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Jeff Binek 08-01-2011 09:46 AM

Final games thoughts
Hey guys - thought I would post my thoughts on the Games this year in a piece by piece run-down.

Events -

The Good -
I thought the First Event, the Muscle-Up DL event, Skills 2, the Rope Climb/C&J, and the Sled-Push/OHS/HSPU/DU event were all awesome. The creation of those were all well thought out, well timed, and properly weighted to bring the 'cream to the top.' I think that is the most important part about these events, and I have no doubt that 1 through 10 are all accurately displayed where they deserve to be.

The Bad -
I'll leave Skills 1 alone as plenty of people have bashed it. But the Final event for me was horrible. I get the whole 'lets do three scored events in one so there anything can happen' thing. Unfortunately even with the live scoring, and huge leads no one could tell where anyone stood during the event. Had they been closer races, those guys could've been pulling that sled back for the win or loss and no one would've known. Graham went from like 10th to 4th on that last workout. As a spectator not being able to know that kind of defeats the purpose, didn't matter much this year, but might in the future. Also on top of that, Rowing, Wall-Ball, T2B, box Jumps, Burpees, etc. are all boring as hell to watch. Especially when you have to watch it once, then twice, then a third time...

Eh - The Monkey Bar event was so cool and so lame at the same time, not sure what to say about it except that Josh Bridges passing Chan was awesome, and if that judge ruined Dan Bailey's style no repping him on the first monkey bar pass.

Stream -

The Good - ESPN3 came through in basically Hi-Def, and when they were actually showing the events live it was awesome, clean and crisp. As the weekend went they got better with the archives and the stream and watching became much less of a hassle (just wait til an hour or two after and watch the archives back).

The Bad - The commentary is laughably amateur. We had many people who had never seen the games over to watch and they were so confused. It comes across as professional with the cameras, HD and overall view of it, but then the announcing and stuff is still so busch league it's funny. It was so bad at the end we just muted it and turned on music. Heather Bergeron was the only one that was good in my opinion.
CrossFit continues to over-hype things from the beginning then fail horribly bad out of the gate. They don't grasp the concept of testing I guess, because the first day of everything is a train wreck. The stream was horrible, no archives worked, and it was embarrassing to have people in our gym who came to watch it just leave because it was so bad.
The lack of commentary in the stream was weird at first, but then I was so glad it wasn't there once I heard the ESPN3 'commentary'.

Eh - The ESPN3 broadcast was awkward. They acted as if the events earlier in the day hadn't happened, then they would show SOME OF the live events and discuss where people sat. Then they would go back and show the events earlier in the day. It didn't come across right at all. They shouldn't have had Sherwood's crew analyze at all, should've just talked for a second and gone to the live events. This could've cut down the broadcast to a couple of hours and been much more watchable.


The Good –
I really believe that Annie and Rich were the fittest, and that Kristan and Josh were second. I think Josh was incredibly impressive throughout the weekend, winning events I thought Rich would take easily. Graham came back in the last event and it was the only time throughout the weekend that he made me go “god damn, there’s the champ!” It was almost as if he was saving it in anticipation of more events. The fact that Graham and Khalipa were within one spot of eachother throughout Day 2 and 3 was so sweet. It was like they were having their own mini-games with each other in Heat 2. Watching Annie Sakamoto was incredible also, she seriously inspires me and I am really glad she won the spirit of the games. The team competition was also very fun to watch…it’s too bad that CFNE dominated so bad, otherwise it would’ve been suspenseful and fun.

The Bad –
Julie Foucher fell out of the top 3 in the final event which was disappointing. I thought she was clearly more impressive than Becca Voigt throughout the weekend. I am already sick of hearing Rich saying his cliché, blanket answer to everything…”For the glory of God”…It makes me wish we had an articulate, interesting, well spoken champion like Speal. Them creating the nickname for him, the “million dollar man” – which for what I can tell makes no sense unless they’re talking about his marketability for Reebok. Rich is a beast though and I don’t mean to take anything away from him, I’m sure he is a nice guy, just looks like a Jersey Shore dude and is too upfront with his religion for my taste.

Eh – I am really interested to see the results of the Drug Test. It is something that they have never released publicly and I think they should. There are a few athletes that were huge for regionals, crushed it, then looked noticeably smaller at the games and underperformed. Obviously this could be due to a number of reasons, but having spent a lot of time researching and writing on PEDs in elite level sport competitions, a safe bet would be that at least 5-8 guys were using. The question came up at our gym from a friend who is an elite powerlifter about Rich and Khalipa (I’m guessing due to their unusually large arms, chest, & shoulders) and all I could say to him was that they say they’re drug testing, but I’ve never seen or heard any results.


Bridges dominating event 1 and event 4

Julie Foucher and Sam Briggs on Event 1

Rich on the Rope Climb/C&J WoD getting no repped and still winning.

Rich and Annie on the Handstand Walk, who would’ve thought she would beat Camille and Julie?!

Rob O. Repping 225 seven times easy and making the best of his situation.

Bridges passing Chan on the Monkey Bar event, and Dan Bailey doing the speed turn around and the crowd erupting.

Bridges beating Rich on the Sled Push

Graham on the Final event just going balls to the wall on the 3 and 6 minute version, then having enough to take top 5 in the full version.

Team final – CFNE as a whole, but Mel Ockerby absolutely KILLING Fran.

Annie Sakamoto’s quads…I mean seriously.

*edit* - Watching Jay Rhodes do 50 burpees in Event 1 for going around the logs.

Final thoughts

They were successful in making CFG5 the best games yet, but I was hoping for it to be a little closer to being ready for mainstream. The commentary and production fell way short of what is going to be needed to be ready for a live ESPN broadcast, which I believe is the end goal. The competition and events themselves lived up to the title and I think it was a pretty brutal test. The competitors were insanely impressive and the fact that these guys got through that last workout with the speed and intensity after 3 days of very little sleep, rest and heavy weights, and longer workouts gives me hope for how insane this competition can really get. Hopefully next year they can maybe think about charging for the broadcast, but providing a much higher quality of stream and a better network for the archives on Day 1 not Day 3.

Jeff Binek 08-01-2011 09:52 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
A Couple of things I forgot -

The Masters winners were all JACKED! God I hope I look like that at their age, what a bunch of beasts!

The Women's top 2 heats are seriously as fun as watching the guys. I think it is the only sport that I can say that I honestly don't want to miss any of the womens, this is a HUGE step for womens athletics in my mind. The knock on womens sports is that they aren't as big, strong or fast as the men, but seriously Annie would kill me in everything, same weights. I gained a HUGE respect for the ladies this year (not that I didn't before) but the fact that there are more women becoming competitive is awesome. That being said some of the later heats were still tough to watch sometimes, but same was true for the guys.

Some of the form on the Clean and Jerk really turned the non-CrossFitters we had watching off, it was seriously freaking them out. I can't blame them, broadcasting that stuff gives CF a bad name...REALLY lucky no one blew out a knee on the live broadcast.

Matt Haxmeier 08-01-2011 10:03 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
Honestly, I liked the softball throw despite what tons of other people were saying. It revealed a pretty enormous weakness in athletes like Speal and Khalipa while showing that Froning is even more well rounded than they are. The "fittest man on earth" should be able to throw an object further than my wife. It shouldn't be the deciding factor of the whole event but it should definitely be an expectation, IMHO.

But I still think the boundaries imposed on it screwed it up with too many DNF's. Also the ridiculously short time in which they had to snatch and do the weighted chest to bar pullup stunk. And the lack of transition time in those skills. And while they can say pure strength was tested (1RM) it was slightly watered down with those restrictions placed on it.

The only exciting thing about the final event was the sled pull. It also started off with rowing and wallballs (repeating) which wasn't exactly fair for the smaller guys.

But overall I think this years were more fair than in the past. Both little guys and big guys performed admirably even on things you didn't think they would. On things like the sled push and sled pull the little guys who knew HOW to apply force ended up doing well while some of the big guys faltered.

In General, I agree with the things you said though.

Jeff Binek 08-01-2011 10:09 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
I still think the individuals final could've been like the Teams. Get rid of Karen and Isabel


Each scored individually but also as one huge event. Therefore 5 events scored total. Might have screwed up the scoring a little more but who knows, would've been more fun IMO and the scoring as one huge event would prevent sandbagging, which ended up being a stupid strategy anyway.

Nicolas Kizzee 08-01-2011 11:09 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
Id have to agree with Matt on the softball throw... I felt embarrassed for some of the guys with how far they could throw it... They did it the right way combining it with 2 other events (l-sits should have been straight legged)..

The announcer was doing fine except for the fact he yelled "Lets make some noise," "Standup and show some respect for.. ," about a billion times... and the chants he tried to pull from the crowd...

Jeff Binek 08-01-2011 11:17 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
The best was he kept saying - "The Unbelievable ______" He used it on about 20 different people. My favorite was announcing Julie Foucher for the last WoD he goes The Unbelievable....wait for it...check his sheet...waiting...Julie Foucher! There was like a 10 second pause between "The unbelievable" and "Julie Foucher"...classic.

And it was "Stand up and show your love" or "Show your love, CrossFit"

Shane Jensen 08-01-2011 11:50 AM

Re: Final games thoughts
There were a few times where he even joined in, he'd ask the crowd to show love to someone and he'd go "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

Bob Cieszkowski 08-01-2011 11:54 AM

Re: Final games thoughts

Originally Posted by Jeff Binek (Post 968819)
The Women's top 2 heats are seriously as fun as watching the guys. I think it is the only sport that I can say that I honestly don't want to miss any of the womens, this is a HUGE step for womens athletics in my mind.

Great summary Jeff, and agreed on all points, especially the Women's events. It was so much more exciting than I expected it to be.

And how about Barber out-pulling Khalipa on the sled? That $h!t was insane!

Jeff Binek 08-01-2011 12:37 PM

Re: Final games thoughts

Originally Posted by Bob Cieszkowski (Post 968885)
And how about Barber out-pulling Khalipa on the sled? That $h!t was insane!

Yea that was awesome too! - I was shocked more guys (especially Khalipa) weren't able to do that, Barber truly is the Manimal (though I am disappointed in his body hair for the nickname...)

Benjamin Skott 08-01-2011 01:49 PM

Re: Final games thoughts

Originally Posted by Nicolas Kizzee (Post 968857)
Id have to agree with Matt on the softball throw... I felt embarrassed for some of the guys with how far they could throw it... They did it the right way combining it with 2 other events (l-sits should have been straight legged)..

I think the l-sit standard was for judging. It's a lot harder to say if someone's knees are completely locked out than it is to say "Just keep your feet extended over these plates, when your feet touch the plates it's over." Very definite end point rather than a more ambiguous, harder to judge one.

However, it seemed like most of the competitors didn't realize they didn't need to be straight-legged, so another communication issue from the organizers.

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