“Clash of Champions”: Why Open Announcement 14.5 Will Go Down as the Greatest Ever
One of the reasons why the CrossFit Open live announcements have become such a staple within the community is because CrossFit can gather elites and put them in one spot to throw down against each other. This year for 22.1 they have done it again with Patrick Vellner, Noah Ohlsen, Bethany Shadburne and Danielle Brandon heading to Boulder, Colorado to kick off the season, and fans absolutely love it. As cool as this and past match-ups have been, the collection of athletes for 14.5 is arguably the greatest ever assembled and will perhaps never be seen again.
Remind me: Morning Chalk Up writer John Newby perfectly captured Open Announcement 14.5 during his series of top-5 Open moments. It was a standing-room only crowd packed into Kezar Pavilion and they got to see Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Graham Holmberg, Samantha Briggs and Annie Thorisdottir take on a 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 couplet of thrusters and bar-facing burpees.
- This match-up was also noteworthy because it was the first time that men and women shared the floor and competed against each other.
- It was Froning that tracked down Briggs and ultimately took the win. At the time we didn’t know that this would be Froning’s final year as an individual competitor.
The end of an era? The collection of champions gathered by former CrossFit Games mastermind Dave Castro in San Francisco is one that will probably never be seen on the competition floor again. Five champions, five athletes whose faces arguably could be chiseled on the Mt. Rushmore of the sport, on one floor, competing against each other.
Let’s look at the list of champions that are currently active competitors: Justin Medeiros, Tia-Clair Toomey, Katrin Davidsdottir, Annie Thorisdottir, Sam Briggs, Ben Smith and Rich Froning.
- In that group two are possibly in their final year of competition (Briggs and Froning), Toomey has never competed in a live, sanctioned CrossFit Open announcement and probably has no interest in doing so. Smith, Thorisdottir and Davidsdottir have competed under the announcement lights but at this point probably have no interest as well. Medeiros got his first taste last year during 21.2 and he seemed to enjoy his time and I wouldn’t rule him out of appearing again.
In the current state of the sport, there’s a lack of parity that would make a gathering of champions like that difficult to replicate. Toomey has simply dominated and looks well on her way to her unprecedented sixth “Fittest” title. Medeiros looks like he has a run of championships that could rival Mat Fraser especially given his age at just 22.
Even then getting four, let alone five, past and current champions at their peak on the same floor together would be very hard to do and the near future doesn’t look promising.
The current best case scenario would be Toomey, Thorisdottir, Davidsdottir, Medeiros and perhaps Froning in a farewell appearance all throwing down next year perhaps in the final workout. That arguably would surpass 14.5 in terms of star power as 14 titles are represented between the five of them. But the chances of that happening are slim to none.
The bottom line: Open announcement 14.5 should be looked back upon as an event that perhaps we took for granted. Five champions at the peak or near the peak of their athletic abilities going head-to-head in an intimate setting with the mastermind of it all, Castro, setting the stage is something that will probably never be duplicated again.