CrossFit Games

Week Three Team Semifinals Recap: Europe and Asia

June 4, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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The final week of team competition has ended, and 12 more teams have earned their tickets to the 2023 CrossFit Games from the Europe and Asia Semifinals.

Europe: This weekend at the European Semifinals, 10 teams punched their tickets to the CrossFit Games, including three from CrossFit Oslo. Here are the three big stories from this weekend at the European Semifinal:

Andre Houdet’s triumphant transition to team competition: 

After two consecutive individual CrossFit Games appearances in 2021 and 2022, Houdet made the switch to the team division this year, taking on the role of captain of CrossFit No Shortcuts.

  • After leading his team to a fourth-place worldwide finish following Quarterfinals, Houdet and his team continued to dominate the European Semifinals taking home a first-place finish at the end of the weekend.
  • This weekend, Houdet’s team only finished two of the six tests outside the top three, taking home three third-place finishes and one event win.

The powerhouse team: Besides Houdet, CrossFit No Shortcuts consists of three other powerhouse athletes with numerous years of Games experience.

  • CrossFit Butcher’s Lab athlete, Julian Kragh-Maschivitsz (3-time Games Veteran), 4-time Games veteran Nienke Van Overveld, and 2-time Games veteran Dr. Julie Hougard Nielson all joined Houdet on the floor this weekend.
  • “They have been the core of the team,” said Houdet about Ninke and Julie in a post-game interview this weekend.
  • “They have a lot of experience and me and Julian don’t have a lot of team experience, so we’ve been able to draw a lot of knowledge from them,” he continued.

Journey to the top: While day one of the competition left CrossFit No Shortcuts outside of a podium position, in fourth overall, day two would launch them clean into first overall.

  • The final day would end with CrossFit No Shortcuts atop the podium, finishing eight points ahead of rival team CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue.
  • “I’m super proud,” said Houdet in an interview following test five. “We’ve been grinding out in the middle of nowhere Denmark, almost living together and training together the majority of the time,” he continued.
  • “I’m just super proud of the sacrifices the team has made to be here right now,” Houdet concluded.

Coming into the team competition this weekend, Houdet had reportedly stated that his expectations were to “fly under the radar”. However, after this weekend’s performance, it’s clear that CrossFit No Shortcuts will be on everyone’s radar heading into the Games.

The Nordic region dominates the European leaderboard:

Coming into the weekend, there was no doubt that the leaderboard would be topped by Nordic teams. With seven teams competing out of Norway (six of which were from one affiliate, CrossFit Oslo), seven teams from Denmark, two teams from Sweden, two teams from Finland, and one team from Iceland, that meant that 19 of the 41 teams competing this weekend hailed from the Nordic region.

  • For reference, the Nordic region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.
  • This isn’t the first year that the Nordic region has dominated Europe.
  • In 2022, eight of the ten teams were from the Nordic region. An increase from 2021, where six of the ten teams hailed from the Nordic region.

This year, they will once again dominate the Games, with eight of the ten qualifying teams hailing from the Nordic region.

  • Of those eight teams, four are from Norway, two from Sweden, one from Finland, and one from Denmark
  • According to CrossFit’s official Affiliate Locator Map, Norway currently is home to just over 80 affiliates, while the United States has over 5,000.
  • This means that for every 263 affiliates, the United States qualifies one team for the Games. While in Norway, for every 20 affiliates, they will have one team at the Games. 

CrossFit Oslo becomes the second affiliate to qualify three teams from one Semifinal:

Last weekend, CrossFit Invictus became the first affiliate to qualify three teams for the CrossFit Games from one affiliate out of one Semifinal. This weekend, CrossFit Oslo became the second.

  • Interestingly, both gyms share a mutual connection with eight-time Games veteran Kristin Holte. Not only was Holte an Invictus athlete coached by Cj Martin for much of her career, but also performed much of her training at her home gym, CrossFit Oslo.
  • While Oslo sent six teams to the European semifinal, only three would qualify.
  • CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue, CrossFit Oslo Blackout, and CrossFit Oslo Najs have all earned their ticket to the CrossFit Games after this weekend, with CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue standing on the podium in second at the conclusion of the competition.

With the two affiliates each sending three teams, this means that nearly 17% of the team field will hail from two affiliates alone.

  • Factor in the teams representing CrossFit Mayhem’s training program and more than one-quarter of the Games field in the team competition will be representing just three training programs/affiliates.

Asia: This weekend, two more teams finalized their spots this summer in Madison, including the first ever team from Korea. Here are two big things you need to know from this weekend’s team competition at the Far East Throwdown.

CrossFit Fly High Kolesnikov Team proved they’re not here to be messed with: After a top 50 finish worldwide during Quarterfinals and a first overall finish in Asia, CrossFit Fly High Kolesnikov Team was the favorite to take home the top spot on the podium.

  • After three days of competition, Kolesnikov team finished first overall, 65 points ahead of second place team, CrossFit Marvel Black.
  • Over the course of the weekend, Kolesnikov team finished every workout inside the top two, including four event wins.
  • Beyond the 65 point gap between them and second place, Kolesnikov Team also created 105 point gap between themselves and third place. For context, the point gap between first and third in Europe was just 27 points.

CrossFit Marvel Black becomes the first team to represent Korea at the CrossFit Games:

  • While the teams qualifying out of the Asia region have historically represented the UAE, CrossFit Marvel Black is looking to change that.
  • This weekend, CrossFit Marvel Black only had one finish outside the top five, putting them in second place overall, 40 points ahead of Stud CrossFit Team Stud.
  • Captained by CrossFit Seminar Staff, Carlos Albaladejo, this will be the rookie year for all members of the team as they take on their first CrossFit Games this summer.
  • And while they might all be rookies at the Games, they are no stranger to competition.
  • All members of CrossFit Marvel Black have competed in at least one Semifinal event in the past three seasons, either as an individual or on a team.
  • While Albaladejo qualified for the Games with his team this weekend, its also important to note that he just barely missed qualification for the masters division as well this spring, finishing 11th in the Age Group Semifinals for the 35-39 division.

The big picture: With Semifinals in the rearview mirror and 39 teams punching their tickets to Madison this summer, it’s time to look forward to the Games and who will be crowned the Affiliate Cup Champion this summer.

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