Ricky vs Roman: CrossFit’s Next Great Rivalry Continues at TYR Wodapalooza as Garard Comes Out on Top
The 2023 TYR Wodapalooza came to a close for the individual athletes on Friday, January 13. They took on three more events–two with two parts–and they battled for the three podium spots. The race ultimately came down to Ricky Garard and Roman Khrennikov, who put on an incredible show and continued CrossFit’s next great rivalry as the Australian nudged out his counterpart.
Event 4: We Have Lift Off – The opening event on Friday was a two-parter, but it was only worth 100 total points. The athletes started with three lift attempts where they had 20 seconds to attempt a one-rep max clean and jerk. They then transitioned to a parallette free-standing handstand hold for max time. The lift accounted for 60% of the score while the hold was the remaining 40%.
- Guilherme Malheiros was the story of the clean and jerk. The Brazilian has a reputation for impressive lifts, and he did not disappoint.
- Malheiros stunned the announcers by successfully lifting a record-setting 395 pounds. He was unable to turn in a strong time on the handstand hold, but he still locked up some crucial points considering that he entered the event 30th overall and left 18th.
- Try as they might, none of the other athletes could get within reach of Malheiros’ weight. Though several turned in better handstand holds. A fitting example is Cole Greashaber, who only finished 18th in the lift before easily winning the handstand hold.
- The early heats brought the thunder during the clean and jerk, but the podium contenders just performed consistently. Garard, Patrick Vellner, and Khrennikov all maintained their stops atop the leaderboard after turning in strong lifts and consistent times on the handstand hold.
Event 5: Double Shot With a Splash – This grueling event featured two rounds with three movements. The athletes started with 50 wall ball shots (30 pounds) and then they completed an open-water swim. They capped off each round with 150 drag rope double unders.
- Once again, Malheiros turned heads during the first heat of the workout. He was calm and collected throughout both rounds as he posted the top time at 16:12.16. He needed to stay above the 20-athlete cutline, and this time ultimately secured fifth place in the event and 13th place on the overall leaderboard.
- The second and final heat was all about Khrennikov and Garard. The two podium finishers from the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games continued their back-and-forth battle that has lasted several months across multiple competitions.
- Khrennikov finished the second set of wall ball shots first, but an issue with his goggles opened up the door for Garard to take the lead once again on the swim.
- The battle between Garard and Khrennikov came down to the final set of double unders. Garard had the lead, but he stopped on his second set of 50 while Khrennikov kept going.
- A missed rep by Khrennikov opened up an opportunity for Garard, but the Russian ultimately crossed the finish line a tenth of a second ahead for his third event win.
- While Khrennikov and Garard battled for first, Brent Fikowski did normal Fikowski things. He calmly worked his way through the event and finished third overall to lock up another 90 points and keep himself within reach of a potential podium spot.
- What about Vellner? The perennial TYR Wodapalooza champion had to take several breaks during his final round of double unders. He finished the event 12th overall, but he dropped below Khrennikov on the overall leaderboard.
Event 6: Miami Meat Market and Dirty Isabel – The final individual event shook out over two parts. The first–Miami Meat Market–featured three rounds of 25 chest-to-bar pull-ups and 15 dumbbell bench press, which went immediately into 30 calories on the Echo Bike.
The second part of the final event–Dirty Isabel–was nasty after all of the previous events. The athletes had one minute to rest after the previous event’s time cap, and then they had to complete 30 bar-facing burpees and 30 unbroken power snatches at 125 pounds. Every time they set the bar down, they had to complete three more bar-facing burpees.
- Khrennikov entered the Miami Meat Market with three event wins, which put him only 30 points behind Garard. He went out and captured his fourth event win while Garard finished second. Vellner and Melheiros rounded out the top four and set up an exciting finish.
- Dirty Isabel was nasty on paper, and it was even worse for the male athletes. They went deep into the pain cave while trying to complete all of their bar-facing burpees and power snatches.
- Dallin Pepper won the event after getting capped on the Miami Meat Market. This took away 100 possible points from Khrennikov. Henrik Haapalainen then finished second and took 90 points away.
- Vellner did not capture another TYR Wodapalooza title, but he had another strong performance. He capped off the two-day event with a third-place finish, and he secured another podium finish while grabbing 80 points of his own.
- There was still one more opportunity for Khrennikov to pass Garard and potentially point his way to the top of the podium, but he was not able to do so. His breaks after the penalty burpees were longer, which helped Garard pull away for the final time.
- Khrennikov still delivered a podium finish in his first appearance in Miami. He finished second overall and showed that he will continue to be a name to watch in the future.
The top-five athletes at the end of the competition:
- Ricky Garard – 689 points
- Roman Khrennikov – 643 points
- Patrick Vellner – 632 points
- Brent Fikowski – 541 points
- Cole Greashaber – 536 points
One big thing: Is there a competition where Fikowski doesn’t deliver some big moments? The veteran competitor started TYR Wodapalooza with a 17th-place finish and followed it up with a ninth. He appeared to be out of contention, but he immediately locked up 185 points in Start Fast, Finish Strong A and B.
- Fikowski continued to make moves during the final day of the individual competition. He steadily worked his way up the leaderboard with strong performances, headlined by the third-place finish in Double Shot With a Splash. He then capped off Friday with two more consistent finishes, which helped him leapfrog Mathew.
The bottom line: CrossFit has always had fascinating rivalries. Rich Froning vs. Scott Panchik during the 2014 Central East Regionals is at the top of the list. Then there was Ben Smith vs. Mat Fraser in 2015 and Fraser vs. Noah Ohlsen in 2019. There are several others, but these are some standout examples.
- Now we have Garard vs. Khrennikov – a rivalry built out of mutual respect that breaks through language barriers. The two men are fierce competitors, and they both perform extremely well regardless of the challenge. Being able to watch them battle in the future only guarantees that CrossFit competitions will still be incredible, especially when they also have to contend with two-time CrossFit Games champion Justin Medeiros.