CrossFit Games

Gabi Migala Pulls Herself into the Lead on Day Two in Germany

June 3, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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A first, second and a third place finish helped Poland’s Gabriela Migala steal the lead from Friday’s leader, Sweden’s Emma Tall, on Saturday at the Europe Semifinal in Berlin, Germany.

  • “I was just aware that we (had) 200 points to grab…and like I said before I (was) going to take advantage that this weekend we have three running workouts, so I was trying my best” Migala said after Tests 4 and 5. 

Just behind Migala after Saturday are two more athletes who put forth three top-10 finishes on Saturday: Eleven-time CrossFit Games athlete Annie Thorisdottir (22 points back) and Slovakia’s Karin Freyova (25 points back), who, along with Laura Horvath, also posted the heaviest snatch of the day (210 pounds). Rounding out the top five are Tall in fourth, and Horvath, six points behind Tall in fifth. 

Bubble watch: With 11 spots up for grabs in Germany, the bubble watch is arguably even more important than the race for the podium, and there are currently six athletes within 40 points of Italy’s Elisa Fuliano, currently on the cutline in 11th.

  • Among them include veteran Sara Sigmundsdottir, attempting to return to Madison, WI for the first time since 2020. She sits in 12th and just nine points behind 11th, while three-time Games athlete Norway’s Jacqueline Dahlstrom, is in 17th and 40 points away from the cut line.
  • Further, another strong contender coming in, Spain’s Oihana Moya—a Last Chance Qualifier competitor the last two seasons—sits in 15th, 25 points away from the cutline.

Saturday details:

Test 3: Heading into the final heat, all athletes were chasing down Scotland’s Jennifer Muir’s time of 12:25.97 on the strength event, Semifinals Linda. But it was Thorisdottir who wasted no time taking the lead on Migala, a lead she held up until the very end.

  • Thorisdottir maintained a two-rep lead over Migala on the round of threes, but then things got a bit closer. A no-rep from Thorisdottir on a clean on the round of twos helped Migala inch closer.
  • On the final round, Thorisdottir finished her deadlift and dumbbell bench press slightly ahead of Migala and got to her final barbell first, but then Migala somehow stood up from her clean a little faster and slid across the finish line, baseball-style, helping the 25-year-old Migala cross the line two hundredths of a second before Thorisdottir (12:08.95 to 12:08.97).
  • Muir’s time held up for third, while the top-ranked athlete in the world, Horvath (ninth after Day 1), quietly finished fourth, helping her inch closer to the top three.

Also notable: The last time Linda was programmed was at the 2018 Regionals (although with a barbell as opposed to dumbbells for the bench press). Sigmundsdottir won the event at the Europe Regional that year by 1 minute and 44 seconds over Horvath. On Saturday in Berlin, Sigmundsdottir was 13th.

Test 4: The second test of the day—an 800-meter run followed by a max snatch in a six-minute window—saw 13 athletes hit 190 pounds or more. But prior to the final heat, only one athlete had hit 200 pounds: France’s Marie Robin in the first heat.

  • Three athletes went on to hit at least this heavy in the final heat, led by Horvath, who looked like she had more in the tank but ran out of time. She hit 210 pounds at the buzzer, a lift matched by Freyova (Freyova took the event win in the tie-break), while Migala was good for 200. 
  • Not to be outdone, Thorisdottir was close behind with 195 pounds, as was Belgium’s Manon Angonese, who has been comfortably in the top 10 all weekend. 
  • Tall, who up until now had had all top 10 finishes, had her weakest placing of the weekend so far (16th), while Sigmundsdottir and Dahlstrom, who both hit 185 pounds, finished 18th and 19th respectively, keeping them on the outside looking in. 

Test 5: The final test of the day—20 snatches at 125 pounds followed by an 800-meter run for time—saw, not surprisingly, a number of times from previous heats factoring into the final placings.

  • When all was said and done, it was Great Britain’s Aimee Cringle who bested all athletes in the final heat and hung on for the event win (3:12.18).
  • The final heat came down to a race between Migala and Freyova, with Thorisdottir close behind. They went two, three, four in the heat, and their times held up for second, third and eighth overall in the event.
  • And in a somewhat damage control event, Horvath was good for 18th, but considering her two other great performances Saturday, it was enough to keep her in the top five heading into the final day of competition, but still 45 points back of the podium.

The big picture: As we predicted yesterday, top 10 performances were the name of the game on Moving Day.

  • The top three athletes heading into Day 3—Migala, Thorisdottir and Freyova—were the only three athletes in the field to log three top 10 performances on Saturday. They lead the next next athlete, Tall, by 39 points.

But Sunday will be all about the bubble: Can Sigmundsdottir cross the cut line and make it back to Madison? Will 23-year-old Muir (currently ninth) be able to hold on to her position in the top 11 in her first Semis appearance? Or will we see a come-from-behind finish from Dahlstrom or a hungry Moya eager to finally punch her first ticket? Two events will determine it all.

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