February 28, 2012
Week One in Review: Europe
By Peter de Sury

What could be worse than seven minutes of burpees? (Hell, perhaps.)


This workout has shaken things up. One thing is clear - 2012 is not on track to be a repeat of 2011.

The men's worldwide and European winner, Danila Shokhin of Russia, is completely new to CrossFit Games competition. He trounced the competition with an incredible 161 burpees in just seven minutes. 

The Fittest Woman on Earth, Annie Thorisdottir, is used to taking 1st place but it didn't happen on this workout. Instead, Sam Briggs (4th 2011 CrossFit Games), took first in Europe and 19th in the world with 133 burpees. 

Will the quake continue or will Open Workout 12.1 be an anomaly? We'll have to wait to see what the next four workouts bring.


Danila Shokhin, a Russian athlete who had a background in sport aerobics and artistic gymnastics did an incredible 161 reps, 1st for the region, but also topping the world and claiming the $2,012 prize with his video submission shot at a globo gym in Russia. 

Tied at 2nd place are two athletes: Sebastian Langvad from CrossFit Oslo, and Jonas Muller from CrossFit Turicum in Zurich, Switzerland. They are both relatively new to CrossFit. Langvad is active in the military and Mueller comes from a background in professional soccer.

The big story of the first workout is on who is missing out: Tuomas Vainio, last year's Fittest Man in Europe and 19th at the Games is sitting out due to a shoulder operation.

Of last year's Games qualifiers only Mikko Arompaa, the 2nd Fittest Man in Europe, appears on the Leaderboard at 86th place.


Sam Briggs has confirmed her status as a strong Games contender and appears to be already in top condition, prevailing against Annie Thorisdottir by five burpees. Briggs shares 1st place with Thuridur Erla Helgadottir from CrossFit Sport in Iceland. 

Maura Vergara from Italy holds 3rd place. Vergara is a former professional dancer and currently is a yoga instructor.

Sitting in 4th place with the 2011 Fittest Woman on Earth, Thorisdottir, are three other women: Sara Ellegaard Andreasen from CrossFit OBBC in Denmark, Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir from CrossFit BC Iceland, and Emma Keen, a Welsh hockey player who trains at CrossFit 365.

There is definitely something in the water in Iceland. Five out of the top nine athletes are from Iceland.

Checking down the Leaderboard for 2011’s top four Regionals finishers and 2011 CrossFit Games contenders, we find Jenny Jacobsen at 19th place. However, there is no sign of Helga Torfadottir, 2011 4th place finisher, on the Leaderboard. 

Other names like Caroline Fryklund, Marianna Tzourtzek, Hayley Knowles, Essi Koskinen and Martina Barbaro, all in the top 10 at last year’s Regional, appear on the front page of the Leaderboard,
confirming their hard work during the offseason.


With the exponential growth of participants, Europe finally seems to have started to establish a strong presence in all age categories. The Leaderboard shows global rankings, as only the top 20 of each age group go directly to Carson, Calif., this July.

In the 45-49 Men’s division, a former street dancer Karl Dyall from CrossFit Solid Stockholm is in 4th place.

Anita Eskelinen of Finland comes from cross-country skiing and also clinches 4th in the 50-54 Women.

Flying straight to the top of the 55-59 Masters Men’s division are CrossFit Dragon’s John Lugg and CrosssFit Sport Iceland's Hilmar Hardarson. A relative newcomer to CrossFit, Lugg used to play professional rugby whilst Hardarson has no background in sport and is a professional fisherman.


Harder to analyze, the Team Leaderboard respects the forecasted dominance of northern Europe teams, with CrossFit BC Iceland at the top after last year’s brilliant 3rd place finish. 

They are joined in the top three by UK’s team DC and CrossFit Reykjavik from Iceland again. Two Swedish teams, CrossFit Malmo and CrossFit Solid complete the top five. There have been some surprising performances in the first workout by young, well-conditioned athletes, which have enhanced their boxes rankings, explaining partially why, more experienced boxes with strength-biased members such as CrossFit Butcher’s Garage, a 2011 CrossFit Games Affiliate Cup qualifying team, is in 20th place.

The excitement has just begun and Europe is strongly committed to be in the top part of the global Leaderboard.

*The scores and rankings are unofficial until Tuesdays at 5 p.m., PT.