CrossFit Games

Measurable and Repeatable: 2022 Legless Rope Climbs vs 2014

May 21, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography | Patrick Clark
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Surprise, surprise, the athletes competing at the three Semifinals events this weekend in Brisbane, Australia; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Knoxville, TN are a whole lot better at legless rope climbs than Regionals athletes who did the same event were in 2014.

Regardless of improvements being expected and obvious, it’s always fun to take a look back down memory lane to see just how much the field, as well as individuals, have improved their legless rope climb prowess in the last eight years. 

One small caveat: The 2014 Regionals event featured 10 legless rope climbs with shuttle runs in between that involved the athletes moving a chess piece between climbs. In comparison, the 2022 Semifinals event simply demands athletes touch the line on the shuttle run before running back to the rope, so it must be mentioned that this year’s athletes have a slightly faster test than in 2014.

Comparing top scores: 

The men: In 2014, the top score across all regions was 3:23 and came from Mark Desin in Latin America. After the first three Semifinals this season, the fastest time belongs to Ricky Garard, who posted a time of 2:49.04 at Torian Pro in Brisbane, Australia.

  • More impressive, however, is the fact that, out of the 90 athletes on the rosters at this weekend’s events, 63 of them went faster than Desin’s world record time in 2014. 

The women: In 2014, the top score, 4:20, came out of the Central East Region by Danielle Sidell. So far this season, Kristi Eramo-O’Connell has posted the best score with a time of 3:21.28.

  • More impressive, however, is when we consider the caliber of the larger field. In 2014, only 37 percent of the women across all of the regions were able to complete the workout before the 11-minute time cap. In comparison, 80 percent of the women at the first three Semifinals have finished the event.
  • Worth Noting: Tia-Clair Toomey, who currently is second in the world on this workout, was one of the athletes who was time capped in 2014. On Friday in Brisbane, she finished the workout in 3:32.54.

Individual improvements

A handful of athletes competing this weekend also competed eight years ago, each of whom all but crushed their scores from 2014. 

  • Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson bested his 2014 time by a minute and 14 seconds—4:11 to 2:57.29—while Will Moorad crushed his 2014 time by 48 seconds—3:44 to 2:56.61—and Scott Panchik knocked 43 seconds off his 2014 time—3:45 to 3:02.95.
  • Further, Ben Smith shaved 36 seconds off his 2014 time—4:03 to 3:27.27—and James Newbury went from 3:30 in 2014 to 3:00.89.
  • On the women’s side, the improvements were even more drastic, with Sara Sigmundsdottir knocking close to three minutes off her 2014 time—7:32 to 4:37.69—and O’Connell going nearly five minutes faster than in 2014—8:14 to 3:21.28.
  • Also notable was Kara Saunders at Torian Pro on Friday, who was more than a minute faster than she was in 2014—5:36 to 4:26.57.

The big picture: A feature of CrossFit is that it’s measurable and repeatable, allowing us to monitor progress, both as individuals and a community as a whole. The question is, where are our limits? Will Garard and Eramo-O’Connell’s times hold up over the course of the next three Semifinals weekends?

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