Under the midday sun, the competitors and crowds gathered on the track to take on the second Skills Test. The challenge included 2 minutes to establish a max weighted chest-to-bar pull-up, immediately followed by 2 minutes to set a max snatch, and 1 minute to run 2 weighted steel 5-gallon jugs as far down the field as possible.
The women were the first up, and the max weighted chest-to-bar pull-up was a 5-way tie for first — at 60 lb. — shared between Annie Thorisdottir, Jasmine Dever, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Kelly Steadman, and Annie Sakamoto.
Transitioning from one movement to the next proved to be difficult. Athletes struggled with the belts used for the weighted pull-up, and loading and unloading proved cumbersome and time-consuming.
Thorisdottir started light, establishing her first at 35 lb., while Sakamoto, Kristan Clever, Becca Voigt and others went straight to the 45-lb. plates for their first lifts. Amanda Allen went too far the opposite direction, putting the 55-lb. plate on first but then failing to register a rep. Most athletes could get their chins over the bar, but failed in the extra snap to touch their chests.
In Heat 5, Leblanc-Bazinet was the first to get 60 lb., bringing cheers from the crowd.
“She’s fucking aggressive, man,” videographer Sevan Mattosian said. “When she pulls, she pulls hard.”
Lindsay Valenzuela, a 2012 Olympics hopeful with a 250-lb. clean and jerk, moved the heaviest load on the snatch. Knowing the snatch was her skill to win, Valenzuela went light in the chest-to-bar pull-up and rested. When the time started for the snatch, she immediately loaded the bar to her max of 165 lb.
“She’s just going for it, Jesus,” Olympic lifting coach Mike Burgener said from the sidelines.
Valenzuela missed her first 2 attempts at 165 lb. To set a score, she dropped down 10 lb. and made a 155 lb. snatch. In the final seconds, Valenzuela reloaded the bar to 165 lb. This time, she made it under the bar — diving with expert speed into an extremely low squat. Stuck deep in the bottom, Valenzuela wobbled slightly before gaining control and standing.
“It’s challenging,” Josh Everett said, “ the athletes warmed up 10-15 minutes ago, and now they’re trying to make a max attempt.”
The second highest lift, 155 lb., was recorded by 4 women — Thorisdottir, Katie Hogan, Clever, and Oly specialist Mona Pretorious. Although tied with three others, Clever stands out from the pack: the lift was 22 lb. over bodyweight for the petite athlete.
In the jug carry, Elisabeth Akinwale of North Central went furthest down the field. The same woman who recorded the second-longest handstand walk at a phenomenal 192 feet 1 inch set the record on the jug carry at 364 feet even—and she turned around at the end of the field and walked back.
To the surprise of the crowds, Jenny Davis set the second longest carry (353 feet 4 inches). Davis was up against Hogan, one of the strongest female competitors, but when Hogan set down the jugs Davis kept chugging.
On the men’s side the heaviest chest-to-bar pull-up didn’t go to the strongmen or “Bearilla” Jason Khalipa. The “Teen Wolf,” Lucas Parker, set the heaviest number, 130 lb., followed by Joseph Weigel at 125 lb. Athletes had the choice of using kettlebells or plates for the load. Holmberg went with the kettlebells, notching a 90 lb. pull-up, while most opted for plates.
Dan Bailey outlifted Rich Froning, taking 3rd with 120 lb. and leaving Froning in 4th with a 115-lb. lift.
In CrossFit Games Oly lifting, the standard is rising. Back in 2009, Jeff Leonard set the heaviest snatch at 240 lb., and Jason Khalipa followed him at 225 lb. This year, two athletes successfully snatched 265 lb. with only 2 minutes to lock out a lift.
Aja Barto, the largest Games competitor at 6’5” and 215 lb., went for 265 during the final 15 seconds. The large crowd erupted as he snapped the bar up and pulled under, landing in a solid, stable squat.
In the next heat, Spencer Hendel went heavy fast. He successfully lifted 265 and tried to pass Barto with 275, but he failed.
Coach Burgener looked on as Hendel lifted. When asked how it felt to watch athletes he coached, he responded, “It makes me very, very proud.” Athletes like Hendel stand out from the thousands of other athletes he has coached because, “They’re willing to make little bitty corrections to make themselves better, to make big lifts.”
Back in 2009 at The Ranch, Coach B. saw Hendel lift and said he loved the North Carolina athlete’s speed through the middle, and Burg was confident he could make Hendel a national champion with some coaching. Hendel, a great all-around athlete, is clearly benefitting from his Oly training.
The judges had to carry the jugs back after each heat, and while many suffered through the women’s weight, the men’s weight took out a couple of judges.
“This guy’s done,” emcee Travis Bagent said, “get someone to help him out.”
The exact weight of the jugs hasn’t been announced, but they’re filled with lead shot and water, making them unstable.
“I picked it up and I was like ‘Fuck,’” Daniel Tyminski said to Gabe Subry as he walked off the field.
Danie du Preez, the 42-year-old competitor from South Africa, surprised the crowds by winning the Heat 1 jug carry — beating Connecticut strongman Rob Orlando.
For complete results, visit the Scoreboard.
At press time, Individual Event 6 has not been announced, but with a massive pull-up/monkey-bar structure and Wattbikes in the stadium, fans are speculating on the next challenge.
Update on Mikko Salo: Mikko Salo, the 2009 champion, withdrew from the competition after experiencing blurry vision and dizziness in the first event on Friday morning. Salo was attended to by the medical staff and, according to CrossFit HQ Media’s Marty Cej, was somewhat embarrassed by the attention. “I'm going to be fine,” Salo said as he brushed the sand off.
The Finnish fan favorite did not feel well enough to continue, but has been seen around the venue talking to fans.