Scott Panchik’s Open Announcement Performance Was More Important Than You Think

April 4, 2021 by
Image Credit: Scott Panchik
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The chance to be an Open announcement athlete has historically been an honor bestowed each year to a select group of athletes who either finished the previous year in the top-10 at the Games, or have a continued history of excellence in the sport. 

What it historically is not is a chance to put forth a top score worldwide in the workout. 

That is what makes Scott Panchik’s Open announcement performance impressive. Consider that even though he retested, his original 21.3 score would have been 12th worldwide in the workout as one of the first athletes to tackle the workout, and (most likely) the first athlete in the world to finish it. 

  • Couple that with the fact that his original 21.4 score would have been higher than all but one athlete ahead of him worldwide in 21.3 — one Rich Froning Jr. who he does not have to compete against technically — and what Panchik was able to do with a few minutes notice in the pair of workouts stands as one of the better Open announcement performances we’ve seen to date.
  • Sam Briggs and Mat Fraser are the only two athletes to have finished an Open announcement with a world-leading score. Briggs first did it in 14.5 and Fraser followed suit in 19.5. 

Upon further inspection: Panchik’s total working time for 21.3 was 5:57, which over the course of 180 reps in the workout equates to a rep every 1.98 seconds for the entirety of the workout. It’s particularly impressive considering the nine required transitions, and the inclusion of a lengthy movement such as the bar muscle-up that was the crux of the test.

  • Had he kept his original scores Panchik still would have finished 3rd worldwide, which would still be good enough for a career best finish in the Open, a $5,000 payday, and bragging rights over his brothers and most of his competitors. 
  • “Ya but it’s only the Open”: Open or not, the test in week three was one of the better independent ones we’ve seen this early in the season, with all of the gymnastics movements, the thrusters, and max-lift regular mainstays at all levels of the sport.  Panchik’s first attempt at such a workout was better than nearly all of his peers.

Why this matters: There is a Mat Fraser sized vacuum at the top of the men’s division, which means Panchik’s return to the individual competition comes at a time when his chances of not only getting the podium finish at the Games that has escaped him are at an all-time high, but the dream of winning the CrossFit Games is also as “up-for-grabs,” as it has been in a decade.

  • Success at the Games means success in an athlete’s quick assessment of a test and ability translate that into a top level performance against the best in the sport at first crack, no redos.
  • After Panchik’s Open announcement performance, he joked that he felt like he could “run it back,” with his brothers and do the workouts again that night if he felt like he really needed to.

The bottom line: This is the first year that Scott Panchik will compete as an individual while utilizing the programming and help from the team over at CrossFit Mayhem. Being able to step up to the plate and beat your peers on command at a time when the throne of the sport is finally empty is a terrific sign for a hall of fame level athlete looking to finally earn a CrossFit Games podium.

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