A week ago, I listed 5 reasons why everyone should watch the Crossfit Games. I hope you listened, because what went down July 29 - 31 in Carson, CA was nothing short of spectacular. I was catching glimpses and recaps even while I was up all night at a hackday and watched all the final day’s events live. I don’t watch sports much these days—a topic for another blog post—but this was one of the best sporting events I’ve seen in a long time. If you missed it, here is a recap of some of my favorite moments.

Swimming, beach running

Beach event

Crossfit is all about training for the “unknown and unknowable” and this year, they really meant it. Every kind of exercise was on the table. For the first time ever, we even got swimming. And not just any swimming, but *ocean *swimming in the very first workout. This Beach Workout also included running on soft sand, pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Not surprisingly, a Navy SEAL came in first on this event.

Softball, gymnastics


The first day continued with a skills test. This included an L sit hold for time, a handstand walk for distance and, my personal favorite, a softball throw for distance. In the past, Crossfit has taken flak for being too focused on pure work: how far can you run, how many reps can you crank out, how much weight can you lift. Testing these skill movements helps separate the true all-around athletes from the guys that are just workhorses.

Rope climbs, redemption

Day 1 concluded with a workout that included rope climbing and cleans. This is standard fare for Crossfit, but if you watched the Crossfit Games in 2010, you may remember Rich Froning Jr. losing his grip on 1st place when he couldn’t climb the ropes in the final workout. After a full year to work on this weakness, he came back this year and absolutely crushed the rope climbs at the end of day 1 for some beautiful redemption.

Monkey bars, biking

Monkey bars

The variety continued on day 2 with the Killer Kage workout. This combined front squats, riding a watt bike (another first for the games) and a 100 foot monkey bar course. You don’t often get to see full grown men racing each other across monkey bars, but believe me, the ending of this video will have you on the edge of your seat.

Sled push, sled pull

Sled push

The dog sled made a huge and unexpected presence in the final day of the Games. In the morning, the Dog-Sled workout required the athletes to push a ~450lb sled across the stadium. If seeing the Games’ smallest male competitor, 150lb Chris Spealler, take this beast on doesn’t get you out of your seat, nothing will.

Chris Spealler on the sled push

The final workout of the day concluded with the athletes picking up a rope and doing a sled pull. It provided a wonderfully visual way of knowing who was in the lead. Pat Barber got the whole stadium to its feet when he managed to find just the right technique for it.

2nd place 2010, 1st place 2011

There is something beautiful and poetic in the 2010 Crossfit Games runners up becoming the 2011 Crossfit Games champions. Congrats to Rich Froning Jr. and Annie Thorisdottir, the two fittest people on the planet.