By Kelley Laxton
Rebecca Fuselier during Event 5 | Photo by Kieran Kesner
The stairs are looming.
Rebecca Fuselier stands at the base of the capitol building looking up at the punishing path ahead of her, the 150-lb Husafell sitting at her feet. The time of tribulation is just beginning.
At the base of each landing, Fuselier bends down into a squat, resting her head in her hands. She raises her eyes to look up at the mountain still to climb before standing back up to conquer another flight.
No other competitors are chasing her down. No time cap to dismiss her suffering. It seems as though Fuselier has no force to push her forward besides her own grit and determination.
But she's not alone.
Pausing on the platform, rubbing her hands together as if in prayer, she turns her head to see hundreds of fans rallying at the rear.
Fuselier hoists the bag up with her admirers following close behind, climbing the final hill until she reaches the peak.
Welcome to CrossFit.
By Kelley Laxton
Ricky Garard during Event 5 | Photo by Charlotte Foerschler
“There’s a term in horse racing called ‘mudders.’ And they’re not the fastest horse, they’re not the most conditioned horse, but when the conditions are at their worst, those are the ones that win the races,” Chase Ingraham said. “When I look at Ricky Garard, I see a mudder. An athlete that performs in the most inopportune conditions.”
Individual Event 5, The Capitol, was a grueling chipper full of inopportune conditions. Establishing himself at the front of the pack at the beginning of the 3.5-mile run, Garard put his head down and accepted the pain.
When the three leading men — Garard, Roman Khrennikov, and Lazar Đukić — approached the Jerry bags, it was down to who was toughest. Who had the grit to keep hold of the heavy objects the longest. Who wanted it most.
After five years of pent-up competitive fire, Garard wanted it most.
The men’s field surrendered to his strength, allowing him to secure his second event win of the week.
Consistency for Kerstetter
By Karley Ice-Kalinay
In 2021, Justin Medeiros proved you don’t have to win every event to be crowned the Fittest on Earth. So far this year, Olivia Kerstetter is following in his footsteps, leading the Girls 16-17 division with just one event win out of five events thus far. Her victory came in Mixed Mode Madness, which she won by more than 14 seconds.
Kerstetter’s biggest threat, however, is Trista Smith, who's been training with Medeiros leading up to the Games.
In Parallel Elizabeth, Kerstetter and Smith reached the barbell for the set of 9 squat cleans at the same time, but Smith — who has a background in gymnastics — was faster on the parallel bars, finishing about 20 seconds before Kerstetter for the event win.
In Mixed Mode Madness, the teens faced three rounds of different skills and Kerstetter crossed the finish line in two out of the three to secure her first win and respond to her close second place earlier in the day.
Headed into Day 3, Kerstetter has a 50-point lead ahead of Smith.
By Dan Froehlich
Jason Grubb and Mike Kern | Photo by Johany Jutras
Jason Grubb and Mike Kern are no strangers to the CrossFit Games — or each other. The two have thrice dueled on the sport’s biggest stage, also crossing paths at other masters-level events around the country throughout the year.
For Grubb, the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games marks his fourth Games appearance: He, took fourth in the 40-44 division in 2018 before winning it one year later. Last year, he aged up to the 45-49 division — and won that one, too. Pretty impressive for someone who only started CrossFit in 2015.
Kern, who started CrossFit in 2013, has been to the Gamesfive times now, standing on the podium in 2016 (40-44) and 2021 (45-49), taking second both times.
Heading into Friday’s two-event day, it was Kern who held the lead on Grubb, winning Thursday’s first event, Three Ways Down, and taking second in Max Trio and third in Skills Chipper for a 10-point overall lead.
Grubb struck first in Friday’s first event, winning Parallel Elizabeth in 6:13 while Kern took second in 6:43, putting the two in a tie heading into Mixed Mode Madness.
“It’s annoying,” Grubb said with a grin after the win. “(Mike) won’t slow down. He’s a tremendous athlete. I appreciate his push, especially in events like this where he’s right next to me. It forces me to go into a new gear, into another gear. He is relentless, and apparently he’s not slowing down. I got my work cut out.”
Friday’s finale, Mixed Mode Madness, saw more of the same with Grubb the first to the line in the muscle-up interval while Kern bested him in both the snatches and rowing intervals. But it wasGrubb who went unbroken on the 20 muscle-ups and held the edge in the event by 31-plus seconds and at the end of the day by 20 points.
“It’s an ongoing rivalry,” Kern said. “I knew he had me in the (muscle-ups). Once you’re up, you have to stay up. I knew I had to keep it close and try and beat him in the other two, but I think he got me because he really smashed me in the first part. We got three more (events) tomorrow. We got more to do.”
By Kelley Laxton
Tia-Clair Toomey and CrossFit Mayhem Freedom | Design by Erin Garcia
It was a shocking start to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
The fittest woman and team for the last five years fell into the shadows during the first two days of the Games. Tia-Clair Toomey tumbled down the leaderboard after a 23rd-place finish in Skill Speed Medley, while the CrossFit Mayhem Freedom was looking at the red-and-white leader’s jerseys on the backs of CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue for two days straight.
Chatter began to spread. Were we going to see new faces at the top of the podium this year? Not so fast — playtime is over.
It’s officially Freedom Friday. Team Mayhem Freedom returned to its roots, securing its first event win of the 2022 CrossFit Games in Event 5, Muscle Pig. The team returned to the Coliseum for the final event of the day in the leader’s jerseys at last. In a ferocious game of tag between CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue and CrossFit Reykjavik, the team members did what they did best, sweeping the events for the day and setting the best Handstand Machine time of the 10 teams to finish below the time cap.
Day 3 was also redemption day for the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth. After a third-place finish in Event 5, The Capitol, Toomey returned to the top — previously guarded by 18-year-old Mal O’Brien — by just two points.
Toomey donned the red and white proudly, determined to quiet the noise. She continued to widen her lead over O’Brien in Events 6 and 7, crossing the finish line over a minute ahead of second-place finisher O’Brien in Up and Over and taking second in Echo Press, adding 97 more points to her score.
Toomey will enter Day 4 with a 44-point lead over O’Brien.