The 2020 CrossFit Games Open is here! For the tenth time, the global CrossFit community will gather for another round of Open announcements and athlete matchups, before trying their hand at the batch of five workouts revealed over the next five weeks.
Every week there will be multiple announcements taking place in a variety of languages across the world, each with their unique matchup of athletes throwing down to set the stage performance-wise for the workout.
Over the next five weeks, we’ll be breaking down each matchup and keeping you up to date with how to watch, along with analysis of each athlete pairing from our team of experts that include our Editor-in-Chief Justin Lofranco, CrossFit Games play-by-play announcer Brandon Domingue, and Staff Writer and CrossFit Games analyst Tommy Marquez.
Rich Froning vs. Scott Panchik presented by Rogue
- Location: Austin, Texas
- Start time: A special edition of the Rogue Iron Game show will precede the announcement at 4:30 PM PST with the workout to follow at 5:00 PM PST.
- How to watch: The Rogue Iron Game show and announcement will stream live via the Rogue website here, along with the Games website.
- Background: A matchup of all-time greats on the men’s side, Froning (10th) and Panchik (11th) finished next to each other on the overall leaderboard in the 2019 Open. Although this is the first time they’ll go head-to-head, they’re no stranger to Open announcements, with Froning having 4 under his belt, and Panchik 5. Rumors of Panchik potentially forgoing the individual competition to join Froning and the CrossFit Mayhem team, make this matchup even more intriguing.
Justin LoFranco: Rich Froning
In his entire career, Rich Froning has only ever lost one live Open announcement workout and that was to Mat Fraser in 16.5, the year Fraser went on to win not only the Open but the Games in dominant fashion. Scott Panchik had another great individual performance at the 2019 CrossFit Games, finishing in 4th overall. Regardless, given Froning’s Open track record, in particular, I just don’t see it happening for Panchik no matter what Dave Castro comes up with.
Brandon Domingue: Rich Froning
Do I want to be a rebel and go against the man that firmly resides on the Mount Rushmore of the sport? Yes. Will I get that guy? I’m not that bold. I think the world of Scott Panchik and think he’s among the most underrated athletes in Games history (another argument for another day), but while he got the better of Rich Froning on occasion at Regionals in what felt like head-to-head matchups, something about the Open announcements just sends the 4-time individual champ into a level only topped by Sundays at the CrossFit Games.
Tommy Marquez: Rich Froning
Panchik would be the fun pick, but Froning is the smart pick and the data supports it wholeheartedly. Looking specifically at their performances in the first Open workout, across their history Froning has five wins to Panchik’s two, with one tie. In the last five years of the Open, Froning has bested Panchik in 19 out of 27 workouts, with three ties between them. Interestingly enough, during that same time frame they finish within either one second or one rep of each other once every four workouts (25%). Translation: just like during their old battles in the Central East Regional, the margins are tight, but Froning is one step ahead. I will say this though if we see a 12.1 repeat, the edge goes to Panchik, who was the burpee king back then.
Carole Castellani vs Sabrina Caron presented by the French Throwdown
- Location: Kulturefit CrossFit Toulouse – Beauzelle, France
- Start Time: Livestream will start at 4:00 PM PST, which will be 1:00 AM local time on October 11.
- How to watch: The livestream will be hosted on the French Throwdown YouTube page, Facebook page, and the Games website.
- Background: A French event through and through, Castellani and Caron were the two individual women representing France at the 2019 CrossFit Games. Castellani earned her spot as the French National Champion from the Open, and Caron received the final Sanctional invite from the French Throwdown last year. Due to the time difference, they’ll be tackling the Open workout at roughly 2:00 AM in the morning Friday.
JL: Carole Castellani
Coming off of their rookie debuts at the CrossFit Games, Carole Castellani and Sabrina Caron enter the 2019-2020 season relatively evenly matched. Each finished 34th and 58th at the Games respectively, but their Open performances are far closer; 1st and 3rd separated by just six points. I’m picking Castellani for one reason: Caron’s road to the Games last year was much harder having had to qualify through the final Sanctional in France, which was a very tough three-day competition one month before the Games. With little recovery time after back to back competitions, I’m betting Catellani comes in a little more refreshed for the season kickoff.
BD: Sabrina Caron
This, to me, is the closest match-up of the opening week of Open coverage. I’m going to take Caron for two reasons; first is (as Justin mentioned) the road that Caron took to get to the Games, but I’ll flip it, she had to step up against Games athletes to earn that spot with the lights on bright through the French Throwdown, an experience that could come in handy with the attention being squarely on these two. The other reason is that I’ll just play the rule of numbers, in five Open events last year, Caron took three and Castellani two head-to-head. While Castellani had the edge in 19.1, I’m going to just play the numbers and say Caron will get the win this time around.
TM: Carole Castellani
Sabrina Caron (formerly Nunes), beat Castellani in three out of five workouts last year, and bested her in the Open in 2017, and 2018, but I think the “how and when,” matter for this one. The first week of the Open is typically more user-friendly in terms of skill and loading, and for the last three years has been slightly longer with 15-20 minute time caps. In all three instances, Castellani has gotten the better of Caron, and last year 19.1 was the difference-maker for Castellani being able to take home the title of French National Champion. Unless Open programming makes a significant turn from tradition, I’m going with Castellani.
Kaique Cerveny vs. Gui Domingues, Tata Rebane vs. Susana Etto presented by the Brazil CrossFit Championship
- Location: Kranio CrossFit – Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Start time: The event pre-show will begin at 4:40 PM PST, with the announcement event beginning at 5:00 PM PST.
- How to watch: The livestream can be watched on the BCC channel on TVNSports here, as well as on the Games website.
- Background: A double matchup of Brazilian athletes from multiple age categories. Cerveny is a young and up-and-coming athlete who finished 22nd in the Open in Brazil at just 21 years-old. Domingues was just one spot away from a trip to the Games, finishing 2nd in Brazil in the Open and is a 3-time individual Regional athlete. Rebane was the top Brazilian woman at the 2019 BCC, and finished 7th in the Open, while Etto was 3rd overall in the Open for Brazil and finished 7th at the Games in the womens 35-39 category.
JL: Gui Domingues and Tata Rebane
Gui Domingues finished the 2018 Open in the top spot for Brazil and came in second by 12 points last year. Kaique Cerveny’s 22nd place finish last year seems like a lot of ground to make up on the Regionals veteran considering the fact that Domingues bested Cerveny in every single Open WOD last year.
Both Susana Etto and Tata Rebane are masters athletes with impressive careers. Even though Etto handidly beat Rebane in last season’s Open, 3rd to 7th, Etto’s worst performance by far was in 19.1, 23rd place to Rebane’s 3rd. The kickoff Open workout has trended towards longer, higher rep, lower-skill capacity workouts in the past and if that shows up again I’m betting that Rebane will win. Also, Etto is coming off competing at the 2019 CrossFit Games in the Masters 35-39 division a little more than two months ago.
BD: Gui Domingues and Susana Etto
Kaique Cerveny looks like he will be in position for the biggest breakout performance in 20.1, he’s young and in the hyper improvement phase competitively; however I just do not see this one heading his direction just yet. Last year Domingues had far fewer holes in his game and vastly out-performed Cerveny (including in the all-engine/low-skill 19.1), which isn’t to say the gap hasn’t closed but it’s a large moat to cross in a span of about 6 months since the end of the last Open.
Much respect to Tata Rebane for consistently chipping her way up the leaderboard in the 35-39 women’s division, but Susana Etto has been climbing the leaderboard at a huge rate since starting CrossFit in 2016 and I believe her seventh-place finish at the Games (against high-level athletes like Becca Voigt-Miller, Carleen Mathews and division champion Anna Tobias) will be a boost for even more going forward.
TM: Gui Domingues and Susana Etto
Cerveny may be a young and up-and-coming athlete with a bright future in Brazil, but we’re still just seven months removed from the 2019 Open where Domingues beat Cerveny in every single workout and did so fairly handily. In a sport where young athletes progress rapidly in what feels like a matter of months, the off-season and turn around for this year feels just a little too short for such a drastic turn around for Cerveny to catch an athlete such a Domingues that has finished no lower than 4th in Brazil the last four years.
Susana Etto had a career year in 2019, with her best finish ever in the Open both worldwide and in Brazil. She bested Rebane in both of these categories, and despite the fact that Rebane beat her by one spot at the Brazil CrossFit Championships, Etto got the last laugh, qualifying for the CrossFit Games in the Masters 35-39 division and finishing 7th in an extremely talented field. Etto has improved her Open performance every single year since she started CrossFit in 2016, and she’s still relatively new to the sport. Barring a 19.1 repeat (Etto is 5 inches shorter, and 25lbs lighter), I think Etto is trending in the right direction and will take this one.
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