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The Open announcement train heads to CrossFit Fury in Goodyear, Arizona, this week for some desert sunshine and an 18.4 matchup between two of CrossFit’s most recognizable names: Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson and Scott Panchik.
While these two have been mainstays in the Games’ top 10 for years and have similar physiques, that’s about where the comparisons end.
Guðmundsson is a 25-year-old from Iceland just now entering his prime, while the Ohio native Panchik is 30 and has been a top CrossFitter since 2012. It’s going to be awesome watching these two go at it no matter the workout.
Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson, 25, Hverageridi, Iceland (CrossFit Hengill)
2017 Open Finish: 4th
2017 Games Finish: 5th
Best Games Finish: 3rd (2015)
2018 Open After 18.3: 23rd
Scott Panchik, 30, Mentor, Ohio (CrossFit Mentality)
2017 Open Finish: 32nd
2017 Games Finish: 6th
Best Games Finish: 4th (Twice)
2018 Open After 18.3: 28th
Analysis: Two men with uber-consistent Games’ records will match up here for 18.4. Guðmundsson has finished in the top 10 each of the last three years, including that stunning third-place finish in 2015, while Panchik is the ultimate example of steadiness, having placed in the top 10 at the CrossFit Games every year since 2012. Both men have Open announcement experience as well, as Guðmundsson competed in 16.2, while 18.4 will mark Panchik’s remarkable fifth career Open announcement. His last was 17.3.
Panchik’s consistent track record extends to the Open as well, as he finished top-five from 2013 to 2016. Last year was a bit bumpier, as he was 32nd, but any suggestion that age was catching up to him was quickly shut down once he placed sixth at the Games. But looking at Guðmundsson’s fourth-place Open finish from 2017 compared to Panchik’s placing there, it’s easy to see how one would want to pick the former to come out on top in Phoenix.
Prediction: With two guys performing so close to each other, this comes down to the age-old athletic question of youth versus experience. Do you like Panchik’s extensive announcement experience over Guðmundsson’s youthful exuberance? That’s the question I’m asking myself heading into Thursday. My answer: Panchik all the way. He’s won two of these before, while Guðmundsson is 0-1, and that fact will be crucial in this extra intense environment.
By Lincoln Shryack