The 3rd individual event started with the opening ceremonies, and just like in the Olympics, it began with a procession of nations — in this case the 17 regions. The teams filed through the stadium behind their flags to cheers and screams from the crowd. Then the individual competitors arrived, followed by previous years’ individual winners.
The 1st heat of the women’s competition started immediately after the national anthem, sung with a country twang by former SEAL Chris Irwin.
Cheryl Brost easily won the opening heat with a time of 8:50, more than 2 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Jamie Gold. Lindsay Valenzuela didn’t seem to know how to use her legs on the rope climb and fell behind to finish 3rd in her heat with a time of 12:01.
In the 2nd heat, 40-year-old Amanda Allen from Australia took an early lead, but powerful Katie Hogan overtook her on the heavy clean and jerks to win the heat with a time of 8:09. Amanda finished second in 8:10. A huge cheer erupted from the crown as Annie Sakamoto, one of the original Nasty Girls, finished in 9:57.
Amy Dracup tied with Deborah Cordner with a time of 8:02. Amy’s strategy was to “stay calm and don’t stop moving.” On the rope climb she made a point to not look up and see how much farther she had to go. “I wanted to keep moving at a pace where I didn’t fail,” she said.
Things got fast in the final heat, with Iceland’s Annie Thorisdottir taking an early lead, easily climbing the rope and rocking through the clean and jerks without letting go of the barbell.
“My strategy was to try to do the rope climb by touching and jumping,” Annie said. She was not concerned about the clean and jerk, because “those are light weights for me.”
Julie Foucher almost caught up to Annie, but Annie’s touch-and-go speed on the clean and jerks gave her a wider lead. As Foucher came close, Annie pulled ahead.
“I felt good through the whole workout, and I knew I could go even faster,” Annie said.
Annie won the event with a time of 6:54, and Kristan Clever finished in 2nd with a time of 7:19. She was followed very closely by Foucher, who finished in 7:19.3, putting her in 1st place at the end of day 1.
In the first men’s heat, Spencer Hendel started off with a commanding lead, but Ben Stoneberg pulled ahead to finish with a time of 6:03, while Hendel struggled with the final clean and jerk.
“My shoulders were shot,” he said. He attempted the final lift, 225 lb., three times and finished in 6:51.
Jeremy Kinnick fought to get the 225 clean and jerk, with Nick Urankar and Neal Maddox cheering him on. Kinnick cleaned it on his knees, then finally got it up to finish with a time of 9:10.
“My pulling strength is not that good,” he said, “I was just tired. The workout was easy, and then it got really hard.”
He was frustrated with his performance, but “my wife had a baby on Tuesday, so it’s been a good week,” he said.
Joseph Weigel led through most of that heat, until the final sets, when Zach Forrest and Armand McCormick caught up. Forrest destroyed the second heat with at time of 5:27.
Chase Daniels and Tommy Hackenbruck were neck and neck for most of the 3rd heat, until Chase pulled ahead to win the heat with a time of 5:03. “I knew the weight wasn’t going to be that much of a problem, and I like rope climbs,” Daniels said. His strategy was just “get to the weight, pick it up, and go. My strength is just moderate weight and boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” he said.
Hackenbruck finished in 5:50.
Danie du Preez, the 42-year-old who started the first African affiliate, kept working even after every other athlete had finished. He worked at the 225-lb. clean and jerk for almost a minute but didn’t manage to finish the workout before the 12-minute cutoff.
Patrick Barber took an early lead in the 4th heat. Zeph Littleton, watching the heat, said, “Pat Barber, I put my money on him. He can climb a rope like a motherfucker.” Barber and Jared Davis were toe to toe, but Davis started to fall behind. Barber, who now lives in New Zealand, was fast up and down the rope to finish in 5:26, followed by Blair Morrison in 5:42. Davis failed three times before he made the final clean and jerk, finishing in 8:24.
The final heat featured some of the biggest names in CrossFit, including defending champ Graham Holmberg, 2008 champ Jason Khalipa, Chris Spealler, Matt Chan, Rich Froning Jr., Dan Bailey, Austin Malleolo, and Josh Bridges. Bridges took an early lead, but then it became a battle between Spealler and Froning.
After his memorable struggle with the rope climbs at the end of the 2010 Games, Rich’s strategy going into the workout was, “Just climb that rope and don’t let it beat me, like last year.”
He worked through the clean and jerk, but said that “225 got a little heavy at the end.”
Spealler was right behind Froning throughout most of the workout.
“I was just really trying to focus on my pace on my own workout, not worry about the other guys,” he said. “(I was) really just working on staying in my head, regardless of the result.”
Spealler came in 3rd with a time of 5:24. He said that he didn’t want the work out to “define me,” but still, he said, “I’m always going to compete to win.”
Froning, his climbing skills on display for all in the same arena where he failed so famously 1 year ago, demolished the rope portion of the event. He was so fast that, even though he had to repeat the last rope climb because he dropped down too early, he finished with a time of 4:56 to win the event.
“I feel great. I want to go to bed. I’m exhausted. I need to get off this emotional high,” he said.
As of press time, the next Individual event has not been announced, though the athletes are due at the Home Depot Center at 7 a.m.
For complete results, visit the Scoreboard.