The 2014 CrossFit Games Come to a Close: Froning, Leblanc-Bazinet are the Fittest on Earth

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Damect Dominguez

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Could it have ended any other way? Rich Froning Jr. sealed his spot as a legend of the CrossFit Games by winning his fourth consecutive championship this Sunday, truly cementing his title as The Fittest Man on Earth. He was not alone in celebration, as Games veteran and Canadian sensation Camille Leblanc-Bazinet fulfilled the potential she had shown throughout the Open and Regionals by taking her first championship.

Though the final day of competition had been tightly poised for the men, Froning would not relinquish his hold on first place, winning all three events (Midline March, Thick N Quick and Double Grace) to make sure his final farewell to the Games was a happy one. Given Froning’s propensity to win events on the final day of competition, few thought that there would be any contenders to knock him off the top of podium, but a challenge did come from rookie Matt Fraser, who took two 2nd place finishes on his way to a final score of 875 points and a place alongside Froning on the podium, albeit one step lower in 2nd. Still, not bad for a first-time Games rookie. In fact, with young guns like Fraser and Noah Ohlson turning heads in their inaugural Games appearances, the future of the CrossFit Games appears to be in safe hands.

The women’s race for first was even more straightforward then the men’s, with Bazinet leading Kara Webb by 75 points and Annie Thorisdottir by 117. Sunday seemed to be shaping up to be a two-horse race for the finish. Tragically, Kara Webb struggled with an injury during the Midline March, finishing in 37th. When Webb did not take to the Tennis Stadium floor for the final event announcements from Dave Castro, the seriousness of the injury was confirmed—Webb had withdrawn from competition. Still, a formidable threat still loomed for Bazinet, in the form of two-time Games champion and Icelandic powerhouse Annie Thorisdottir. With Thorisdottir taking 1st in the Push Pull event and Bazinet finishing 6th, excitement in the Stub Hub center began to grown. Could Bazinet hold on? Would Thorisdottir, after a year off from a devastating injury, complete a comeback for the ages? When Castro announced the first of the last two events in the tennis stadium (Thick N’ Quick), some wondered how Thorisdottir would fare with the combination of rope climbs and heavy, heavy, overhead squats. The answer? Admirably. Thorisdottir took second to Jenn Jones, with Bazinet taking 12th. As for the final event, Castro had a surprise in store for all, waiting until the athletes had, quite literally, finished Thick N’ Quick to announce that the last event of the 2014 CrossFit Games would be…Grace. Actually, scratch that.  Double Grace. 60 clean and jerks for time.

A grandstand finish was in store, and once again Thorisdottir made a furious push for the title, finishing first. Bazinet crossed the line in 5th, and then the inquests began. Had Bazinet done enough to hold on to first? Had Thorisdottir’s charge propelled her to the title?

The answer was provided by Castro minutes later, congratulating the Canadian athlete on her first Games championship, sending the athlete and the crowd alike into fits of celebration.

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As the sun set on the tennis stadium and the CrossFit Games, awards were handed out for top performers and podium finishers. Bazinet, Thorisdottir and Julie Foucher all stood for the crowd with medals around their necks, proving their fitness on the hallowed ground of Carson. Froning, Matt Fraser and Jason Khalipa stood proud for the men, and CrossFit Invictus, Conjugate and Marysville took home the honors for the teams. But some of the loudest cheers were saved for two other athletes, who received honors of their own. Becca Voigt, a 7-time consecutive Games competitor, struggled to hold back tears as she was awarded a pair of golden rings, symbolizing that she was the recipient of the Spirit of the Games award. Then, on an impromptu shower of applause from the stands, Chris Spealler’s name was chanted, and the long time athlete stood to receive the recognition he had earned as a long-time servant of the CrossFit Games. There was no physical award for ‘Speal, but there didn’t need to be. The CrossFit crowd had crowned him as a legend of the Games on his final farewell to competition.

And so, the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games came to a close. Froning and Spealler said their farewells to the sport, and Jason Khalipa left a question in the air as to whether this had been his last season as well. But with so many young athletes (and plenty of eager vets) vying to grab some glory themselves, there is no doubt that the 2015 Games will be quite the show. We truly are turning a chapter in the history of the CrossFit Games, and the future is bright. Now, who’s ready for the 2015 Open?

Photos courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

About Damect Dominguez

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

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