Patrick Vellner’s 35th Place Finish Was No Reason to Panic
The individual athletes have arrived to the CrossFit Games, kicking off event one at Lake Monona for a one-mile swim followed by a three-mile kayak. Jonne Koski built up an insurmountable lead, notching his third career victory, while former podium-finisher Patrick Vellner finished 35th. But don’t be fooled, that was the only time Vellner was caught bringing in the rear on day one.
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One big thing: Since making his rookie debut at the 2016 CrossFit Games, Vellner has struggled during the opening events and swim events, forcing him to fight for points over the remaining days.
- 36th in Run Swim Run in 2017.
- 35th in Crit in 2018.
- 35th in the Ocean Swim in 2016.
- 21st in the Madison Triplet in 2018.
Despite struggling in opening events and those involving water, Vellner has continued to fight for a spot on the podium in events at the coliseum or in Carson. A fitting example is the 2016 season. Vellner took second in the Climbing Snail, third in the Ranch Mini Chipper, and third in the Rope Chipper. He added other top ten finishes throughout the weekend to lock up third overall and his first medal.
- Vellner posted two top 20 finishes in the remaining Day 1 events in 2017, but was still outside of the top 10 as he approached the Sprint O-Course. But he wasn’t at a disadvantage for long, as he locked up a win in the event.
- The Canadian followed a similar path in 2018. He took on three events in the first day after struggling in Crit. He finished 9th in the muscle-up event, second in the CrossFit Total, and 5th in the Marathon Row. These performances pushed Vellner to sit in 6th overall at the end of day one.
The 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games continued this trend. The veteran athlete bounced back in a major way after his 35th place finish by demolishing the competition in Event 2. He finished more than 25 seconds faster than runner-up Samuel Cournoyer to move up the field. Vellner continued his strong performance with a 4th place finish in the 550-yard sprint.
Following the three early events on Wednesday, Vellner sat in 7th on the leaderboard. He was in prime position to showcase his skills in the wall walk/heavy thrusters workout and continued his steady rise. He fought with Brent Fikowski, Noah Ohlsen, and Justin Medeiros throughout the event as they all chased Scott Panchik’s time of 13:39.61.
- Vellner ultimately finished 7th overall in the event after a late slip kept him from overtaking Ohlsen. He still finished ahead of leader Jonne Koski, as well as Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, helping him lock up some crucial points.
With his strong performances during the final three events of the day, Vellner got himself back into contention. He left the Coliseum in 5th place, ahead of other contenders such as Noah Ohlsen, Jeffrey Adler, Saxon Panchik, and Chandler Smith.
The bottom line: Vellner starting a competition slowly is nothing new. He has done so multiple times throughout his career but has consistently showcased the ability to bounce back and fight for a spot on the podium. Following the first day action in Madison, WI, Vellner is clearly focused and ready to do so once again.