The End — 2023 Games

August 7, 2023

Kelley Laxton, Brittney Saline, and Dan Froehlich

The most memorable moments from the final day of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. 

A Fight Till the End

By: Kelley Laxton

Roman Khrennikov

Roman Khrennikov of CrossFit Mayhem | Photo by Adam Bow


2023 was supposed to be Roman Khrennikov’s year. And it was looking good. 

Donning the leader’s jersey for three days in a row at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, Khrennikov could almost taste the championship title. He had won two tests and had seven top-five finishes. 

But in the second-to-last test of the weekend, the crowd watched as Khrennikov limped into the Coliseum, wearing a black lifter on his left foot, a trainer on his right. 

A shocking realization rushed through the crowd. 

In the previous test, Muscle-up Logs, Khrennikov had injured his left foot, and his shot at winning the title of Fittest on Earth was gone.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t try. 

Khrennikov lined up on his platform with the rest of his competitors, grasped the rope, lifted his left foot behind him, and began to jump.

On one leg. 

After trying and failing to string multiple reps together, Khrennikov settled into a single-single-double rhythm that worked about half the time. The rest, he took what he could get — even if it was one dub at a time.

After 30 reps, he moved on to the rope pull, where he propped only his good foot on the platform, pulling the 345-lb weight with half the power his competitors had. 

At the 10-minute mark, Khrennikov was left alone on the competition floor, the crowd on its feet. 


He completed just over half the test by the 15-minute time cap, leaving the crowd in tears.

“He wants to be a hero for his son. He just wants him to see him fight to the end,” Khrennikov’s translator said. 

He exited the floor with the entire Coliseum still chanting his name. 


Horvath Takes the Helm

By: Brittney Saline

Laura Horvath

Laura Horvath of CrossFit Glasshouse | Photo by Adam Bow


Saturday night was Laura Horvath’s time to shine. That’s when she snatched 205 lb and clean and jerked 265 lb — 5 lb more than her listed personal record — without breaking a sweat. But today, she took a second shift in the limelight. 

Horvath started the final day of competition in second overall, 48 points behind leader Emma Lawson. A test win in Muscle-up Logs closed the gap by almost half. 

Good thing Sunday lunch was sled pulls. 

Horvath wasn’t the first off the P-bar or through the heavy dubs, but once she got to the sled, it was over. The Hungarian needed only slightly more than a 45-degree lean to sweep the 290-lb sled across the floor; meanwhile, Lawson had to lie all the way back, adding a full sit-up to each pull. 

She beat her heat to the finish by about 40 seconds and won the test overall by 12 — an effort worth 100 points and the leader’s jersey. 


Any Way Possible

By: Dan Froehlich

CrossFit Krypton

CrossFit Krypton | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler


Sunday’s first team event — Bob’s a Drag — lived up to the line, “any way possible.”

Emphasizing the need for teamwork, each team member had to get over three logs that got taller as the finish line got closer. Teams resorted to various methods to hoist themselves over the final 5-and-a-half-foot high log.

CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue used teammate Nicolay Billaudel’s back, who got down on all fours and let each of his teammates use him as a step stool.

CrossFit Trondheim’s men, Jørgen Skevik and Tobias Opdahl, each got down on one knee — as if proposing — allowing their women, Vaar Thurmann-Moe and Stine Moen Nilsen, to have an extra step before swinging a leg on top of the bar.

CrossFit Krypton’s Alec Smith stood behind 5-foot-1 teammate Caroline Spencer and boosted her from the waist. Henrik Negård, of CrossFit Oslo Blackout, simply cupped two hands to hoist teammates over.

The methods may have been different but the results were the same: Teamwork makes the dream work.


Adler Grabs the Leader’s Jersey

By: Dan Froehlich

Jeff Adler

Jeffrey Adler of CrossFit Wonderland | Photo by flsportsguy photography


For the first time, Canadian Jeffrey Adler will wear the leader’s white jersey and red shorts after winning Test 10 — Muscle-up Logs — to start the final day of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

Entering the test just 13 points behind overall leader Roman Khrennikov, who has been in the leader’s jersey since Test 2, Adler paced himself off of Patrick Vellner in the lane to his left for the first 4 rounds of ring muscle-ups.

But when he got to the fifth and final round, Adler went for the kill. 

Approaching the rings just steps behind Vellner, Adler jumped right into his final set of 7 muscle-ups while Vellner took a moment to chalk up. 

Game over.

The delay afforded Adler a 2-rep lead on Vellner. But Jonne Koski was now matching Adler stride-for-stride and log-for-log out in Lane 15 as they carried the final 150-lb sandbag down the field.

“I had an understanding with Pat (Vellner), I wanted him to help me,” Adler said after the test. “It was a good battle with Pat. It was fun. And then I just sent it with Koski to the line.”

Adler did not succumb, edging out Koski for his first event win of the week, and giving him a 2-point lead on Krennikov with two tests to go. 


The Power of Community

By: Dan Froehlich

CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue

CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue | Photo by Tai Randall


Needing a place to train in the United States leading up to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison, CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue went searching for a gym close by with a worm.

What they found in Sheboygan’s MWG CrossFit, 96 miles from the Alliant Energy Center, was so much more.

After finishing second last year, the team went back this year because of the ease and familiarity, and friendliness they found.

“We had such a good experience with them as athletes and people,” gym owner Rachael Koenig said. “We were hoping they would make their way back to Sheboygan this summer for pre-camp.”

“It was easy to do the same (this year) because then you know everything,” team member Nicolay Billaudel said. “Where we will train, how the town is, where are we going to go to the groceries, buy the food. It’s pretty easy.”

MGW CrossFit member Jaslyn Posewit not only rented her house to the team and moved in with her parents this year, but also gifted each member a beaded bracelet in the red, blue, and white colors of Norway that spells out “Oslo Navy Blue.”

The team has been wearing the bracelet throughout the competition with one exception — as an event is about to start, they take them off and hand them to Athlete Control volunteer Lorna Hadley to hold until the event is over, retrieving it on the way off the floor always with a smile.

“It was one of the first heats when I was checking wrists and I told them they couldn’t go out with any words on,” Hadley said. “So they gave me the bands and they did well. As the weekend has gone on, when they see me they have to give me the band because it’s become that thing that they have to do because something might go wrong if we don’t. So we just do it. It’s become a superstition, a good luck charm.”

Koenig and her husband and a host of gym members, including Posewitz, have been in Madison cheering on their Norwegian friends.

“We wanted to make them feel at home, as well as give them a support system in Madison,” Koenig said. 

CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue finished third at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.  

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