April 5, 2013
Week Five in Review: Europe
By Jane Holgate

Fran with a twist — Infinity Fran — whatever name was put to it, 13.5 was a surprise to most and a challenge to all.

By the time Dave Castro was ready to announce 13.5, the speculation had reached fever pitch.

In Europe, most CrossFitters were full of excitement and anticipation as our own Samantha Briggs was in Santa Cruz, Calif., the birthplace of CrossFit, to go head-to-head with Camille Leblanc-Bazinet in front of a huge live and online audience.

The stage was set for a fitting end to the 2013 Open and the workout did not disappoint. Fran with a twist — Infinity Fran — whatever name was put to it, 13.5 was a surprise to most and a challenge to all.

With three European men finishing in the top 15 in the world, the upcoming Regional will be extremely exciting.

Mikko Salo continued to dominate and sent a clear message to his rivals that he is very serious about his comeback. The Fin, who trains at CrossFit Pori, finished second in the world, with only two-time Games champion Rich Froning ahead of him.

CrossFit Solid’s Lukas Högberg completed the Open 13th in the world and second in Europe, while Hungary’s Lacee Kovaks is 15th in the world and third in Europe.

Philip Bengtsson, of CrossFit Malmo, finished fourth, and CrossFit Reykjavik’s Frederik Aegidius finished fifth in Europe.

Samantha Briggs (CrossFit Black Five), remains in the USA on an extended training visit, and has dominated the world throughout the Open and finished on top with a record 16 points.

CrossFit Officine’s Martina Barbaro secured her second place (23rd in the world) and is likely to be one of Briggs’ main opponents at Regionals.

Icelandic women claim the next three places, making up in some way for the absence of Annie Thorisdottir.

Thuridur Erla Helgadottir (CrossFit Sport) holds the same Open position as 2012 and shares third place with Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir from CrossFit Stodin. With Hjordis Oskarsdottir (CrossFit Stodin) taking the fifth spot in Europe.

For the second year, CrossFit Reykjavik took the honors in the Team Division and the Icelanders will be hard to beat at Regionals. The team finished 22nd in the world.

Team Thor (also from Iceland and representing CrossFit Stodin) managed to get ahead of close Swedish rivals, CrossFit Nordic, to complete second and third slots.

The best result for 13.5 went to Denmark’s Team Butchers Garage, putting them sixth place.

In the Masters competition, the top 20 worldwide in each age bracket qualify directly for the Games. These rare places are hard earned and this year, five athletes from Europe qualified.

With the new Men’s 40-44 Division having over 400 competitors in Europe alone, qualifying for a place would be a great achievement for anyone, and CrossFit 020’s Erwin Van Beek put in an amazing effort to finish in 12th place.

In the Women’s 40-44 Division, Norway’s Anne Waage, not only finished 15th in the world, with a guaranteed place in at the Games, she also finished 18th in the Individual Division, giving her an enviable choice of competing at Regionals.

With a 13.5 score of 150, Rob Powell (CrossFit Ansbach) secured the final spot at the Games in the 45-49 Division.

In the 55-59 Division, CrossFit Sport’s Hilmar Hardarson will be traveling to California for the second time, having qualified in ninth, while Finland’s Anita Eskelinen (CrossFit Lappeenranta) has also qualified in an impressive sixth position.