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December 27, 2018

Ten Takeaways From the 2018 Dubai CrossFit Championship

Written by William Imbo
  1. Oh good, Mat Fraser qualified

We can all stop holding our breath now – The Champ got the quickest ticket ever to the CrossFit Games and now he can spend the season “fluffy,” as he said in his Instagram post. He has also stated to other sources that he will continue to compete at events, but he has not shared which ones. Must be nice to have the luxury of selection!

  1. Age is just a number and elbow surgery is just an operation

Sam Briggs proved she’s come back with a vengeance after declining her Individual invitation to the Games last year, and instead competing in the Master’s division. The Engine looked strong as ever, shining where she usually does: in the capacity events at Dubai. Even a 27th place finish in the max snatch event couldn’t keep her off the top of the leaderboard. Her elbow appears to be doing well enough. We can’t wait to see what the 36-year-old does in Madison this year.

  1. Everyone walked away with heavier pockets

While the total purse started off pretty high to begin with – over $600k in cash prizes – the DCC increased prizes in the middle of the competition for both teams and individuals. Can you say Merry Christmas? Fraser walked away with $100,000 after winning six out of 10 events and Briggs was $92,000 richer. Anyone who podiumed an event walked away with at least $1,000, and simply for qualifying and competing athletes received $1,500.

  1. Willy Georges made a statement

The phenom out of France who took ninth in the Games last year looked extremely strong, despite finishing third and over 100 points behind Fraser. He podiumed in 5 out of 10 events, and has a good case for earning his ticket to the Games by being the Fittest in France.

  1. Horvath competed through injury – and then withdrew

The second fittest woman on earth was looking extremely strong – until she wasn’t. Horvath’s coach was quoted as saying she felt back pain while warming up for the snatch event, in which she took 3rd at 93kg. She received a DNF during event 5 after failing to complete the parallette handstand push-up buy-in, the minimum work requirement. Surprisingly, she would come back to win Event 6, 500m SkiErg, 500m row, 1000m BikeErg, but would then withdraw for the rest of the competition.

  1. Sam Dancer apologized for flipping out a couple times

Many were surprised the half-Dancer team Invictus X didn’t perform better – none more than Sam Dancer who got angry after a couple questionable calls by the judges. According to some viewers on Reddit, Dancer’s judge called him back to the BikeErg on Event 6 after mistakenly seeing the interval as meters remaining on the bike. He was also called out on Event 5 for not moving a yoke far enough. Dancer reacted by arguing with the judges and with angry gestures. He apologized on his Instagram account, saying the “Dubai Fitness Championship has been the worst experience of my athletic career.”

  1. There were mostly “I’s” in the teams

Much of the team competition was simply combinations of individual times and scores versus a team actually working in tandem to complete work. In fact, Event 5 for teams was completed by one male athlete. With no rulebook to go from, event programmers have no set structure, but most competitions seem to be a little more cohesive as far as team elements go.

  1. The superteam idea works pretty well

Team Invictus punched its ticket to the CrossFit Games, and all of its teammates have been before. Lauren Fisher, Regan Huckaby, Tommy Vinas and Rasmus Wisbech Anderson combined to beat out Team Omnicide by 47 points.

  1. Keep an eye on Karin Frey

The 23-year-old out of Slovakia beat out several CrossFit Games veterans, landing just off the Dubai podium. She had nine top 10 finishes in events, and looked especially strong on the “put your head down and work” events – a bit like Katrin Davidsdottir. She made regionals for the first time this year, placing 7th in Europe, but we expect to see more of her as this long season goes on.

  1. Watch your copyright violations, future events

Many online viewers across the world were upset when the YouTube live stream of the Dubai events was unavailable and blocked. This was reportedly due to copyright violations, as the DCC did not own the rights to some of the music it was playing on the broadcast. This could explain the awards ceremony music that even the emcee was mocking – better safe than sorry. Hopefully sanctioned events to follow take heed and watch what music they play to avoid angry mobs, both at the event and afar.


About William Imbo

William Imbo is an Associate Editor at BoxLife magazine, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and holds an MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. He is an avid CrossFitter and loves film, music and travel, thanks to having grown up across Europe. A fan of the New Orleans Saints and Newcastle United, Will's favorite CrossFit girl is Helen-least favorite being Isabel.

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