Emma Tall, Annie Thorisdottir Lead Highly-Competitive Europe Semifinal, Laura Horvath Sits 9th
Day 1 at the Europe Semifinal in Berlin, Germany featured two very different tests that, generally speaking, led to very different athletes excelling on each.
In fact, only two athletes in the entire field packed with CrossFit Games veterans managed two top ten performances: Sweden’s Emma Tall and the Queen of Iceland Annie Thorisdottir. As a result, they lead the way in Germany.
Worth noting: Both Tall and Thorisdottir are gunning to return to Madison, WI this season after a year hiatus from individual competition. Tall withdrew before Semis last year, while the 11-time individual competitor Thorisdottir placed fourth at the Games with the CrossFit Reykjavik team.
Rounding out the top five are Poland’s Gabriela Migala, looking to punch her fifth straight ticket to the Games, three-time Games veteran Karin Freyova of Slovakia, and Sweden’s Madeleine Persson, 21st at Semis last year.
Test 1: While it’s difficult to compare the scores across the different Semifinals on Test 1, as the flooring surfaces are not the same and greatly impact the athlete’s ability on the hand-over-hand rope pulls, it’s still safe to say the European women crushed the long endurance event to start the weekend.
- Jennifer Muir, 15th at last year’s Semis, led all competitors, with Sweden’s Madeleine Persson closely behind and Migala in third.
- Thorisdottir logged, not a top performance but a solid one, good enough for seventh place, while Tall finished 10th.
- Two notable Games veterans, top-ranked Laura Horvath and Jacqueline Dahlstrom both had tough events. Horvath really seemed to struggle on the run portion of the workout, while Dahlstrom got bogged down on the rope sled pulls. They placed 23rd and 28th respectively.
Test 2: As expected, the second, very different, test of the day—a three-round interval-style gymnastics test with a ring complex, single-leg squats and burpees over a box with a weighted ruck—turned the leaderboard upside down.
- In fact, Test 1 winner Muir finished 57th on Test 2, while Claudia Gluck, 58th on Test 1, rebounded and finished second on Test 2.
- But it was Tall who took advantage of other athlete’s no reps on the rings—namely Gluck’s and Thorisdottir’s—to take the lead in the final round of the workout, finishing with 54 reps and the event win (but still far from Emma Lawson’s World Record score of 61 reps set at the North America East Semifinal).
- Horvath, who needed a big score after placing 23rd on Test 1, quietly finished fourth, and Thorisdottir—who led during the first round but had a failed muscle-up attempt in the second round that cost her valuable time—rallied back on the third round and finished eighth.
One big thing: Thorisdottir’s top-10 streak continues. The 11-time individual Games athlete has still never had an event finish outside of the top 10 at a Semifinal competition.
Where is Sara Sigmundsdottir? After tearing her ACL and cutting her 2021 season short, and failing to qualify in 2022, veteran Sara Sigmundsdottir is another strong European athlete looking to return to Madison.
- She finished 11th and 25th on Tests 1 and 2, and sits in 14th overall, 17 points away from the 11th place cut line.
The big picture: It’s still early days in Europe, but the tone was set on Day 1 with Tall and Thorisdottir proving that consistency—and ultimately top ten performances—is the name of the game in order to snag a top spot at the highly competitive Europe Semifinal.
Anyone who can string together two, or ideally three, top ten performances on Saturday will likely find themselves on the right side of the cut line heading into the final day of competition.