The individual events of Day 3 featured a broad test of fitness, from bursts of power in the Clean Speed Ladder and Sprint Carry to endurance and pure grit in the Muscle-Up Biathalon and Push Pull event.
Competitors began a diverse day of fitness with the Muscle-Up Biathalon, and it was clear from the start that strategy would be key to an athlete’s success, given that a drop from the rings meant a 200-meter penalty run. But for rookie athlete Cody Anderson, the strategy was simple. Don’t let go of the rings! The number 2 qualifier out of the North West Region was the only competitor to go unbroken on the muscle-ups on his way to a first place finish. On the women’s side, Tiffany Hendrickson won the event a full minute ahead of her nearest rival, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.
Next up was the Sprint Carry, an event that epitomized the simplicity of CrossFit programming. Run a distance, pick something heavy up, run back with the object, and repeat. While many athletes had a hard time finding the right technique to carry the varying types of objects, Nate Schrader used his military experience to hoist and move all 3 items with relative ease, wrapping up the win in 2:22. Another Games rookie, South East qualifier Lauren Brooks, won the women’s event with a time of 2:47.
The last two events were held in the tennis stadium, and with a throng of fans clamoring to get in to the arena hours before competition time, the stage was set for an exciting Saturday evening—and we were not disappointed. The third event was the Clean Speed Ladder, arguably the most exciting event of the Games thus far. An exciting round of heats saw Elisabeth Akinwale progress to the final and work her way though 5 lifts, finishing with a clean of 225lb. and a leap on to the padded stage for a first place finish. The men’s event was a competitive push to the finish, and in between the crowd pushing the smaller athletes to complete the ladder in their respective heats, the noise for the final resulted in a crescendo of applause as Neal Maddox barely beat rookie Jeff Evans to the stage.
Day 3 of the CrossFit Games culminated with the Push Pull event, a wicked combination of deficit handstand push-ups and sled pulls. Each heat of the competition saw the noise level in the packed tennis stadium rise and rise, and with the women up first, former water polo player and Games veteran Michele Letendre rose to the occasion with a blistering time of 5:00, edging out Nicole Holcomb and Leblanc-Bazinet who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Prior to the final heat for the men, the national anthem was sung, and the electricity in the air was palpable as a star-studded lineup took to the floor. An epic finish between Josh Bridges and Rich Froning threatened to blow the roof off the tennis stadium, despite it being an open-air venue. But it was Josh Bridges who came out on top, beating Froning by just two seconds as he let out a victory roar in front of a maniac crowd.
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However, it was Froning who got the last laugh of the day, as he has once again worked his way back to the top of the overall standings, 5 points ahead of Mathew Fraser and 12 ahead of Bridges in 3rd. A series of consistent performances saw Camille Leblanc-Bazinet take control of the women’s leaderboard as she leads Kara Webb by 75 points and Annie Thorisdottir by 117. By all intents and purposes, the women’s competition now seems to be a two-horse race.
But of course, this is the CrossFit Games, and as the final day of competition begins, anything can happen.