Inside The Bubble, Competition Gets Up Close And Personal

October 23, 2020 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC
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There were a lot of uncertainties surrounding how a competition with just five athletes in each division and no fans would look inside the CrossFit Games bubble, particularly when it comes to events like the CrossFit Total.

Sprawling, dynamic layouts like the two morning events at the Ranch provide enough action to occupy the viewer, and keep the flow of production feeling normal, but the static intimacy of the action during the CrossFit Total Friday provided some interesting new elements to the competition experience for viewers and athletes.

Mic’d up: Without fans in the stands, or the need for a floor announcer dictating the action, viewers at home were actually able to audibly hear the athlete’s voices on the floor as they moved through their various lifts.

  • “Yeah baby!”: Going into the third and final lift of the back squat, Noah Ohslen was 10 pounds behind the next closest athlete and needed his 455 pound lift to stay in the hunt. After fighting through the middle portion of the lift, Ohlsen let out this gem while exhaling as he stood up his squat to completion.
  • “This I’m proud of.”: Jeffrey Adler may have earned his first ever event win in the CrossFit Total, but he let everyone know which lift brightened his day the most when he managed to stick his final press attempt at 207 pounds which was good enough for a personal record.
  • We’ve seen this before in other sports where certain players will be mic’d up throughout an NFL game, or during a broadcast, sideline parabolic mics will purposefully pick up player banter to be used during intermission periods.

Coaches orders: The other main benefit of having no fans was the ability for athlete coaches and plus ones to be standing literally 20-30 feet away from the athletes while they were lifting allowing them to strategize and engage directly with them after not being allowed to make the trip to the Ranch for the morning events.

  • Every athlete between lifts made the short walk at some point to the signage guardrail outlining the field of play where their coaches were standing to discuss the next jump face-to-face. It allowed viewers at home to witness the athlete-coach dynamic take place on the actual floor whereas coaches are typically much further away on the sidelines when 40+ athletes are sprawled across the field.
  • Tia-Clair Toomey took full advantage of this during her deadlift attempts. She was in a close race with Brooke Wells who was on the opposite end of the floor and was also first to go. With husband and coach Shane Orr’s help she was able to determine what she needed to lift in the final attempt to secure first place and another 100 points.

The bottom line: It’s a much more intimate competition setting and not only do we get to see more of each athlete and their coaches, we also get to hear more as well. We probably will not ever get a setting like this again, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the production team really leans into this fact and we get more of the same in the coming events.

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