Standing the Test of Time: The Staggering Depth of the 2018 European CrossFit Games Regional
While the United States is home to the most affiliates of any nation (more than 6,000), there is a surplus of high-level Games competitors across Europe. And, that has been the case for several years now.
In the first part of our analysis of the 2018 Regionals, we noted that across all regions, 18 women had qualified for the Games in both 2019 and 2020. Seven of those women placed in the top ten in the European Regional that year (Laura Horvath, Sara Sigmundsdóttir, Kristin Holte, Camilla Salomonsson Hellman, Gabriela Migala, Karin Frey, and Emma McQuaid).
And there could’ve been more:
- Annie Thorisdottir won the European Regional that season but missed the 2020 Games because she was pregnant.
- Katrin Davidsdottir won the East Regional that year because she lives in New England, but will have to compete in Europe this season.
- Alessandra Pichelli won the West Regional in 2018 but has competed under the Italian banner for the last two years.
In the meantime, in the Meridian Regional, notable European athletes such as Eik Gylfadottir, Jaqueline Dahlstrom, Carmen Bosmans, and Emilia Leppanen were competing.
- While outside the top 10 in Europe, there were also standout athletes such as Emma Tall, Emlie Lundberg, and Sanna Venalainen.
- This list doesn’t include several European National Champions who were at either the European or Meridian Regional that year, including Alessia Joy Walchi, Rita Garcia, Lisa Eble, Thelma Christoforou, Nicole Pettel, Manon Angonese and Carole Castellani.
And that’s just on the women’s side: Although probably not quite as stacked at the top as the women’s field, the depth of high caliber athletes in Europe is extensive for the men too.
- All of these men competed at the European Regional in 2018 (listed in order of finish): Roman Khrennikov, Adrian Mundwiler, Lukas Hogberg, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, Bronsilaw Olenkowicz, Jak Cornthwaite, Lazar Dukic, Will Kane, PD Savage, Viktor Langsved, Uldis Upenieks, Mitchell Adams, Klaus Uggerhoj, Joshua Wichtrup, Alex Kotoulas, Casper Gammelmark, Sam Stewart, Aleksandar Ilin, Bartek Lipka, Zach George, Giorgos Karavis and Marcus Erixon.
- And that list does not include the Europeans who were competing in the Meridian Region that year (in order of finish): Rasmus Anderson, Elliot Simmonds, Lukas Esslinger, Willy Georges, Phil Hesketh, Stefano Migliorini, Sam Lubben, Joao Ferreira, Andre Houdet, Alexander Anasagasti, and Ates Boran.
European Semifinals: It is unofficial, but it seems that Europe will play host to two Semifinals this year. If that’s the case and we expect (again this is a presumption) that five athletes will qualify to the Games from each Semifinal, that means only ten of the 24 women, and ten of the 33 men listed above can make it to the Games.
- And that’s only including athletes who competed at Regionals in 2018. Some perennial elite athletes took that season off (Koski) or had not yet made the jump to the elite level.
- These include: Simon Mantyla, Jonne Koski, Kristof Horvath, Gabor Torok, David Shorunke, Dimitris Fotiou, Piotr Szczyciński, Linus Bresander, Fabian Beneito, Nicolay Billaudel, Karar Magrander, Alexandre Pinsolle, and Haraldur Holgersson are just a few of the other European men you may recognize, who were not at the 2018 Regionals.
- On the women’s side, Julie Hougard, Emelye Dwyer, Manon Lesur, Sara Alicia Fernandez Costas, Rebecka Vitesson, Louise Wickstom, Hanne Short, Vanessa Wagner, and Jayne Eadie are just a few other European athletes who have done well in the last two seasons but were not a part of the 2018 European Regional contingency.
The bottom line: The European Semifinals are going to be incredibly deep, and very competitive.
A final thought: Perhaps there is another system for dividing up Games spots to accommodate continents with incredibly deep talent pools? But this question is not fair to ask just yet. And of course, a major caveat here is the Last Chance Qualifier, which, if done well could address this situation without a need to change the current format at all.