When you’re a recent CrossFit Games champion, you aren’t expected to compete at regionals. You’re expected to dominate.
Last year at the Games, Sam Briggs showed she was far and way the class of the field and won her first CrossFit Games title by 99 points. She’ll be expected to return to the Games in 2014, but this year’s Europe Regional won’t be the cakewalk it was in 2013, where she won four events, collected only 13 points and cruised to Carson well ahead of second-place Caroline Fryklund.
In 2014, Briggs will go up against Annie Thorisdottir in Denmark in one of two regionals featuring past champs locking crowns. If the Rich Froning-Graham Holmberg matchup in the mighty Central East is exciting, Briggs-Thorisdottir is electrifying at 220 V: the two women are the only ones to stand atop the CrossFit Games podium since 2011.
On the men’s side of the Krone, the Games spots are very much up for grabs. Last year, Europe sent four men to the Games after past champ Mikko Salo took second to Lacee Kovacs, but both are out this year, the former due to sickness during the Open and the latter due to a shoulder injury. Fourth-place Mikko Aronpää is living in Asia now, leaving only Danish prince Frederik Aegidius standing beside 2012 Games athlete Numi Katrinarson.
While many consider the women’s competition a formality, the men’s remains a mystery.
The hang snatches and a handstand walk tested the individuals first, and it was a Heat 1 athlete who used the two events to climb to the top of the Leaderboard.
Filip Yang Fisker of Aarhus CrossFit in Denmark lifted 265 to tie David Carlsson for first in Event 1, but it was his Event 2 performance that had fans at the Ballerup Super Arena screaming.
When other athletes looked tentative or hesitant before the handstand walk, Fisker looked almost like a sprinter coiled into the blocks, and he kicked up as soon as the event started. With even steps and a very consistent pace, he employed a small leg kick to generate some momentum on each step.