Who Was Missing From the 2022 Rogue Invitational?

November 1, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Enrique Villaseñor (@enriquevmedia)
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The 2022 Rogue Invitational featured 24 of the top 30 fittest men and women on earth. These 24 athletes competed in a brutal, ten-event competition just a couple of months after finishing their CrossFit Games season.

Today we’ll dive into which of these top athletes were missing, and speculate as to why they may have decided to pass on this year’s Rogue Invitational, or why it was a good decision, in retrospect. 

Who was missing? Of those finishing Top 15 at the 2022 CrossFit Games, five women and one man were missing from the 2022 Rogue Invitational athlete roster:

  • Tia-Clair Toomey (1st place at 2022 Games)
  • Mallory O’Brien (2nd)
  • Brooke Wells (5th)
  • Haley Adams (9th)
  • Kristi Eramo O’Connell (13th)
  • Guilherme Malheiros: (10th)

The competition is over and there’s no reason to play the “what-if” game, as it would take away from the athletes who did show up and compete in the ten grueling events. The real question is, why did some of these athletes opt out?

All we can do is speculate based on the information we have, but looking at the big picture it’s important to build context in the scope of a competitive season that now only features two and half months off between major events. 

Why’d they pass? Here’s our best guess as to why some of these elite athletes opted out and whether or not it was a smart choice for their 2023 success. 

  • Tia-Clair Toomey: Coming off a back injury and looking to return for her seventh consecutive title, it looks like Tia and her team made the wise decision in opting out.   With forty percent of the programming featuring “heavy” loading, and nine of the ten events including an external load, the risk may not have been worth the reward if Tia’s main goal for 2023 is another CrossFit crown. Toomey will return to the competition floor in a few weeks for Australia’s Down Under Championship, competing on a women’s team of three with PRVN teammate Brooke Wells and fellow Aussie Ellie Turner.
  • Mallory O’Brien: The young phenom was 113 points back from the top spot this year, showing incredible consistency with such a deep field and diversity of programming at the 2022 CrossFit Games. Three of O’Brien’s worst finishes were heavier events, with another one of her worst finishes being a strict deficit wall-facing handstand push-up workout. Since there were only 81 days between the conclusion of the CrossFit Games and this year’s Rogue Invitational, there has not been enough time for O’Brien to recover and improve these weaknesses. It likely would have been counterproductive for her 2023 campaign to take time away from offseason training to compete in an event that featured weaknesses she already knows she needs to improve.  
  • Brooke Wells: It’s been just over a year since Wells suffered a major elbow injury at the 2021 CrossFit Games. It’s easy to forget, being that she was able to rehab and make her way back the following season, finishing in 5th place for the second time in her career. Looking at the programming, the wooden bar muscle ups, legless rope climbs, ring muscle ups, and high volume of shoulder-to-overhead would have been a lot for that elbow. As mentioned above, Wells is teaming up with Toomey and Turner in the Down Under Championship November 18-20.
  • Haley Adams: Strength has always been the fitness skill holding Adams back from taking the next step at the CrossFit Games. The events at Rogue tested and showcased the strength of the athletes, but did not develop it. For Adams, allowing herself extra time this offseason to skip Rogue and focus on training was a good move if her ultimate goal is to showcase her progress in August. 
    • Adams explained her decision in an Instagram post: “I was SO bummed to not be out there this year[…]I made the choice to sit out off-season comps and spend this time going all in on getting stronger.”
  • Kristi Eramo O’Connell: Following the 2022 CrossFit Games and just 6 weeks of training, Kristi Eramo O’Connell ran a marathon in 3 hours and 4 minutes. There’s no doubt that she would have crushed the “Texas Trail” running event, but in a recent YouTube video, O’Connell explained that she originally agreed to compete at Rogue, but backed out after realizing she wasn’t ready. After six weeks of focused endurance training, it sounds like she made the smart decision as Rogue was a strength-biased event, featuring high volume, and very heavy implements. 
  • Guilherme Malheiros: Known for his freakish strength and power, it would have been fun for the fans to watch Gui attack some of these heavy and fast workouts. Though Malheiros was listed on the original roster, he was replaced by Henrik Haapalainen in mid-October. The 22-year-old mentioned on Instagram that he was staying in Brazil “until December,” but did not provide further detail. It’s possible that competing would not have been productive toward his development if his ultimate goal is to contend for the top spot at the 2023 CrossFit Games. However, we may see the Mayhem athlete compete on a team of three with Rich Froning and Sam Cournoyer in January’s TYR Wodapalooza.

The bottom line: Most of these athletes take two to four weeks off after the CrossFit Games, to allow their bodies to recover after an insane few months of training and competing. This gives them 6-8 weeks to get back into training and start ramping up for a big competition like the Rogue Invitational.

Athletes have to do what’s best for their career in the sport of fitness, which sometimes means taking a step back to take two steps forward. With some of the biggest names in the sport being absent, it will be very exciting to see what sort of progress they’ve made when we do have a chance to see them back on the competition floor.

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