It’s another repeat! Like Annie Thorisdottir on the women’s side of the competition, Rich Froning came out on top again to win the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games. No athlete had repeated as champion until this year, when both 2011 champions topped the Leaderboad for the second time.
After learning of his victory, Froning hugged training partner Dan Bailey and then raised his arms to cheers from a full stadium, the largest audience in CrossFit Games history.
The last event of this year’s Games consisted of three classic CrossFit workouts: Elizabeth, Isabel and Fran — each worth 100 points. Fifteen athletes advanced after Elizabeth and 12 after Isabel.
Once the cuts were made, the surviving athletes remained on the competition floor throughout all three workouts. Athletes used a variety of techniques to stay cool under the unforgiving California sun, including large-brimmed sun hats, towels draped over their heads and strategically placed ice packs.
Although the first-place spot was essentially in Froning’s pocket going into the final event, there were no guarantees for second and third.
Matt Chan entered the stadium floor knowing he had to fight Kyle Kasperbauer for the silver medal. Jason Khalipa, the “California Bear,” spent most of the competition in 20th place, but steadily fought his way into fourth going into the final event. Khalipa would have to do everything he could to take the third place spot from Kasperbauer, who competed as an individual in 2009.
Going into the last three workouts, Kasperbauer said, “It's just another day, another workout.”
Showing little fatigue after 12 events and four days of competition, Froning won Elizabeth with a record-setting time of 2:33.0. Chan, desperate for a spot on the podium, was close behind Froning with a time of 2:42.0.
After Elizabeth, three men were cut: Gabe Subry, Kenneth Leverich, and Patrick Burke.
The next girl up was Isabel. Spencer Hendel showed off his Olympic-weightlifting skills by completing his 30 snatches in 1:25.0, beating Chan’s time of 1:27.9. Froning moved smoothly and methodically, displaying almost superhuman strength and endurance to win Isabel with a time of 1:20.7.
Three more cuts were made after Isabel: Lucas Parker, Daniel Tyminski and Hendel.
Then came Fran, the notorious, nasty couplet familiar to almost every CrossFitter.
Froning earned the right to hang back a bit on this final event. All he had to do was finish and he would hold onto his first place spot.
Kasperbauer took an early lead, knowing that he needed a good showing to hold off Khalipa. Then, on the last set of 9 pull-ups, Kasperbauer came off the bar twice, allowing Scott Panchik to win the last event with a time of 2:41.2. Kasperbauer finally finished his nine pull-ups and finished Fran in 2:44.7, holding onto third place overall.
“I feel absolutely ecstatic. I feel great,” Kasperbauer said about third place. “But it’s not over. I’m already thinking about next year.”
As Kasperbauer made his way off the competition floor, Stacie Tovar ran up to him, gave him a hug and said, "Oh my God, that was amazing."
Coming into the Games, Kasperbauer said he had the mindset that he wanted to be in the "upper tier" of athletes.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic about being on the podium, but I'm not satisfied," Kasperbauer said. He said he'll take about a week off and “just start right back up.”
Although Chan took 10th place in the last event, his scores were good enough to earn him a second-place spot overall. At age 34, Chan is the oldest podium finisher in CrossFit Games history.
As Chan approached the athlete village, the female members of CrossFit Platinum stopped to ask him to autograph a T-shirt and take a picture with them.
“I feel terrific. Everything we did this year paid off,” Chan said.
Chan said the four days of workouts in the Games played to his training, which was focused on improving his weaknesses, recovery and nutrition — essentially becoming more well rounded
“I'm stoked,” Chan said.
At the awards ceremony that ended the Games, the Spirit of the Games Award was presented to Deborah Cordner Carson. Carson was eliminated from the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games because she wasn’t comfortable in the water and had to bow out of the first event at the Santa Monica Pier. She trained for a year to get back to the Games and was faced with a nightmare in 2012: another swimming event to open competition. Scared and unsure of whether she could complete the swim, Carson entered the water, fought her demons and left them behind when she reached shore 70 meters later. Her efforts earned her the Spirit of the Games Award, given to the athlete who embodies the spirit of the sport.
1. Rich Froning
2. Matt Chan
3. Kyle Kasperbauer
1. Annie Thorisdottir
2. Julie Foucher
3. Talayna Fortunato
1. Hack’s Pack Ute
2. SPC CrossFit
3. Diablo CrossFit Anejo
1. Gene LaMonica
2. Scott DeTore
3. Eric Barlett
1. Lisa Mikkelsen
2. Tracy MacEachern
3. Cindy Briggs
1. Gord Mackinnon
2. Brian Edwards
3. Peter Ryder
1. Susan Habbe
2. Mary Beth Litsheim
3. Elaine Polito
1. Tim Anderson
2. Rick Rodriguez
3. Garry Jones
1. Marnel King
2. Annie Michel
3. Charm Mathis
1. Scott Olson
2. Derrick Hill
3. Christopher Kulp
1. Mary Schwing
2. Betsy Finley
3. Lois Charlton
Spirit of the Games Award: Deborah Cordner Carson