The CrossFit German Throwdown Highlights Previous Games Champs and a New Generation of Contenders
The third weekend of Semifinals action is here, and unique to this weekend is the fact that all the participating events will be held virtually due to ongoing restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of the events will have standardized programming provided by the CrossFit Games team.
The Europe continent is split into two Semifinals, the German Throwdown and Lowlands Throwdown, following a similar trend from the old Regionals format in 2018 when European athletes were filtered into either the Europe or Meridian Regionals due to a continued increase in participation thanks to the successes of superstars like Annie Thorisdottir, Katrin Davidsdottir, Sara Sigmundsdóttir, Kristin Holte, and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson.
What’s At Stake
The German Throwdown will host one half of the European contingent that has placed an individual athlete on the podium every year since 2009, but has failed to yield a podium finisher in the Affiliate Cup since its inception.
The standardized programming announced last week, has a tremendous amount of volume and skill, borrowing from stage one of the 2020 CrossFit Games, as well as classic CrossFit programming through a new benchmark workout. In total, five men, five women, and five teams will earn the right to compete at the CrossFit Games through the German throwdown, with another three men and women extending their season through the Last Chance Qualifier.
Games Picks: Women
- Katrin Davidsdottir: The two-time champion and silver medalist from the 2020 Games is an easy pick to navigate the weekend considering her tenure in the sport, and familiarity with virtual competition with the highest stakes. It may not all be smooth sailing, and the key for Davidsdottir will be navigating the volume of ring muscle-ups in Event 3, and the legless rope climbs of Event 5. She could need to rally for a Games spot if she has poor performances on both.
- Kristin Holte: Holte has battled back admirably from multiple injuries, including a herniated disc in 2020, to continually perform at the highest level. Despite that injury, Norway’s first podium finisher managed to finish 6th in stage one last season under a similar format, and if she navigates the heavy snatches of Event 4 she could easily walk away as the overall winner.
- Jacqueline Dahlstrom: The 2019 Games qualifier narrowly missed a return trip through the Norwegian CrossFit Championship in 2020 before having the season cut short and missing out on another opportunity. The Norwegian was one of only a handful of athletes to win multiple Sanctionals in 2019, and was only a couple spots away from qualifying for the Games at Regionals in 2018 and 2017.
- Samantha Briggs: Briggs has to be licking her chops looking at the volume and time domains of most of the events. Three events have a time cap of 25 minutes or higher, and include a ton of upper body pulling, something that “The Engine From England,” should thoroughly enjoy. At 39 years-old, Briggs has plenty left to showcase at the Games.
- Emma Tall: The Swedish Games veteran finished a respectable 32nd at the 2019 CrossFit Games and that same year finished in the top 10 at three different Sanctionals. In 2021 she’s finished a career best 33rd in the Open worldwide, and cracked the top-10 during the Quarterfinals.
In the hunt: Matilde Garnes, Sonia Karaskova, Hanna Karlsson, Ella Wunger
Games Picks: Men
Authors Note: There is a ton up for grabs in the men’s division this weekend. It is possible we see a repeat of the women’s division at the Granite Games, with 3-4 rookies breaking through for the first time inside the top-5.
- Jonne Koski: Jonne Koski is on a roll. Coming off a 7th place finish at the Games in 2020, Koski finished 14th worldwide in the Open, and 3rd in the Quarterfinals, entering as the top seeded athlete in the field. He has tremendous endurance and skill, two things that will show up in spades this weekend, and if he handles the heavy snatches of Event 4, he could win handily this weekend.
- Elliot Simmonds: Simmonds started the season with his best ever finish in the Open (15th), and the only thing knocking him back from a top-10 finish in the Quarterfinals is the front squat. He’ll relish the longer events this weekend, and has all the skills to match the volume of gymnastics. He’ll have his wife – 2020 bronze medalist Jamie Simmonds – in his corner as he goes for third trip to the Games as an individual, which can’t hurt.
- Giorgios Karavis/Alex Kotoulas: This pick may be cheating, but both of the top men in Greece have performed extremely well this season in online competition. Kotoulas won test 2 of the Quarterfinals, and Karavis finished the Quarterfinals fourth overall. Both have showed bright spots, but I only believe one will make it through. I’m just not sure which one yet.
- Andre Houdet: Houdet has taken the long road to building himself up as a Games level athlete since first competing in 2014, and last season qualified for the Games last season as a part of Butchers Lab’s team that won the Pandaland CrossFit Challenge before the team season was cut short. Houdet is the 3rd highest ranking male out of the Quarterfinals here, and I expect him to keep the momentum going.
- Lazar Dukic: The five-time reigning fittest man in Serbia has the ability to catch fire and absolutely demolish workouts, but he also tends to have a few letdowns as well. In the Quarter finals he finished Test 2 in second, and won Test 3, but then had back to back finishes outside the top-100. He won Open workout 20.5 worldwide last year in spectacular fashion, and could see-saw his way to a spot in what should be a hotly contested race for the final few spots in this division.
In the hunt: Joshua Al-Chamaa, PD Savage, Lukas Esslinger, Fabian Beneito, Alexadre Pinsolle
Teams: Games Picks
Authors note: All of the top five seeded teams placed within the top ten during the European Team Quarterfinals.
- Moreover, Team From the Port and CrossFit Oslo Wolfpack only had 11 points separating their final finishes at the conclusion of the Team Quarterfinals.
- Both teams also took home one event win and one second place finish during Team Quarterfinals.
From The Port:
- Open Ranking (Worldwide): 45
- Team Quarterfinal Ranking: 2
- Previous Games Appearances: None, but they competed as a team at the 2019 Dubai CrossFit Championship where they took 4th.
CrossFit Oslo Wolfpack:
- Open Ranking (Worldwide): 22
- Team Quarterfinal Ranking: 4
- Previous Games Appearances: None, but numerous regional appearances at the European Regional.
Team CrossFit Genas:
- Open Ranking (Worldwide): 27
- Team Quarterfinal Ranking: 6
- Notable Athletes: Carole Castellani – 2019 CrossFit Games athlete and 2019 fittest in France.
- Open Ranking (Worldwide): 131
- Team Quarterfinal Ranking: 8
- Previous Games Appearances: 2015 (9th place) and 2017 (20th place)
- Notable Athletes: Filippa Ferm – four time CrossFit Games athlete (three times as a teenager and one time on Team Fabriken in 2018)
- Open Ranking (Worldwide): 83
- Team Quarterfinal Ranking: 10
- Previous Games Appearances: None