After the metabolic beatdown of Event 1 at Santa Monica Pier, the athletes headed to the Track for Event 2, a skill test composed of a max L-sit, a softball throw for distance, and a handstand walk. With the emphasis on skills, many otherwise-capable athletes revealed their weaknesses.
The L-sit has long been a staple movement in CrossFit training, but it’s never before been tested at the Games. The standard required participants to support themselves on parallettes and start with their legs extended in front of them on bumpers. As soon as their feet lowered to come in contact with the plates, the hold was over.
Surprisingly, Jason Khalipa won this event with a 51-second hold. As a larger athlete, he was not expected to out-perform the smaller athletes on a gymnastic movement, but the 2008 champ ended up besting the field by 3 seconds. Another larger athlete, Nate Schrader, tied for 3rd with a 47-second hold. Schrader was hoping for a higher finish after taking 37th on Event 1, largely due to weak chest-to-bar pull-ups.
On the women's side, long-time CrossFitter Annie Sakamoto held her legs out perfectly straight for 1:02, winning the event. Kristan Clever finished tied for 2nd after posting a 1:00 hold, and gymnast Gretchen Kittelberger matched the 2010 champ.
On the softball throw, former pitcher Spencer Hendel won the contest by more than 20 feet, with a massive throw of 258 feet 9 inches. Jared Davis, another former ballplayer, came in 2nd with 238 feet 1 inch.
The throw required athletes to be not only powerful, but also accurate, as throws that went to the right of the judges did not count. Thirteen men did not record a single successful throw in either of their two attempts, among them was Event 1 winner Josh Bridges.
Michelle Kinney, a former University of Mississippi softball player, sent the ball far down the field — beating many of the men — prompting emcee Travis Bagent to yell, "She's got a cannon on her!"
Jessica Pamanian, a University of California, Berkeley, softball player also chucked the ball far down the field. Jenny Labaw, Michele Letendre, and rugby player Angie Pye also sent the ball flying.
Some of the international athletes appeared to be at a disadvantage in the softball throw. Annie Thorisdottir's approach to the line was nervous and stilted, and despite her strength and finesse in most movements, the ball didn't go far. A few athletes from the U.S. also suffered on the softball throw. Over the next year, CrossFitters will likely pay more attention to Glassman's mantra to "regularly learn and play new sports."
Thorisdottir and Elisabeth Akinwale showed mastery of body control and strength as they surpassed the top male athletes in the handstand walk. Both walked almost the full length of the field, with Elisabeth going 192 feet 1 inch and Annie breaking 205 feet and making it close to the logs near the edge of the field. Surprisingly, neither woman is small. Akinwale, a former collegiate gymnast, is 5'7" and 160 lb., and Thorisdottir is 5'7" and 147 lb.
Rich Froning, Chris Spealler, and Pat Barber led the men, but only cleared about three-quarters the distance of the top women.
To see all the stats for the Skills tests, go here.
Next up for the Individual competitors: Event 3, a couplet of rope climbs and clean and jerks that will take place in the Stadium.
For complete results updated constantly, visit the Scoreboard.