Every Live CrossFit Games Open Announcement Ranked By Excitement

The CrossFit Games Open announcements haven't always been live. When the Open launched in 2011, the workouts were revealed in back-to-back years by explanation videos that included footage of badass athletes hitting each event and setting the score to beat.

The Live Open Announcements started in 2013 with 13.1 (burpees + ascending weight snatches), which featured Dan Bailey versus Scott Panchik. So let's take a look back at each Live Open Announcement by ranking it based on how exciting it is to watch!

25. 13.2: Lindsey Valenzuela vs Annie Thorisdottir



The workout was short and aggressive, but it had three movements that were fast and wild to judge. Both Lindsey Valenzuela and Annie Thorisdottir started ridiculously quick, but Valenzuela eventually slowed down, giving Thorisdottir the gap she needed to take and hold the lead throughout.

The repetitive movements combined with the clear and early winner in Thorisdottir made this a bit boring to watch.

24. 13.3: Kris Clever vs Talayna Fortunato



This was a repeat of 12.4, a classic and common combo of wall ball, double-unders, and muscle-ups. Starting off a workout with more than six minutes of wall ball isn't interesting at all, but both women made it to the muscle-ups at the same time.

Highlight: Bill Grundler's comment about Kris Clever after the workout, saying "the fact that she was able to string together two muscle-ups at a time is amazing."

23. 16.1: Emily Abbott vs Chyna Cho



Twenty minutes of overhead walking lunges, burpees, and chest-to-bar pull-ups isn't interesting to watch at all. It was pretty aggressive to start the Open with a long AMRAP, and seeing Emily Abbott beat the engine of Chyna Cho was very impressive.

22. 13.4: Chris Spealler vs Graham Holmberg



This quick and dirty workout had an ascending ladder that featured an interesting matchup between 2010 Fittest Man On Earth Graham Holmberg and bodyweight ninja Chris Spealler. The drama picked up quickly on this event, as they started around the same pace early on.

Spealler's ninja skills paid off here as he was able to hang onto the toes-to-bar longer than Holmberg did, but that turn happened about midway through the workout.

Highlight: The first time we saw a live rep-counter, which is cool even though it didn't really work as intended.

21. 14.1: Garret Fisher vs Marcus Hendren



A repeat of 11.1, 14.1 included double-unders and light power snatches. Again, these are repetitive, boring movements that saw the athletes stay tied for most of the event and only a small difference between then until the very end.

Highlight: Garret Fisher utilizing Jason Khalipa's trademarked stumble rest.

20. 17.2: Kari Pearce vs Kristi Eramo



In the first-ever inclusion of dumbbell front rack lunges, this workout put two great bodyweight athletes against each other in a bodyweight specialist event.

Kari Pearce took it in the end, and while it was relatively close and relatively short, the workout just isn't particularly exciting to watch.

19. 14.2: Camille Leblanc Bazinet vs Talayna Fortunato



This was the first appearance of the overhead squat + chest-to-bar pull-up workout that used a similar time gate feature as 13.5. The difference here was you had to wait until the next three-minute window before starting the next set of rounds, so there's a lot of built-in rest.

The workout was boring to watch until the fifth three-minute round, when Talayna Fortunato advanced but Camille didn't. Not a ton of excitement from then on, as we just watched Fortunato workout alone for another three minutes.

18. 15.3: Julie Foucher vs Lauren Brooks



Again, a classic Open combo of wall ball, double-unders, and muscle-ups. This was the first time an Open workout started with muscle-ups. While Julie Foucher's performance was exciting, Lauren Brooks wasn't a gymnastics specialist. By the middle of the workout, Foucher had a massive lead that she never let up.

Highlight: Dave Castro's confusing announcement of Open workouts continues, and he uses the word "tripartite" with a straight face.

17. 14.4: Scott Panchik vs Josh Bridges



This was the first time we saw the rower show up in the Open. In this specific workout, it meant the athletes would finish their workout on the rower, which is miserable.

The event itself was generally exciting but just didn't have the tight finish you'd like to see, especially with the last couple minutes of the workout taking place on a rower.

Highlight: Dave Castro begins introducing Open workouts in the most confusing way possible, working his way backward from the end of the workout.

16. 16.3: Nick Palladino vs Shawn Ramirez



Yet another long, drawn-out event announcement from Dave Castro. This time he was in Milan, Italy, and wearing Versace. He even demonstrated a full round of the workout and paid dearly for it, being absolutely unable to catch his breath to actually announce the damn thing.

While the announcement itself was exciting, the competition between Nick Palladino and Shawn Ramirez was pretty much over before it started. Palladino started like a bat outta hell, and Ramirez ended up catching him a few minutes into the workout, smoking him the rest of the way.

Highlight: While it's not the most exciting Open Announcement, the actual announcement of the workout is probably the best ever.

15. 16.4: Sara Sigmundsdottir vs Katrin Davidsdottir



The 55s Chipper is a tough workout and seeing the battle of the Dottirs was a great way to be introduced to it. While neither of their scores from this event were competitive on the leaderboard, the clash between Davidsdottir, who won the 2015 Games, and Sigmundsdottir, who had the lead in the 2015 Games until the very last event, made this an impressive and exciting event.

14. 17.1: Pat Vellner vs Brent Fikowski



The Fittest Canadians on Earth went head-to-head with some gnarly dumbbell snatches and burpee box jump-overs. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall from the beginning here. Fikowski is about 11 inches taller than Vellner, and his dumbbell has to move an extra foot and a half before it reaches the top of the snatch.

That said, Vellner absolutely crushed the event and set an impressive tone for the 2017 Open.

13. 15.5: Annie Thorisdottir vs Sam Briggs vs Camille Leblanc-Bazinet



This was and still is one of the toughest Open workouts, and the announcement featured three women's champions going head-to-head-to-head in a solid battle.

It was exciting early on with Annie Thorisdottir and Sam Briggs pushing each other, but Briggs took the lead and kept it through most of the workout.


12. 15.2: Emily Bridgers vs Michele Letendre



A repeat of 14.2, this was a much more exciting announcement for a couple reasons. Both athletes finished in the same three-minute block, so it was super close the whole way through. On top of that, Michele Letendre and Emily Bridgers were evenly matched, and both crushed their scores from the previous year.

11. 15.4: Josh Bridges vs Scott Panchik



The start of the handstand push-up standard in the Open. While this wasn't a hotly contested workout with Scott Panchik taking the lead early and keeping it, the event was exciting, because we got to see Bridges lose his shit as that new handstand push-up standard messed with his workout.

Highlight: Dave Castro writes a workout so confusing, even he messes it up as he's describing it.


10. 14.3: Stacie Tovar vs Alessandra Pichelli



The first time we really learned that Castro was willing to not just add weight but also volume to a workout to make it harder.

The time domain and weights involved makes this workout much more exciting to watch, but right around the midway point Alessandra Pichelli misloads her bar and falls behind. The exciting part didn't happen until the very end of the workout, when Pichelli catches up and takes the lead with just 30 seconds left in the workout.

Highlight: Stacie Tovar rips her pants off just seconds before the workout kicks off.

9. 17.3: Mat Fraser vs Scott Panchik vs Cole Sager



Mat Fraser + heavy barbells = awesome to watch no matter what. Fraser's pacing throughout this whole workout was epic, nearly setting the world-leading score, which is unheard of at an Open Announcement.

Not only did we get some exciting and quick exercise from Fraser, but we also saw Cole Sager work toward that 265lb bar up until the very end, only hitting one rep at the final bar with just a few seconds left in the workout.

Highlight: Mat Fraser predicting people will beat him by about 90 seconds. Only two people beat him and only by about 20-30 seconds.

8. 17.4: Brooke Wells vs Brenda Castro



Until this moment, just about no one knew who Brenda Castro was, and Brooke Wells had one of the best scores in the world in 16.4, the workout 17.4 was repeating.

Enter the Open Announcement environment and the elevation in Mexico City and these women put on an amazing show.

Wells took the lead early, but Castro caught up through the handstand push-ups and finished the workout just one rep shy of Wells in an exciting finish.

7. 16.5: Mat Fraser vs Rich Froning vs Ben Smith



The big storyline here was Rich Froning versus Mat Fraser. The question was whether a year of competing on a team had slowed Froning down.

Fraser won pretty handily, in a bit of a preview of how the 2016 CrossFit Games would go. While Fraser was in the lead for pretty much the whole workout, Froning is known for his expert pacing, and everyone was on edge waiting for him to push and catch Fraser.

6. 16.2: Dan Bailey vs Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson



This was a classic confusing Dave Castro Open Announcement, but once we unpacked the workout we saw it for what it was: an elegant and brutal triplet that was all about being strong while being fit.

The performances out of both Bailey and BKG were impressive, with the "I need to work on my weaknesses" BKG making it to the 315lb bar and Bailey finishing the workout at the very last second (even though his score was then invalidated and he had to repeat the event).

The combination of heavy weights, a garage gym setting, and steaming sweat in the cold made for a ton of excitement, and it definitely goes down as one of the most exciting Open Announcements ever.

5. 15.1 and 15.1a: Mat Fraser vs Rich Froning



Froning versus Fraser was the exact matchup everyone wanted to see, and Dave Castro delivered. The winner and runner-up of the 2014 CrossFit Games, the GOAT versus the Future.

This workout was an even matchup throughout the entire nine minutes, with Froning taking the lead by just three reps with less than five seconds left.

Then the weights came out, and everything slowed down to a slow boil for some heavy lifting. Froning and Fraser played games against each other, adding some weight here and there to get ahead of each other.

In the last minute of the workout, Froning took 343lb to grab the lead. Fraser took an attempt at 345lb with less than 10 seconds left but just lost the jerk right at the time cap.

4. 13.1: Dan Bailey vs Scott Panchik.



Just a year after the brutal 12.1 and 12.2 combo, we saw the start of the Live Announcements with this workout. Dan Bailey was just one of nine men to get a single rep at the 210lb bar at the end of 12.2, while Panchik didn't hit that final bar in 12.2.

Even though this workout was long, we saw it come down to the wire at the very end with less than a minute left and both athletes on the 210lb bar. After 100 burpees and 90 snatches, Panchik showed up and crushed Bailey with four snatches at 210lb while Dan Bailey missed the 210lb bar.

3. 13.5: Jason Khalipa vs Rich Froning, Camille Leblanc Bazinet vs Sam Briggs



This is one of the most epic Open Announcements of all time. It was the first time we met time gate, where you're given more and more time to work out the better you are. Further, we saw four champions face off (Leblanc Bazinet hadn't won the Games yet but still) in a test of grit, fitness, and pain tolerance.

The women's competition was exciting from the get-go, and stayed super close throughout the whole event with Leblanc Bazinet crushing the pull-ups and Sam Briggs taking the thrusters until just about the eight-minute mark when Briggs fell off and Leblanc Bazinet continued into her third chest-to-bar Fran in a row.

The men's competition is where this announcement really shined. We all knew Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa, and we all know they were hella fit. But 2013 Froning was an especially dominant Rich Froning, and this Open Announcement proved it.

Froning and Khalipa started at almost mirrored pace, but it was Froning who made it to the third Fran with his last pull-up finished with just one second to go.

Highlight 1: This is where "What's Rich Doing?" came from!

Highlight 2: A very, very sweaty looking Dave Castro in a suit announcing the workout in classic slow, tense Castro fashion.

Highlight 3: We got to meet Sean Woodland!

2. 17.5: Katrin Davidsdottir vs Sara Sigmundsdottir



This workout is a departure from the soul-crushing events we've usually seen in the final Open spot, but it was quick, exciting, and a photo finish.

Katrin Davidsdottir led nearly through the whole workout until Sara Sigmundsdottir caught up and passed in the very last set of thrusters.

Sigmundsdottir started the final set of double-unders before Davidsdottir but just couldn't keep the rope spinning. After each woman missed several reps, Davidsdottir ended up on top.

1. 14.5: Rich Froning vs Sam Briggs vs Annie Thorisdottir vs Graham Holmberg vs Jason Khalipa



This announcement featured the first Open workout for time, five champions facing off, and the most awesome finish in any Open workout ever.

The race to the finish is still one of the most rad moments in the Open, with Rich Froning following Sam Briggs throughout the whole workout until he catches her at the very end, passing her up on the set of three thrusters and three burpees.

The thing that really makes Open workouts super impressive is how easy the best in the world make them look, and this was a great example of that.

Highlight: A very unamused Greg Glassman being pointed out by Dave Castro just before the event starts.

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