Team Invictus at the 2014 Games, 6th worldwide in the Open) and Miller (31st at the 2013 Games, champion with Team Invictus at the 2014 Games) are the best options to field the most competitive team possible.
But is it fair?
The truth is this happens in every major sport. If Lebron James, arguably the best player in the NBA today, was injured for the entire regular season and returned for the playoffs, one would not question the replacement. In fact, most fans and analyst would be in awe if he wasn’t put back into the starting line-up. Of course on could argue for the other side. In the end though, in sport, the best players play.
And while Fisher, Andersen and Miller may have not competed on the qualifying Regional team, they were definitely still part of the team and in many ways contributed directly to Team Invictus’ presence at the Games this year. As any CrossFitter can attest to, a team is built in training. It is unquestionable that having these individuals in training all year raised the level of every other athlete’s game.
Photo from Lauren Fisher’s Instagram page