There was no time for pep talks.
At the traditional athlete reception Tuesday evening at the Marriott in Manhattan Beach, California, CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro was efficient. He revealed details of team and individual events and never-before-seen equipment, including a three-person axle bar for deadlifts and a Snail more akin to a padded, oversized barrel than a fitness implement. Castro ended the reception by telling individual athletes to be prepared to board a bus that would leave the Marriott at 3:30 a.m. He revealed no further specifics.
“I knew he was going to do some Navy SEAL shit. I knew it,” said seven-time Games competitor Christy Adkins, referencing Castro’s decade-long career as a Seal. “It’s our sick nature that we’re all more excited than anything else.”
At a dinner the night before, Castro had told individual athletes one of their events would be a 500-meter swim in which all 80 competitors would be in one heat. However, he did not reveal anything further, including when the event would happen. Moments later, athletes began hypothesizing how the swim would manifest itself.
“I’m a little nervous that we’re gonna go a bit farther (out in the ocean) and swim out to a barge,” said three-time Games competitor Marcus Filly.
During 2014’s beach event involving kettlebell thrusters and burpees, Filly said swimming in the ocean made him nervous. He recalled thinking, “Shit, I might want to get pulled out.” Filly finished 37th in the event.
Josh Bridges, a retired Navy Seal, seemed calm and unconcerned following Castro’s announcements.
“Yeah, it’ll be fun,” he said with a smile.
Bridges said he suspected the swim event would be more than just a simple out and back from the shore. Of Wednesday morning, he said he expects a long run with weight, “if I had to guess.”
“It’s gonna be the CrossFit Games, so it’s gonna be tough,” Bridges noted.
“Maybe you’ll get that mile swim you were hoping for,” Bridges told Mat Fraser as both men made their way to the athlete briefing that occurred seconds after Castro’s reveals.
Fraser replied: “I hope it’s 2!”
For his part, four-time Games champion Rich Froning Jr. had no regrets about leaving individual competition.
“Heck no,” he said emphatically after hearing the 3:30 a.m. call time. “I’m glad I’m where I’m at.”
As far as the team events, the 500-m relay swim was welcomed, as Froning’s squad swims frequently.
“Murph’ll be fun,” he continued. “It’ll be interesting.”
Teams will run while carrying one teammate on a stretcher; teams will have to switch who is on the stretcher at designated points, Castro said.
“It slows it down,” said Froning, captain of CrossFit Mayhem Freedom.
That’s one detail Natan Geva was eagerly anticipating.
“My first thought was, ‘Yes, I get to lie down for a little bit,’” he said with a laugh.
The axle bar, on the other hand, will be difficult to coordinate, noted Geva, a member of CrossFit Yas out of the United Arab Emirates.
“Two people is tricky, now (you have) three.”
Geva added, grinning: “I don’t think you can practice anything like that when you have to build the equipment first.”
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For more details on announced events, click here.