January 4, 2012
Best of the 2011 Games Site
By CrossFit
As 2011 comes to an end, we look back at the greatest and most successful CrossFit Games season to date.Almost every meaningful record was shattered.
As 2011 comes to an end, we look back at the greatest and most successful CrossFit Games season to date.Almost every meaningful record was shattered.

As 2011 comes to an end, we look back at the greatest and most successful CrossFit Games season to date.Almost every meaningful record was shattered. This year, more than 26,000 athletes competed in the Open--up from 6,000 in 2010. More than 25,000 fans gathered to view the competition live, while others from around the world flooded our site with more than 40 million page vie

ws. We cast the widest net, offered the largest reward with a $1 million prize purse, and caught the fittest man and woman in history.

Interest in our sport continues to explode, as does the size of the CrossFit community. Last year at this time, there were just over 2,100 CrossFit affiliates. Today, we are nearly 3,400 (find an affiliatenear you).

We'll be rolling out the next generation of the Games site in a few weeks. It has been designed to handle the new scope of the Games. There will be more information for competitors and spectators as well as a better organization of all of our coverage.

But enough with the stats. Without further ado, we present to you our editor's selection of the best content of 2011!

First ever competiton with more than 26,000 athletes.
Credit: Photographer

2011 Most Popular Posts (By Page Views)

1. What are the CrossFit Games?

-New to the sport of fitness? Here's the quickest--and most popular--rundown.

2. Speal vs. Khalipa: An Early Test of 11.6

-Five-time Games competitor Chris Spealler and 2008 CrossFit Games champion Jason Khalipa's early test of the final 2011 CrossFit Games Open Workout: an ascending ladder of thrusters and chest-to-bar pull ups.

3. Unbeatable? Danny Nichols' 325-pound Thruster

-Danny Nichols was the first athlete to make it thro

ugh the thruster ladder from 155 pounds all the way up to 295 pounds Given the chance to go higher, he finally reached 325 pounds, which was 40 pounds heavier than any other athlete at the 2011 Regional competitions. Danny was competing as part of the TJ's Gym San Rafael team.

4. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet by Reebok

-The pride of Eastern Canada has charmed the world with her French accent and might in CrossFit competitions (9th in 2010, 8th in 2011). In this video, we learn how the former gymnast found her sport in CrossFit.

5. The Games Update: Two Days Out

-Excitement for the Games reached fever pitch two days before the fittest athletes from around the world met in Carson, California to prove their fitness. Pat Sherw

ood, Caity Matter-Henniger, and Josh Everett sit down at the news desk in the Home Depot Center

to give pre-competition analysis.

6. The Champions

-In 2011, Rich Froning Jr. of Cookeville, Tenn., and Annie Thorisdottir of Reykjavik, Iceland, decisively earned the title of Fittest on Earth. This video highlights their ascent to the top.

7. Let the Games Begin!

- Our sport began in the dusty hillside of Aromas, Calif., in 2007 and has since grown into an international competition hosted in the same venue as the US National Soccer Team. Here's a look back to where the Games began and where they're going.

8. The Tension of Competition at the SoCal Regional

-Get a feel for the tension at the Southern California Regional. This tough region produced the 2nd place finishers Josh Bridges and Kristan Clever, 3rd place finisher Rebecca Voigt, and 6th ranked team Brick CrossFit.

9. This is Our Sport

-"They said that it was impossible. They said that this could never be a sport..."

10. Workout 11.3 at Valley CrossFit

-Watch the fittest women in Southern California do the third 2011 CrossFit Games Open Workout: as many 50 kg squat clean and jerks as possible in five minutes.

11. Becca Voigt by Reebok

-The third fittest woman in the world, Becca Voigt, used to be shy. In this video, Becca talks about finding co

mmunity, confidence, and a desire to win through CrossFit. "CrossFit has made me a more confident person. It's proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to," Voigt says.

12. Regional Update 1.3

-Rory Mckernan, Miranda Oldroyd, and Pat Sherwood sit down behind the news desk to analyze the first weekend of Regional competition. Featuring the Australia, South East, Canada West, and North Central regions.

13. Khalipa's History with the Squat Clean Thruster

-By winning the final squat clean and jerk workout of the 2008 CrossFit Games, Jason Khalipa put himself on the map. Three years later, he attacks the squat cleans in Open Workout 11.3.

14. Julie Foucher by Reebok

- Julie took 5th at the 2010 CrossFit Games while finishing her degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. A year later, she again took 5th--this time while midway through her first month of medical school.

15.Rob Orlando on the Thruster Ladder

-Former strongman Rob Orlando was one of the favorites to go all the way to 295 on the thruster ladder. He "only" hit 275, but it was still enough for first place at the 2011 North East Regional.

Staff Favorites (By Topic)

The Games

Game Time
-Silent pre-event moments with the athletes.

AHistory of the Games
-This video tells the story of how the Games began as "The Woodstock of Fitness" on the dusty hillsides of the Ranch in Aromas, Calif. "It was a chance for the community to come together and celebrate what fitness had done for them," Dave Castro says.

The Post-Games Update
-Rory Mckernan, Miranda Oldroyd, and Pat Sherwood analyze the 2011 CrossFit Games Season and review the Top 10 moments.

Spirit of the Games: Annie Sakamoto
-Annie Sakamoto, an original "Nasty Girl" competed at the Games for her first time. She was honored with the "Spirit of the Games" award at the 2011 CrossFit Games.

Rich Froning Jr. After Day 1
-In 2010, Froning slipped from 1st to 2nd in the final event because of his inexperience climbing rope. Here, we see him moments after winning the third event of the CrossFit Games, a couplet of rope climbs and clean and jerks, gloriously redeemed.

This Makes Me Stronger: Mikko Salo
-2009 CrossFit Games champion, Mikko Salo of Pori, Finland, trained all year in preparation for the Games, only to be knocked out of the competition after the first event when his eardrum burst during the ocean swim. Despite the disappointment, the Salo thinks he is a stronger athlete for it.

This is Sick
-With the growth of CrossFit worldwide, the 2011 Games saw the most people, vendors, activities, and spectators. "This is sick!"

-What does it take to be a Games athlete?

The Affiliate Champions
-CrossFit New England earned the title of Affiliate Cup Champion at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games.


Deep Breath
-"Maybe the sound that follows your next deep breath is the sound that teaches the next generation."

A Note From Jill Spealler
-Jill Spealler competed in the 60-plus Masters competition at the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games for the first time. After the competition was over, she expressed her thanks in this letter, not only as a competitor, but as the mother of five-time Games competitor Chris Spealler.

Preparing for Masters: Jacinto Bonilla
-Jacinto Bonilla is a 72-year-old trainer at CrossFit NYC. After finding CrossFit at 67, Bonilla decided to give a second career a try, and retired from radiography to become a coach. Now, after placing 7th in the Open, Bonilla is definitely in shape as he prepares for the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games.

The Toughest 63-Year-Old Alive
-Charles Neill has survived the Vietnam war, a helicopter crash, a car accident, and a 3-story fall from a house. He has 5 consecutive muscle-ups, a 410 pound deadlift, and 5:40 Fran, at 63 years old.

Everything Annie -- Sevan Mattosian's Coverage of the Champ in Iceland

Growing Up Annie
-The world has watched Thorisdottir grow up in CrossFit. She was only 19 when she traveled to Aromas for the first time to compete at the 2009 CrossFit Games. Now, the 22-year-old talks about how she's matured through CrossFit.

Getting Better
-2011 CrossFit Games champion, Thorisdottir, is committed to her training and being the best at every competition. She says she trains about four hours a day with one day off a week. She's constantly striving to get better.

Games Reflections
-Join filmmaker Sevan Matossian as he interviews Annie Thorisdottir about he 2011 CrossFit Games experience. At her gym, CrossFit BC Iceland in Reykjavik, Thorisdottir says she feels more confident after winning the Games.

Thor's Daughter
-See Thorisdottir back at her home box, CrossFit BC Iceland, and learn more about her as an athlete and coach.

They're Ready -- 2011 CrossFit Games Commercials

Jason Khalipa is Ready
-2008 CrossFit Games champ, Jason "Bearilla" Khalipa, on a typical day at home.

Adrian is Ready
-Head judge, Adrian Bozman, shows he's ready to "No Rep."

Lindsey Smith is Ready
-Ask mommy.

Ben is Ready
-Ben Hollingshaus really gets off on CrossFit.

Manimal is Ready
-Pat "Manimal" Barber reveals his inner beast.

The Chans are Ready
-Don't mess with super couple, Matt and Cherie Chan.

Dan Bailey is Ready
-Working for Rogue has its perks.

Pat Sherwood is Ready
-CrossFit HQ trainer and analyst, Pat Sherwood, shows off a little upper lip luxury.

The Open

Rookie No Longer: Dan Bailey
-An indepth article on the 2011 CrossFit Games Open winner's experience at his first CrossFit Games.

Bridges Balances Heaven and Earth
- A detailed look at the 2nd place finisher, worldwide, in the 2011 CrossFit Games Open and Finals.

"Can't Quit, Not Acceptable"
-2010 CrossFit Games champion, Kristan Clever, tied Annie Thorisdottir for first worldwide in the Open. This tough competitor went through SEAL training in the lead up to the 2011 CrossFit Games. In the words of her instructors, "She's a maneater."

Into the Fire: Sam Briggs
Europe's Sam Briggs was the only woman to come close to Kristan Clever and Annie Thorisdottir in the worldwide standings in the Open--finishing in 3rd. The firefighter from Manchester, England, took 19th at the 2010 Games and 4th in 2011. While she's working on improving her technique, Sam draws on the mental strength she developed from firefighting and duathlons.

The Women of Valley CrossFit Part 1
-One CrossFit box, Valley CrossFit, hosts an extraordinary number of elite female competitors: Kristan Clever, Rebecca Voigt, Katie Hogan, and Lindsey Valenzuela. In this four-part series the women of Valley CrossFit talk about what make their community different.

Open Workout Videos

In Their Own Words: Week 1
-For the six weeks of the Open, Again Faster followed four CrossFitters as they give their all to the Open workouts with the goal of making it to Regionals. Setbacks, frustrations, and victorious moments were all told in their own words.

CrossFit NRG hits Workout 11.2
-Ben Hollingshaus goes to a CrossFit affiliate to watch people throw down for the second Open workout.

Rich Froning Jr. on Workout 11.2
-"It's pretty miserable," Froning says about the week two workout. "Everyone says it was light weight. You know, it was light weight for the first seven rounds..." Beyond that, it didn't play to his strengths. In this video Rich talks about the workout, the hometown crowd at his box in Tennessee, and what he's going to do with the 2011 bucks.

The Ingham Brothers do 11.6
-Jason and Josh Ingham are twin brothers who are also Marines and top CrossFitters competing in the Open. They decided to take 11.6 on side-by-side to push each other to new heights.

Regional Competitons

2011 Australia Regional by Reebok

Katie Hogan and Lindsey Valenzuela on the Thruster Ladder
-Katie Hogan and Lindsey Valenzuela made it through the Thruster Ladder, each successfully lifting 185 pounds, before moving on to the bonus bars. Hogan thrustered 190 pounds to set the world record.

Becky Clark's Sacrifice
-With her entrance to the Marine Corps around the same time as the Games, Becky Clark paused mid-way through Regional Workout 6 to let other athletes compete for the Games spot she had nearly secured.

The Ockerbeast Pulls Through a Hand Tear
-Mel Ockerby entered Workout 4 at the North East Regional in first place. After tearing her hands badly on the pull-ups though, she borrowed some of Stacy Kroon's tape to cover up the blood, and pushed her way through the chipper. The former gymnast ended up missing the Games by one spot in her first year as an individual competitor. She went on to compete with the CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup champions, CrossFit New England, performing a seamless "Fran" in the final event.

Obstacles? What Obstacles?

A Story of Transformation
-A little over a year before competing in the 2011 CrossFit Games Open, Maura Brown entered Jason Khalipa's affiliate, CrossFit Santa Clara, weighing 260 pounds. She couldn't do a single air squat, or hang from the pull-up bar. Since then, Maura has lost more than 100 pounds. and completely transformed herself.

Push Yourself Beyond Limits: Hector Delgado
-While on active duty with the Marine Corps in Iraq, Hector Delgado was wounded in action. But against the odds, Delgado did not let his handicap prevent him from CrossFitting and competing in the Open.

Facing Obstacles: Doing the Open with Cancer
"CrossFit has introduced me to courage beyond the military," says Kirk from CrossFit Valdosta. "It's the community and the mental strength that comes from it." Kirk has been diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma skin cancer, but didn't let that stop him from competing in the Open.