Mat Fraser hates second place.

“Fuck second place,” he said in “Fittest On Earth,” a CrossFit documentary about the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games, directed by Heber Cannon, Marston Sawyers and Ian Wittenber. “You’re the fucking winner of losers.”

Though he had been in the lead going into Event 8 (the Soccer Chipper) at the Games last year, failure on the legless rope climbs after fatiguing from the 100-foot, 560-lb. Pig flip resulted in a devastating tie for 32nd in the event—which Ben Smith won— and proved to be more lost ground than Fraser could make up. For the second year, Fraser earned silver at the Games.

“I just remember going back to the athlete area to an empty room and it just being like a devastating feeling,” he said in the documentary. “I wanted the Games to finish surrounded by friends and family; hugs, everyone happy, but it was the exact opposite. I finished it by myself in an empty room with nothing but disappointment.”

Ten months later, at the East Regional in Albany, New York, first place was still on his mind.

“(After) training all year round to be the best, anything less than that is a disappointment,” he said.   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY 

Sometimes the best perspective comes from a stint in the stands.

Sheila Barden and Jennifer Smith will return to the Games after a year—two, for Smith—of being on the outside looking in. Both athletes missed qualification in 2015 by just one spot, while Smith missed by two in 2014. And for both women, it was a mindset metamorphosis that brought them back to the top.   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY 

THE PROFESSOR'S GRADUATION

At the West Regional, Brent Fikowski took almost 4 seconds to walk the 10 feet between his barbell and the finish mat after Event 6’s last 225-lb. overhead squat. He could’ve taken 17 seconds longer and still won the event; his leisurely finish at 10:06.74 also swiped the event record from Noah Ohlsen, who finished almost 4 seconds slower.

Fikowski let the weight bounce once on the floor, looking left and right before stepping to the mat, pounding his chest twice above his heart. He walked with the assurance of an athlete who knew he couldn’t be caught—and he wouldn’t be. The 25-year-old accountant won the West Regional by a margin of 70 points, taking two event wins, five top-three finishes and never placing outside the top seven.

“It was a surreal ride; a perfect mix of complete relaxation and total focus,” he wrote on social media Monday night.

Though he’ll be a rookie in Carson, his Games qualification was years in the making. After starting CrossFit in 2012, he took sixth in his first regional appearance in 2013 at the Australia Regional. He hovered near qualification for the next two years, taking third in Canada West in 2014 and seventh in the West in 2015, coming within 1 and 2 points of qualification each year, respectively.

“I try not to look back on it with too much anger or resentment or regret,” he said. “It's not healthy, and that sort of mindset would impact the rest of my life, and I think it would maybe impact my performance as well.”   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY

NEW FACES IN THE SOUTH 

Like an encore one year later, two-time Games athlete Roy Gamboa and 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet reprised their 2015 roles as regional victors with top podium finishes in the South Regional last weekend.

What wasn’t as set in stone was which individuals would take the other eight tickets to Carson. All weekend, second through fifth place on both the men’s and women’s leaderboards jumped around like popcorn, and when the dust settled, six rookies earned their first tickets to Carson.   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY 

bIG WAVES IN THE PACIFIC

While one hemisphere of the CrossFit world slept, the Pacific Regional crowned its fittest athletes, the five women, men and teams that will represent Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Asia in the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games. It was no surprise that veterans like four- and five-time Games athletes Kara Webb and Rob Forte reclaimed top qualifying spots; what made the biggest waves in the Pacific was the fact that 50 percent of the individual qualifiers are rookies.   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY

CENTRAL EAST UPDATE DAY 1

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio]

Fifth Third Arena is big. But not big enough to hide the elephant in the room: For the first time since 2010, only three men will qualify for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games out of the Central East Regional.

Three years ago, Rich Froning and Graham Holmberg pre-qualified for the 2011 Games, leaving the top three regional spots for Dan Bailey, Joseph Weigel and Nick Urankar.

After 2010 and 2011 champions Holmberg and Froning each qualified alongside Bailey in 2012, Scott Panchik and Marcus Hendren claimed the two additional spots. The two former champs did it again in 2013, sending another total of five men to the Games last year.

The women of the Central East tell a similar story, as three-time CrossFit Games athlete Julie Foucher returns after a year focusing on medical school to compete against 2013 qualifiers Jennifer Smith, Lindy Barber and fellow three-time Games competitor, Michelle Kinney.

Grab the (Paleo) popcorn.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL EAST TEAM REPORT DAY 1

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio]

The Central East’s got new digs.

After three years calling the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus home, the Central East Regional has moved more than 100 miles southwest to the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena, home of the Cincinnati Bearcats volleyball and basketball teams.

With 360-degree stadium seating, there’s room for hundreds to scrutinize Rich Froning’s hang snatch from every angle. And if anyone managed to find a bad seat, they could just look to the live broadcast on the jumbotron suspended above the heads of the fittest in the Central East.

“It’s a lot bigger, and very nice and professional,” said Angela Satterfield from her perch in one of the arena’s upper balconies. “We’ve got great seats. We’re looking forward to watching everyone from up here.”

The teams of the Central East were the first to break in the new regional floor.

Only three of the top ten regional teams from 2013 were seeded in the top ten going into the weekend this year: CrossFit Naptown, CrossFit Maximus and CrossFit Mayhem.

The latter two teams each vie for a return trip to the CrossFit Games, while CrossFit Naptown will attempt to atone for a narrow miss -- the team placed fourth by just two points after the final event last year.

But this year, there’s a new team at the top: CrossFit Conjugate Black.

The worldwide winner of the 2014 Open, CrossFit Conjugate Black is composed of six competitors who qualified as individuals for the Central East Regional. Though the affiliate sent a team to the regional in 2013, the team has a new roster and numbers to stand on, after taking three first-place finishes in the Open this year.

And for CrossFit Conjugate Black, winning seems to be a trend, taking first place in the first three events of the weekend.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL EAST UPDATE DAY 2

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio}

Though Fifth Third Arena was packed with more than 4,100 bodies for the day’s events, a chill swept through arena this afternoon.

It was only partially the breeze; the main cause of goosebumps was Day 2 fever. The welcome party is over and it was time to get serious.

On both the men’s and women’s sides, past CrossFit Games athletes began the second day of competition uncomfortably far from the podium. While Marcus Hendren, Graham Holmberg and Michelle Kinney went into Events 4 and 5 less than 10 points away from third place overall, 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games athletes Jennifer Smith and Lindy Barber would have to claw their way through 19- and 20-point gaps over two events to end Day 2 in podium contention.

“Today, shit happened,” Barber wrote in a post on social media Friday night. “But tomorrow is a new day. A brand new day and a fresh start that I can't wait to have. I learned last week from Stacie Tovar that if I'm not smiling, I'm not having fun. So tomorrow I promise I will keep smiling and keep winking.”

And though the strict handstand push-ups and legless rope climbs of the day’s two events favored experienced veterans, the crowd would leave Fifth Third Arena with new names on its radar.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL EAST TEAM REPORT DAY 2

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio]

Yesterday, team CrossFit Conjugate Black became the Rich Froning of the team competition, turning a 30-team event into a one-team show. The team went three for three on event wins on Day 1, snagging an event record (in Event 2) to boot. 

With muscle-ups, heavy barbells and handstand walks in first three events, the Cincinnati team left no doubt that it’s built of athletes who each have the skills and the strength to hold their own as individuals -- in fact, if CrossFit Conjugate Black teammate Sam Dancer had been competing as an individual, he would have taken home an event record with his 295-lb. hang squat snatch. 

Today, the hometown powerhouse had to prove that they’re not just six talented CrossFit athletes in matching neon shorts, but that they have the savvy to negotiate the floor as one team.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL EAST UPDATE DAY 3

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio]

Two years ago, Rich Froning and Julie Foucher claimed the top podium spots at the 2012 Central East Regional. Today, the duo brought us back in time, re-creating their 2012 finishes with top spots in 2014.

For Froning, 2014 marks his third consecutive regional win.

"It's hard fought. Gets harder and harder every year,” Froning said.

Though Central East fans never tire of watching the champ do his champion thing—like taking five first-place finishes and one event record across seven events—on the men’s side, the 2014 Central East Regional was all about Scott Panchik.

In his second successive silver-medal finish, Panchik finished his third regional with one tie for first and three second-place finishes. With 10 points between him and Froning, it’s the closest anyone has come to touching the champ since Dan Bailey took second place in 2012.

A new face will join veterans at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games. In his second regional appearance, Will Moorad placed third, edging out Graham Holmberg by just one point.

On the women’s side, Julie Foucher makes her triumphant return. After a year spending more time in the library than the gym, she reclaimed her top spot with 14 points and four first-place finishes across seven events.

In second place, newcomer Nicole Holcomb from CrossFit 812 will make her debut at the CrossFit Games in California, alongside veteran Michelle Kinney, who edged out Alyssa Ritchey by a threadbare three-point margin.

“It's another dream come true,” Kinney said.” I really value going to the Games so much, so every trip out there is a complete blessing and I just cherish every moment."  

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL EAST TEAM REPORT DAY 3

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Central East Regional—Cincinnati, Ohio]

At the start of the season the Director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro, said that the Open was designed to determine the fittest.

The Open seems to have done its job.

After eight regional events, the teams representing the Central East Region at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games are the region’s top teams in the Open, CrossFit Conjugate Black (21 points), CrossFit NapTown Blue (46 points) and CrossFit Maximus (48 points).

"It's still in that point that it's hard to put words to it,” said CrossFit Conjugate Black teammate Hunter Britt. “We hoped for it, but now it's actually happened so it's pretty nice."

The podium finish came as sweet relief for CrossFit NapTown Blue, who missed qualification last year by two points.

CrossFit NapTown Blue teammate Peter Brasovan described the feeling as "incredible, incredible absolutely,” after the team secured their first trip to the Games.

With a barrier of just seven points between CrossFit Maximus and fourth-place team SPC CrossFit before the final event, CrossFit Maximus can finally relax, now that they hold their ticket to Carson.

"I kinda feel relieved,” said teammate Jennifer Bradford. “We had so many ups and downs this week, so I'm kinda relieved right now and pretty excited."  

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA TEAM REPORT DAY 1

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

Latin America is done playing kid brother.

As the stands in the Chimkowe Event Center in Santiago, Chile, trembled under the weight of scores of bellowing spectators—and one small drum corps—it was clear CrossFit is fully-grown below the equator.

Just five years ago, you could count the number of Latin American affiliates on one hand. Today, the region boasts nearly 500 from more than 17 nations.

Some athletes, like Reebok CrossFit St. Thomas teammate Jessie Murphy, traveled thousands of miles to compete with the fittest in Latin America. She spent an entire night on a plane two days before Day 1, stretching her hamstrings with a mobility band at the airport gate.

Murphy said “mobilization, Tiger Balm and Z-Quil” was her strategy for staying fresh during the 10-hour flight.

As the region has grown, so has the competition. Only nine teams competed at the 2012 Regional in Cali, Colombia; this weekend, 26 will vie for the podium.

For the past two years, Team CrossFit 7 Mile has dominated the regional competition, not only winning the single team spot at both the 2012 and 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games, but also taking first place in 12 out of 13 combined regional events for those years.

However, the powerhouse from the Cayman Islands disbanded this year, leaving one question in its wake: Which team will be the next to represent Latin America in Carson, California?

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA UPDATE DAY 1

[2104 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

This morning, team BIGG Friends from Argentina took Latin America by surprise with two event wins to start the day.

But after teams and individuals swapped places on the competition floor, all eyes were on former two-time South West Regional competitor Leonidas Jenkins of CrossFit Coco Beach in Costa Rica, the first-place finisher in the Open in Latin America this year.

After placing 14th in the South West Regional last year, Jenkins became the first man since 2012 to best two-time CrossFit Games competitor Orlando Trejo in the Open. Ten points separated Jenkins from Trejo, who finished the Open in second place.

However, fans should soak in the spectacle while they can.

Jenkins, a former wrestler, triathlete and mixed-martial artist said his first year as an individual in his new region might also be his last.

“I have been competing in individual sports my entire life,” Jenkins, 31, said. “I have never been a member of a team, really, and if I compete again I would like to be able to share the experience with other people.”

The afternoon began with heavy load overhead.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA TEAM REPORT DAY 2

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

The party came back to the Chimkowe Event Center on Day 2.

CrossFit BIGG and CrossFit Tuluka brought back the drums, and a legion of giant purple flags to accompany them. Not to be outdone, on the other side of the stands, fans of CrossFit BEF waved a 10-foot banner to support their team.

With muscle-ups, handstand walks and strict handstand push-ups required of teams within the first two days of competition, this year’s regional events send a single message, loud and clear: the fittest teams of 2014 will be the most well-rounded.

But stellar skills are just the foundation. Brawn is just a tool; it’s brains that wield it.

Events 4 and 5 forced teams work as single entities, two athletes becoming a human squat rack while a third worked in the couplet of thrusters and rope ascents.

Event 6 was all about strategy—was it better to complete all the reps, or get the best-penalized time?   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA UPDATE DAY 2

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Though legless rope climbs have appeared in CrossFit.com WODs and videos dating as far back as 2009, new CrossFit athletes may not have considered them until the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Event, Legless.

The event rewarded athletes who took note last July and took to the rope over the year. Those who dismissed Legless as a stand-alone event or parlor trick only performed on the big stage at the Games, paid the price for their disregard.

But first, athletes had to prove that CrossFit is about more than kipping.

In the descending triplet of handstand push-ups, front squats and burpees, the handstand push-ups had to be performed strict.  CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA TEAM REPORT DAY 3

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

Latin America will send one family to represent nearly 500 affiliates at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games: the BIGG Friends family.

Named after Bigg CrossFit Recoleta’s foundersIgnacio Alsogaray and Barbara Mazzoni—team BIGG Friends sealed its spot at the CrossFit Games with 39 points after eight events, one-point less than second-place finishers, SP CrossFit Hulks Team.

Though Bigg CrossFit Recoleta has only been open a year-and-a-half, its team finished in the top 10 in seven events, including two first-place finishes in Events 2 and 3.

“We are really happy,” said team member Nacho Perillo. “We (made) a great effort. This is our first competition, and we (showed) to all that the sacrifice (was) rewarding.”

The team’s fans, clad in white capes reading “BIGG,” erupted in song after the team tied CrossFit SP Hulks Team for second in Event 8 and taking first overall: “No puedo parar este sentimiento (I can’t stop this feeling) … ole, ole, ole!”

The win meant just as much to the team’s community of support as it did to the athletes on the floor.

“We are really excited about going to (the) Games,” said a fan and member of the affiliate. “We are really close as a community, that's (why we are called) ‘BIGG Friends.’ To us, athletes are everything.”   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

LATIN AMERICA UPDATE DAY 3

[2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Latin America Regional—Santiago, Chile]

An epoch has ended in Latin America, as two-time CrossFit Games athlete, Orlando Trejo, will not return to Carson, California this year.

Emmanuel Maldonado, of CrossFit SJU in Puerto Rico, will take his place as the sole representative of the region at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.

“I've been training a lot for this regional in order to be strong,” said the 24-year-old victor. “I left home, my box, my community (and) Puerto Rico, and I came here to give my best.”

After beginning CrossFit in 2012, Maldonado took seventh place in his first regional appearance in 2013, finishing two events in the top 10.

This weekend, however, he only fell outside the top 10 once. Though he did not win any events, his victory proved consistency and well roundedness trumps all.

“I’m ready to represent Latin America,” Maldonado said.

Trejo’s fate was all but sealed at the end of Day 2.

After a 42nd-place finish in the Event 5—10 rounds of legless rope climbs and sprints—he began the final day of competition in seventh place overall with a 28-point barrier between him and the podium.

“You can't know how your body is going to react,” Trejo said after all was said and done. “You don't know for sure when you are going to feel great or not. For me, this was the year that I failed. But I will keep moving forward, training and training. And I'm really glad because everyone has improved a lot and that's the most important thing.”

On the women’s side, Wanda Brenton can now call herself an individual CrossFit Games competitor. This will be her first year going to the Games without the aid of her team, CrossFit 7 Mile.

The overall winner with 23 points, Brenton took home three event wins and two second-place finishes over the seven regional events.

“I've gone on a team to the Games already, but I really, really wanted to try this as an individual,” Brenton said, “so I'm very excited. I'm gonna have a lot of work to do!”

“I started in 2010, and at that time there were four or five girls competing … so to see that (growth), it’s incredible,” Brenton added. “This was a great experience.”

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH TEAM REPORT DAY 1

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

Two years after the first CrossFit Games on the Ranch in Aromas, California, the regional was born. The regional model has evolved over the years, but with few changes as notable as what happened this season. Now the top athletes from two or more regions combine at the regional level to compete for the five qualifying spots to the CrossFit Games.

“I think it’s really cool,” said spectator Angela Falcone. “Our region is the South Central, and we’re excited to see those people be pushed by people like Camille (Leblanc-Bazinet).”  

This weekend, South Central, South West and Latin America athletes gather at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, to form the South Regional, and the teams were the first to hit the floor. Of 39 teams, six of last year’s qualifiers vie for return trips to Carson, California. Only five will go and each wants the top spot.

Defending first-place South West team CrossFit The Club is out to prove its seventh-place finish at the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games was no fluke, while team OPEX Red, a new force from the South West, made a statement with its eighth-place worldwide Open finish. But if they want gold, both teams will have to get past Ute CrossFit.

The Salt Lake City affiliate has sent a team to the CrossFit Games every year from 2009 to 2013. In 2013, it qualified two teams—Hack’s Pack and the Ute All-Stars—with Hack’s Pack winning the Affiliate Cup for the second consecutive year. The pack split last year and affiliate owner Tommy Hackenbruck took sixth as an individual in his sixth Games appearance. This weekend, the team returns to reclaim the podium. Though only two original teammates remain—Hackenbruck and Taylor Richards-Lindsay—Hack’s Pack “2.0” is stacked with experienced Games athletes as well as top regional-level competitors.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 1

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

Dallas looked a little like Carson, California, on Day 1 of the South Regional, as CrossFit Games athletes from across three regions made their first match at the regional competition.

Joining 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet are two-time Games athletes Margaux Alvarez, Amanda Goodman and Tiffany Hendrickson. Three-time Games athlete Jenn Jones is also out to prove she can keep her stake on the top spot even in the company of a champion.

“It doesn’t matter who is going to be there from an (athlete’s) perspective,” Jones said before the competition. “We all go out there and lay what we have on the line … (Leblanc-Bazinet) is just another one of the many great athletes that this sport has cultivated.”

Challenging the veterans are two fresh faces: former gymnast Alexis Johnson who finished the Open in 29th place worldwide, and 18-year-old Maddy Myers who’s a member of Team USA Weightlifting’s Junior World Championship team and Junior American record holder in the women’s 58-kg weight class. Myers took 32nd place worldwide in the Open.

On the men’s side, just three 2014 Games qualifiers return to compete in the regional triumvirate, making room for up-and-comer Travis Williams and former Ute CrossFit team member Adrian Conway.

In a trade of CrossFit Games legends, six-time Games athlete Matt Chan follows a near-fatal mountain biking accident in 2014 with an attempt to match Chris Spealler’s seven-time Games career. Spealler, however, kept his promise to retire when he signed off in 2014.

“There is a part of me that wishes I was still out there,” Spealler said in the days before the regional. “(But) the time I've had to spend with my family and dedicate toward other things has also been a good and needed change.”

To test the toughest athletes, the day began with the toughest test: a full day of Heroes.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH TEAM REPORT DAY 2

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

Teams began the day with a sprint to nowhere, as female/male pairs took on a couplet of running and wall-ball shots. It has been three seasons since we last saw running programmed at the regional level, with team athletes asked to run 0.5, 0.4 or 0.3 miles on the TrueForm Runner, a curved treadmill with no motor or flywheel.

With no help to move the belt, athletes had to find a pace that allowed them to keep momentum without burning out. Athletes who got gassed on the run were forced to break up their wall-ball shots, causing a bottleneck as the following teammate waited on the treadmill, unable to advance.

The first team to finish within the 20-minute time cap came from the second heat, Latin America’s CrossFit Moema, but the biggest noise came from CrossFit The Club. Though The Club began the day outside of a qualifying position in seventh overall, the team was able to jump three positions to fourth overall with a single event win. The win added 100 points to its total, which bumped them 1 point ahead of OPEX Red. With a time of 17:34.9, The Club broke the event record of 17:45.4 set by RAW Training at the Atlantic Regional earlier today.

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 2

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

If the CrossFit world forgot about Roy Gamboa when he left Carson, California, in 2013 with a 22nd-place finish, it got a crash-course refresher after Day 1 of the 2015 South Regional.

With second- and first-place finishes in the first two events, Gamboa showed that while the competition may have forgotten about him, he hasn’t forgotten about the competition.

While Games athletes Patrick Burke and Jeff Germond were within striking range of qualifying positions, in sixth and ninth places, celebrated veteran Matt Chan began Day 2 in a hole after 14th- and 20th-place finishes in Events 1 and 2.

On the women’s side, the race remained tight between 2014 Games champ Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and two-time Games athlete Margaux Alvarez. At the end of the day, the two women switched places on the overall leaderboard leaving Leblanc-Bazinet at the top and Alvarez in second, 33 points behind.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH TEAM REPORT DAY 3

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

It was standing room only on the final day at the 2015 South Regional. Six people deep, fans pressed against the rails on all sides of the competition floor this morning to see which team would be named the South’s fittest—Kevin Ogar among them.

“It’s fun to pick out the athletes from my region and see how everyone stands up against each other,” Ogar said. “I used to only be able to watch athletes from other regions on the ‘Update’ show. It brings up the level of competition quite a bit.”

CrossFit HQ’s Tommy Marquez knew the answer a week ago when he predicted the 2012 and 2013 Affiliate Cup champion team Ute CrossFit would take the top spot.

The team did not disappoint. After seven regional events, the teams that will represent the South Regional at the Games are Ute CrossFit, CrossFit Lubbock, OPEX Red, Backcountry Black and CrossFit Jääkarhu.

“We’re going to the Games, bro!” Jacob Hutton of Ute CrossFit exclaimed. “Leading into this competition we didn’t train together as much as we would have liked, but we have good relationships and we work well together as a team. We are looking forward to buckling down and working together going in to the Games.”

For CrossFit Jääkarhu and CrossFit Lubbock, it will be their first Games appearances.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Nick Shelton of CrossFit Lubbock said. “We all knew we had the potential to do it.

“This is everything,” Ingrid Kantola of CrossFit Jääkarhu said. “We have an amazing coach that has coached many regional teams before us. … We have had a huge year, we have opened gyms, beat cancer and now made it to the Games. We are so excited to start training for the Games.”   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

SOUTH INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 3

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games South Regional—Dallas, Texas]

One year ago, Roy Gamboa missed qualification for what would have been his second Games appearance by just 1 point. Today he qualified for the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games with 99 points to spare.

“It took a very long year of training, but it sure tastes good now,” Gamboa said.

Gamboa, a former collegiate linebacker and current coach at CrossFit Abilene in Abilene, Texas, took the top spot with two event wins and one second-place finish. Across seven events, he never fell below the top 10.

Taking fourth in the South, CrossFit Level 1 Seminar Staff member Adrian Conway finished with 518 points. Thirty-one points separated him from Jordan Cook, who took third, while just 4 points made the difference between Cook and Travis Williams in second. Chad Cole took the final qualifying spot with 478 points.

In his first CrossFit Games appearance, Cole will compete alongside his father, Dennis Cole who qualified for the Games in the Masters 50-54 Division.

"It's overwhelming,” Cole said. “You put so much into it, it's been a year in the making. To finally be here, to make it—it's overwhelming.”

On the women’s side, the top four qualifiers are all returning Games athletes, beginning with the 2014 defending champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet with 650 points. She took home two first- and three second-place finishes, never placing below the top five.

Following her were Margaux Alvarez in second (572 points), Amanda Goodman in third (557 points) and Jenn Jones in fourth (539 points). The fifth and final qualifying spot went to newcomer Maddy Myers with 478 points.

Just 18 years old, Myers, a former competitive rock climber and weightlifter, has been doing CrossFit for a year-and-a-half. Not only was this weekend her first regional, this Open was also her first and in July, she’ll compete at her first CrossFit Games.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Myers said.

“The goal was to have fun and finish all five weeks,” she added. “I never imagined the day I would be competing with so many respected Games athletes, including the fittest woman on Earth, would come this quickly in my CrossFit journey.”   CONTINUE TO FULL STORY

CENTRAL TEAM REPORT DAY 1

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Central Regional—Minneapolis, Minnesota]

Far beneath the city streets in the core of the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Midwest’s fittest teams came together to compete.

All but one of last year’s Games teams from the Central East and North Central Regions have returned to fight for another trip to Carson. Missing from the lineup was CrossFit Conjugate Black; the team that took second at the 2014 Games disbanded after one year, sending three of its teammates—including Sam Dancer—to compete individually this weekend.

CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, the team led by four-time fittest man on Earth Rich Froning, enters the competition as the heir apparent for the top of the podium.

However, the event wins didn’t fall where expected today. Both events went to a little-known team from Davenport, Iowa. In its sixth regional competition, Team Rollins - QCCF racked up 200 points on Day 1 and set an Event 2 record to boot.    CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 1

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Central Regional—Minneapolis, Minnesota]

After two weeks of combined regional competition, we’ve seen the difference a little integration can make. Last week, perennial Games competitors Valerie Voboril, Josh Bridges and Brandon Swan failed to qualify out of the California and Pacific Regionals. Christy Adkins missed what would have been her seventh trip to the Games the week before that.

Scott Panchik and eight other men who have qualified for the Games in past years will contend for five Games-qualifying spots this weekend. Though famed as the only man to challenge Rich Froning at the Central East Regional last year, Panchik was confident the champ’s absence wouldn’t mitigate his drive.

“One workout at a time with one goal in mind: make it back to the Games,” Panchik said before the regional. “I try not to think about one person, because when you do someone else starts creeping up on you.”

The women’s division is complete with Games veterans, rookies, last chances and dreams of redemption. Julie Foucher has never finished the Games outside of the top 5, and says this will be her last season in the sport before she turns her full attention to her medical career. Stacie Tovar, fresh off a year absence from the Games after a five-year run, is determined to not let that happen again.

“Although it was very upsetting not making it to the Games last year, it was definitely a turning point for me,” Tovar said. “I've done everything I can to make it back to the Games. Nothing would make me happier than to be standing on top of the podium at the end of the regional weekend.”    CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 2

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Central Regional—Minneapolis, Minnesota]

Foucher has been known to excel at the long, grueling events. Anything that Dave Castro programs to be almost unfinishable, one can look to Foucher to get it done.

Like Froning, Foucher has mastered the pacing. She keeps it at a slow burn and moves past her competitors as they flame out.

From the very start, Foucher seemed restrained. She held the same relaxed jog throughout the 1-mile run and seemed unfazed by Anna Rode, Brooke Wells, and Grace Dresher’s advancement to the overhead squats ahead of her.

Once Foucher got to the barbell, she completed one and a half 95-lb. overhead squats for every one of her peers’.

Dresher clung to her lead with rapid-fire GHD sit-ups and little rest, but burned out considerably with 30 reps to go. Foucher quietly moved into the lead, with her final sit-ups at the same pace as her first.

At the top of each rep, she let herself slowly fall backward, using the momentum of her fall to bounce straight back up. She lifted herself off the cushions of the GHD every 5 to 10 reps presumably to give her midline a break.

Foucher could not be caught through the double-unders or sumo deadlift high pulls, though Wells tried, attempting to string her high pulls into twos and threes. But after getting no-repped for lack of extension, Wells sat in a squat, forced to rest and re-evaluate her plan.

The crowd cheered when Foucher approached her box. Finally, she stepped on the accelerator, bouncing swiftly from one side of her box to the other and rebounding into the next rep.

But 30 reps in, a phantom road block rose up to meet her, and she stumbled on the edge of her box. The crowd did not understand why she stopped jumping, reaching for her judge with a pleading glance.

“Something felt like it snapped, and I (couldn’t) really jump off of it,” she said.   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL TEAM REPORT DAY 3

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Central Regional—Minneapolis, Minnesota]

After three days and seven events, the team with a champion became the champion team. Never finishing outside of the top 10, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom took the top podium spot with four event finishes within the top-three, including one event record. 

“Everybody fought,” Rich Froning said. “I'm proud of everyone.”

In its third regional appearance, CrossFit 417 held onto second place overall for all three days of competition. With one event win and two second-place finishes, the Missourian team earned its debut in Carson.

Seth Connelly of CrossFit 417 said qualifying felt “amazing.” 

The final three qualifying spots went to returning Games teams CrossFit Maximus, CrossFit Kilo and CrossFit Grandview. The victory was sweet for Grandview, which hasn’t sent a team to the Games since 2012. 

“All this hard work finally paid off,” said Grandview’s Joey Tortora. “We came in here, we fought back. We knew we were going to get stronger going into these later workouts; we executed it like we were supposed to.”   CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT

CENTRAL INDIVIDUAL REPORT DAY 3

[2015 Reebok CrossFit Games Central Regional—Minneapolis, Minnesota]

A veteran and a rookie stood atop the men’s and women’s podiums at the end of the Central Regional.

Though 2014 Games competitor Jacob Heppner commanded the top spot for most of the weekend, it was three-time Games athlete Scott Panchik who won gold. Though he did not win a single event, Panchik never finished outside of the top 10.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Panchik said.

Rookie qualifier Alex Anderson, 2011 Games competitor Nick Urankar, and six-time Games competitor Graham Holmberg rounded out the top 5.

For Urankar, the reward is sweet after missing qualification for the last three years.

“This was going to be it,” Urankar said. “If I didn’t make it, my wife told me on the way here, ‘If you don’t make it, you’re done.’ I thought I was done after Event 3, but I guess you’re never really done until you decide you are, and I just didn’t decide to be.”

Nineteen-year-old Brooke Wells won the women’s division with five placings within the top 4, including one event win.

“It's crazy,” Wells said. “I honestly came here for the experience, and after the second day I was like, ‘Wow, I want to have fun and win.’”

Wells was joined on the podium by four veterans. Nicole Holcomb, Stacie Tovar, Elisabeth Akinwale and Lindy Barber will return to the Games. For Tovar and Barber, who missed qualification in 2014, this is their reward for a long year of training.

“Words can’t express the way I feel right now,” Tovar said. “I’m so happy … I’m so excited to see what can happen this Games season.”

“It means everything,” Barber added. “This year has almost been a hellacious year of training ... last year at regionals was really, really hard for me. But I used it as fuel to relax, reset, (and) refocus my training ... and it's all paid off.”

Akinwale, who has a history of earning the top spot on the regional podium, said she was “pretty happy” to take fourth in the competitive combined regional.

“It’s stunningly different,” Akinwale said. “Sometimes it's hard to know if it's you that is different or just the competition. I knew coming in that I’d possibly be taking a few low finishes, which is different from prior years … so emotionally and psychologically, it’s very tiring. I guess I never thought I'd be happy to take fourth, but I'm pretty happy.”  

CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT