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Nothing is guaranteed
Perennial CrossFit Games athlete Dan Bailey and HQ favorite Brooke Ence failed to qualify for the 2016 CrossFit Games. Regionals is a different beast than the Open, and the Games and every single one of its events tend to be incredibly important to the results.
Bailey was featured in episode five of HQ’s Road To The Games series, and Ence is featured in the upcoming episode six, so clearly the expectation was there for each of these athletes to qualify for the Games.
Consistency isn’t always key
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People say “consistency is key,” and point to athletes like Josh Bridges. With no finishes outside the top 10 and most of his finishes in the top three, Bridges is the epitome of high-performance consistency.
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They also say “the exception proves the rule,” and Alessandra Pichelli is that exception. She also qualified for the Games and posted most of her finishes in the top three. But when she wasn’t finishing in the top three, she was usually doing rather poorly. With a close-to-last-place finish (31st) in Regionals Nate and a bottom-of-the-pack finish (22nd) in Event 4, Pichelli had to fight to make it to Carson.
With the new scoring, winning and placing in the top three in events is more rewarding, and finishing low isn’t as crushing as it used to be. If anything, Pichelli is a great example of not giving up after racking up a first-place and nearly-last-place finish in day one of Regionals.
One rep can make a massive difference
In some cases, the difference between going to the Games and missing qualification is incredibly slim. Take California, for example: the average difference between placing fifth to sixth was just about 13 points, which means a one- or two-position swing in any single event could have made all the difference.
In the California men’s competition, the difference between going to the Games and staying home was only six points. For the men in the South, the difference was only three points. Those types of differences actually don’t have much to do with the workouts or the athletes’ performances. For example, if EZ Muhammed had finished Event 1 one-tenth of a second faster, and Joseph Guesnier had finished Event 5 three-tenths of a second slower, EZ would be going to the Games instead of Guesnier.
Tenths of a second isn’t the time it take to finish the event—it’s the time it takes to step over a barbell and step into the finish line. With electronic timing, stepping onto the finish mat with the wrong foot first can be that tenth of a second difference.
When CrossFit launches the Hall of Fame, Becca Voigt will be on the first ballot. She’s taken nine consecutive trips to the CrossFit Games as an individual in three different Games eras (pre-Open, pre-Super Regional, Super Regional) while the sport was still maturing. Her competition has gotten younger, stronger, fitter, and more driven each year, and she’s stayed right there, annually crushing Regionals and earning her way to the Games.
In a time when the best CrossFitter of our generation pulled out of individual competition due to shifting priorities and obligations, Voigt has continued pushing, training, and improving every single year. Her consistency and longevity alone make her a shoo-in for the eventual CrossFit Hall of Fame.
Photo Credit: CrossFit Inc.