A dominant performance on the women’s side coupled with clutch performances categorized the Individual competition at the Meridian Regional in Madrid, Spain.
Jamie Green started the competition atop the Leaderboard and never relinquished her spot, while fiancé Elliot Simmonds finished second to make his rookie Individual debut at the CrossFit Games. Meanwhile, Rasmus Andersen will return to the Games as an Individual for the second time, joined by his girlfriend Lauren Fisher. Fisher has competed at the Games as an Individual three times.
Also, two countries qualified their first Games athletes: Individual competitor Willy Georges from France and Team competitor CrossFit Norte Redondela from Spain.
Athletes across all divisions represented 23 countries at this year’s revamped Meridian Regional.
Simmonds never fell below second place overall and recorded two event wins over three days.
Going into the final event, he knew he was in first place and wanted to stay there. He ended up finishing ninth overall in the event with veterans Lukas Esslinger, Andersen and Phil Hesketh finishing in first, second and third, respectively.
“A bit disappointed that I took second,” he said as he was changing into his Reebok-provided podium shirt declaring him “Second.”
He added: “I wanted to hold on to it.”
Esslinger, who was standing next to Simmonds, had a poignant reminder for his fellow competitor.
At least Simmonds didn’t have to take first in the event just to take third overall, Esslinger said with a quick laugh.
Nonetheless, Simmonds was happy with his performance.
“I had a plan all weekend and I stuck to it.”
As part of the CrossFit Yas team, Simmonds placed third in the Games’ Affiliate Cup in 2016.
Third place in the men’s competition went to Esslinger, who had tied Simmonds with 488 points.
Coming in fourth was France’s Georges.
When the emcee announced Georges’ name, the crowd was nearly deafening, vigorously waving French flags from the stands.
On Thursday before the competition started, Greene simply said she wanted to qualify for the Games.
That changed after she recorded two second-place finishes in the Regional’s first two events.
“Once Day 1 was done, I was ready to kick it up,” Greene said minutes after she found out she had qualified for the Games a second time as an Individual.
Her comment came seconds before Simmonds, her fiancé, started the final event. She vowed to avoid seeing him compete.
“Ugh, I don’t want to watch,” she said. “I don’t watch anything else. I’m not watching now.”
Like the men’s competition, the women’s competition also saw a tiebreaker kick some hopefuls out of contention.
Oddrun Eik Gylfadottir managed to finish in third place, while fellow Individual Games rookie Stephanie Chung snagged the fourth and final qualifying spot after starting the day in eighth place overall.
Chung had tied with Alessia Joy Wälchli at 416 points. Wälchli ended up in fifth place.
“An unbelievable comeback after a hard Day 1” is how an emcee described Chung’s performance.
She placed 21st on Event 1 and 27th on Event 2 but improved to notch two fourth-place finishes on Day 2. On Sunday, Chung didn’t pull any punches on the second-to-last event, sneaking up on heat leaders Greene and Gylfadottir to record an event win by 36 seconds. Her fourth-place finish on the final event was enough to make her a Games athlete.
CrossFit Norte Redondela was the fourth and final Games-qualifying team an emcee announced Sunday morning at the Regional.
But you wouldn’t know it by the crowd’s reaction.
When fans heard the affiliate’s name, they erupted.
“Norte! Norte! Norte!” they endlessly chanted.
The squad is the first ever to qualify from Spain. It showed up in the Leaderboard’s top four Saturday and never left.
During the final team event, CrossFit Norte Redondela gave spectators a show. It was the first to complete 144 handstand push-ups and race to the Worm to complete a 144-ft. lunge before the 9-minute time cap. While the team wasn’t able to maintain its lead—CrossFit PBM of South Africa snuck up on it to finish ahead—CrossFit Norte Redondela finished second in the heat.
The event performance wasn’t enough to get CrossFit PBM in the top four, but fellow countryman Cape CrossFit Wolfpack did make it back to the Games after a six-year absence.
“Amazing. So happy. All these words,” said team member Matthew Bowerman minutes after an emcee announced his squad had finished second overall at the Regional.
Cape CrossFit Wolfpack team members credited their success to coach Chris Öman, head coach at the affiliate and a member of CrossFit Seminar Staff.
“I guess we trained like a wolf pack,” joked Nicole Warburg.
From now until the Games in August, the team will continue to be all business, Warburg said.
“Train our asses off even more.”
2018 Meridian Games Qualifiers
1. Rasmus Andersen (506)
2. Elliot Simmonds (488)
3. Lukas Esslinger (488)
4. Willy Georges (474)
1. Jamie Greene (582)
2. Lauren Fisher (456)
3. Oddrun Eik Gylfadottir (430)
4. Stephanie Chung (416)
1. CF Riviera Team (510)
2. Cape CrossFit Wolfpack (488)
3. CrossFit Valley Road (476)
4. CrossFit Norte Redondela (476)
For complete details, visit the Leaderboard.