August 9, 2013
Let the Games Begin
By Kevin Daigle
The top 10 (or so) athletes we’d love to see compete at the CrossFit Games
The top 10 (or so) athletes we’d love to see compete at the CrossFit Games
Uninvited guests: the top 10 (or so) athletes we'd love to see compete in the CrossFit Games.

11. LeBron James


Hail to the king?

Forget about Jordan vs. LeBron; the real match-up is LeBron vs. Froning. The 6’8”, 250-lb. Boy Who Would Be King makes for compelling TV. The guy is a legit athlete, no doubt, drafted right out of high school. Would that translate to CrossFit? Let’s see if a salary 76 times Rich Froning’s 2012 Games prize translates into fitness.


  • James has a standing reach of almost 9 feet, and wall-balls are his shit-house, bitch.
  • Rope climbs would be reduced to jump-and-reach.
  • James was also a standout football player; his athleticism would help him adapt to challenging movements.


  • Endurance events are rougher than a sandpaper enema for mammoth people who weigh a deuce-and-a-half.
  • Needs a custom-built pull-up rig so he doesn’t smash his dome.
  • The prize money at the Games doesn’t have enough digits to register on the James economic scale.

10. Hope Solo


Camille who?

Why we have Hope: the two-time Olympic gold medalist soccer goalkeeper has a physique that would fit right in at the CrossFit Games. We know that because she posed nude for ESPN the Magazine’s body issue in 2011. Camille who?


  • Hand-eye coordination that makes Luke Skywalker jealous. Look for her to dominate in a skills test, especially if it requires lateral movement.
  • Solo is relatively tall at 5’9” so she’d take to rowing like a midfielder to diving.
  • Whatever she’s doing, she, ahem, looks good doing it.


  • Being a goalkeeper, the longer events might hurt her. Short, explosive bursts might be more her thing.
  • Ultra-tacky goalie gloves definitely not allowed on pull-up bar.
  • Games do not stop and allow rest when someone fakes injury.

9. Dmitry Klokov


Humans breaking metal things make for compelling media.

Klokov is that guy that you see, then elbow your buddy in the ribs and say, “Dude.” He’s a human trapezius muscle and has no need for silliness like PVC pipes, or a neck. His freakish strength is well documented on YouTube. Could the big Russian hang in a burpee/400-meter run couplet? We’d like to see it. Sure, it’s possible he gets owned like a comatose guy in a chess match at anything without a barbell. But who doesn’t want to see this monster run a barbell ladder like it’s a warm-up and ask for more weight?


  • This dude is stronger than the Incredible Hulk under the care of Lance Armstrong’s “doctors.”
  • Klokov would destroy strength events like Super Bowls destroyed the Buffalo Bills in the early 90s.
  • Barbells.
  • Weights.


  • Klokov would probably struggle with Camp Pendleton, the Beach Event, and anything longer than two minutes.
  • Might ruin equipment; i.e., sending wall-balls into low Earth orbit.

8. Serena Williams


Would she be at home in the tennis stadium?

Williams has performed on the court at the StubHub Center before, but with a racquet. She’s regarded as the best women’s tennis player of all time. Could she translate that awesome core-to-extremity power to a barbell? She’s got four gold medals and 31 Grand Slams, and seeing her stack up with similar-sized athletes such as Becca Voigt and Elisabeth Akinwale would be a collision of disciplines not unlike Dale Earnhardt Jr. fighting Georges St. Pierre.


  • Have you seen her play tennis? Pure intimidation.
  • She’s well versed in core-to-extremity principles: her serves have been clocked at 128.6 mph and make racquets cry.
  • Williams’ tennis training could transfer well to intense, “sprinty” workouts.


  • Composure. She’s blown up over calls on the court, taking a page out of the John McEnroe tennis manual. Something tells me Dave Castro isn’t going to put up with that shit. Call it a hunch.
  • The Games are not as quiet and proper as Wimbledon, so the infamous tennis grunt might not be audible, unless she was mic’d up.

7. Floyd Mayweather


Can Mayweather take one on the chin from Fran?

The welterweight boxer is an undefeated professional. The man doesn’t know how to lose. Boxers are often held up as examples of elite-level conditioning (Rocky IV training montage, anyone?). Why not pit the best among them against the Fittest on Earth and see who gets it done? You can’t punch your way out of a CrossFit event, but perhaps some of those skills could help him survive Pyramid Double Helen.


  • “Money,” as he calls himself, is quicker than greased lightning. He’s as agile as a puma trained as a prima ballerina.
  • Mayweather is used to going hard until the final bell rings. That could be an asset in an AMRAP.


  • His conditioning might not be up to snuff, after his 90 days in jail in 2012 for a domestic battery on the mother of his three children. There are a lot of mothers competing at the Games. They might have something to say about that.
  • Boxing gloves definitely not suited to barbell events.
  • Might fight Tony Blauer in the stands for fun and miss event.
  • Not Chuck Norris.

6. Jackie Joyner-Kersee


She’s a legend.

She’s a legend. Joyner-Kersee competed in four Olympic Games for the U.S.A., earning three gold medals, one silver, and two bronze. Two golds came in heptathlon, for which she still holds a world record that has stood since 1986. The women’s heptathlon consists of 100-meter hurdles, shot put, high jump, 200-meter sprint, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run, so she’s far from a one-trick pony. She jumps like a kangaroo-jack-rabbit on Sudafed and at one point held the long-jump world record with a leap of 24.6 feet. That will clear a full-size pick-up truck—the long way.


  • Joyner-Kersee is a world-class competitor in running, throwing and jumping.
  • Her athleticism will be an advantage in the “unknown and unknowable.”
  • Jumping ability points to powerful hip extension, so it’s possible she’d be a force in the fast lifts.


  • Her longest native event is the 800 meters, so challenges lasting more than three minutes might not be in her wheelhouse.
  • Insistence on wearing all gold medals during competition definitely reduces efficiency in swim events.

5. Bode Miller

It’d be interesting to have a “villain” in the sport of fitness.

Why we want to see Bode Miller at the Games: it’d be interesting to have a “villain” in the sport of fitness. Miller is a bad mofo and the greatest American alpine skier of all-time. The guy doesn’t give a fuck what people think about him, having talked about skiing wasted in competition. It would be morbidly intriguing to see him run his mouth and try the Track Triplet after a few cocktails.


  • Miller has the confidence of Muhammad Ali, which will pay off in unknown, novel events.
  • The skier has quads that make bodybuilders jealous. Squatting will be a good time.
  • After a couple of martinis, he’ll have the pain tolerance of William Wallace.


  • Coordination and accuracy might be impaired under the influence of grandpa’s cough medicine.
  • Ski poles potentially fall outside Games equipment rules.
  • Media bad boy might cost Games team broken cameras.

4. Steve Prefontaine


...packing the gear to be one hell of a CrossFit athlete.

Why we’d want him at the Games: Pre was one of the hardest motherfuckers in the history of sports. He once said, “I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.” The middle- and long-distance runner knew how to go to the “place” in a physical test before anyone else knew there was a place to go. Mentally, he was packing the gear to be one hell of a CrossFit athlete.


  • Endurance. Period.
  • Running: Pre once held American records in seven distances from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.
  • Mental game: “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.” ’Nuff said.


  • He wasn’t exactly an Adonis of rippling muscle. The heavies would get the best of him.
  • Trademark mustache revealed too early for Movember fundraising efforts.
  • Dead.

3. Mary Lou Retton


The first American to win the all-around Olympic title in gymnastics.

Why Mary Lou: she’s the first American to win the all-around Olympic title in gymnastics. Her skill set would definitely be an asset at the Games. We’d love to see her make rings, pull-ups, handstand walks and perhaps round off back handspring back tucks look like playground tricks.


  • Gymnastics. Retton would crush body-weight elements like Klokov handles barbells.
  • A winning attitude and bubbly personality. She’d have no problem with the rigors of the CrossFit Games. Potential media darling.


  • Retton is tiny, standing 4’8” tall. Might pull a 20-minute 2K row. She would still be in the velodrome working on the 21,097 meters of this year's half-marathon row.
  • Her absolute strength could be limiting when the barbells come out.
  • Did not mention Zone blocks in ’80 McDonald’s commercials.

2. Bo Jackson


Bo knows CrossFit?

Bo knows fucking everything. Jackson is among the few multisport pro athletes. He was an American League All-Star for the Kansas City Royals in MLB and still holds the rushing record for Monday Night Football (221 yards). He was fast, too. Jackson qualified for NCAA nationals in the 100 meters with a time of 10.44 seconds. The Bo Knows ad campaign had Jackson doing everything from luge, to tennis to playing the blues with the legendary Bo Diddley. Why, he even practiced archery in the clubhouse before every baseball game. Bo knows bows!


  • Bo knows accuracy. Jackson can put the boom right where he wants it. He proved it on a lead-off dinger in the 1989 MLB all-star game and another that he had promised his late mother on the first swing of his first at bat after returning from hip surgery.
  • Pure athleticism: Was there anything Bo didn’t know? Reports from coaches and teammates say no. The diversity of Games events is right up Bo’s alley.


  • Bo knows artificial hips. He’s had his hip replaced, and it affected his speed when he returned to pro baseball.
  • Might leave the Games at halfway point to pinch hit for the L.A. Dodgers.
  • Could attempt to snap barbell over head in frustration with missed lift.

1. Jim Thorpe


Regularly learn and play new sports.

Regularly learn and play new sports: Jim Thorpe was doing this long before any of us did our first kipping pull-up. He’s been called the greatest athlete of the 20th century, having won gold medals for pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Congratulating him, King Gustav V of Sweden said to the Native American athlete, “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.” King Gus had a good case. During his lifetime, Thorpe played professional baseball, football and basketball. In college, he threw some lacrosse and ballroom dancing in, too. He was a pioneer for racial equality in sports, way ahead of his time.


  • Thorpe was there before Bo and was good at everything he tried.
  • He’d be that guy that shows up to your gym and smashes your Fran PR by a minute–in his first ever workout. Dick.


  • Strength training wasn’t well understood or widely practiced by athletes in Thorpe’s time. If there was anything that might limit him, it could be barbells.
  • Not well versed in modern supplements. Could mistake pre-workout supplements for post-workout recovery aids.
  • Potentially conflicted by desire to compete in Team, Masters and Individual events at the same time.
  • Dead.
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