CrossFit Games Day One Individual Recap
Day one of the 2023 CrossFit Games started with a bang on Thursday, August 3. The day was packed, with three tests and 300 points up for grabs.
Test 1: “Ride”
The Games kicked off its final year in Madison with Test 1: “Bike” at Quann Park with the women. In the longest bike race programmed at the Games, the athletes had 40 minutes to accumulate as many laps as possible on their Trek bike. One lap was 2600 meters in total, 200m of transition running with the bike, and 2400m of biking over the course of 22 turns.
3, 2, 1…Go:
Boz led off the mass start, then peeled off, and the women separated quickly into packs. Laura Horvath pulled away first and completed the first lap in 6:23. She fell off the lead after lap one as Katrin Davidsdottir made a move on her around the 6:30 mark. Katrin led lap two until the young Canadian Emma Lawson made her move. Lawson took the lead for lap three and held firm, adding to it as the race progressed, and never gave it up.
As the athletes watched Lawson pull away, you could see and hear communication between the ladies in the main pack behind Lawson. Fellow Canadian Emily Rolfe, who had to withdraw from the Games last year with a severe blood clot in her left arm, was in second place by the 25-minute mark.
As the time ticked away, the trailing pack poured on the gas to make the gate behind Lawson and Rolfe, and eleven athletes succeeded. It was then a race to the finish. Lawson looked cool, calm, and collected the entire race, aware of the time needed on her final lap to make the gate closing time and sprint for the win—a veteran move from the young athlete. Lawson immediately jumped off the bike after the win, cramping. “I probably should have had more sodium before this event!” she laughed.
- Seher Kaya and Matilde Garnes got mixed up in a turn which led to Emma Cary sliding off the side of the course and coming off her bike.
- It was Emma Lawson’s first career individual win at the CrossFit Games and her fifth top-ten finish.
- Emma Lawson
- Emily Rolfe
- Emma Tall
On the Men’s side:
The same as women, the men had a rolling start. It was a significant advantage for the men to know how many laps the women hit, as it was a great gauge to time their output. The men started tighter near the front than the women in their opening lap.
3, 2, 1…Go:
Jonne Koski and Jeff Adler took the lead early, and you could see them chatting about how to work together at the end of lap one. A solid five-lead pack came together just before ten minutes in, with Jay Crouch, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, and Roman Khrennikov joining Koski and Adler. These five raced the course together, alternating the lead, drafting off each other, with, at times, Koski almost coaching the group.
The top five men began to lap other riders with about eight minutes left before the gate closed, and once they got through the gate, the final lap was a race to the finish line. In the end, Koski pulled away to win his fourth career test, his third in the opening test of the Games. It was the first non-swimming win of his career at the CrossFit Games.
While these men were lapping the field, Pat Vellner was doing Pat Vellner things, finishing in 27th place. Oddly enough, Justin Medeiros was somehow drawn into his orbit, finishing in 29th due to two falls.
- Justin Medeiros finished 29th; his lowest Games finish ever.
- This year is the fourth time Vellner finished the opening test in 27th place or worse.
- Jonne Koski
- Jeff Adler
- Jay Crouch
Test 2: “Pig Chipper”
10 pig flips
25 chest-to-bar pull-ups
100 wall-ball shots
25 chest-to-bar pull-ups
10 pig flips
3, 2, 1…Go:
The athletes moved to North Park to take on Test 2: “Pig Chipper.” With two heats of 20, the women took the field first.
Rookie Olivia Kerstetter took the lead early in the first round of Pig flips, clearly one of the strongest athletes in the heat, but Sydney Wells and Bethany Flores quickly caught her. Post-wall-ball shots, Flores, with her tight kip and faster toes-to-bar cycle time, got herself back to the chest-to-bar pull-ups first in the heat, but Baylee Rayl had already made up a lot of time during her second set of toes-to-bar and joined Flores quickly. The second set of Pig flips hit most athletes like a Mack truck, with Flores getting there first but Rayl getting the first flip on the field. Kerstetter overtook both women and made her move on the Pig return, winning the heat.
In the final heat, Annie Thorisdottir and Laura Horvath were the first women to the chest-to-bar pull-ups, leaning into their veteran experience with the Pig. Fresh off her last-place finish in the first event, Emma Cary made a charge during the wall-ball shots and got back to the gymnastics first.
Cary was first to the second set of Pig flips, but seemed to struggle with it. Out of nowhere, Horvath got to the Pig and picked it up like it was nothing, and the rest was history. Horvath took the win, beating Kerstetter by over two minutes. Thorisdottir finished in eighth place, possibly going too fast on her first trip down the field.
- 16 out of 40 women were time capped in the test.
- Laura Horvath
- Arielle Loewen
- Alexis Raptis
In the men’s first heat, Arthur Semenov and rookie Kaique Cervany came out quickly and got to the gymnastics first. Spencer Panchik promptly took over the lead and won the heat, with BKG holding off a push from James Sprague for second.
Heat two started with a bang, with no men able to quickly separate from the group, and the field stayed tight during the gymnastics. Khrennikov took the lead during the wall-ball shots and was soon joined by Lazer Djukic and Jayson Hopper. Djukic and Khrennikov got to the Pig within seconds of each other, but Roman pulled out the win, quickly finding his rhythm on the Pig. Djukic finished shortly behind, followed by Fikowski. Pat Vellner began his climb back up the leaderboard, pulling off a sixth place finish in the test.
- Justin Medeiros was time capped and looked nothing like himself.
- This is Khrennikov’s fourth event win at the Games.
- Roman Khrennikov
- Lazar Djukic
- Brent Fikowski
Test Three: “Inverted Medley”
3, 2, 1…Go:
The athletes headed into the Coliseum for the first time this week to tackle a true gymnastic skill test with a mix of handstand obstacles and pullovers.
The former gymnasts put on a show getting inverted. Level 8 gymnast Baylee Rayl started it off as the only woman to finish in the first heat, and Shelby Neal continued it in the second heat. Neal finished in under four minutes setting a new time to beat. Emily Rolfe, Sydney Wells, and Bethany Flores also finished within the time cap. The ex-gymnasts continued to shine in heat three when Elisa Fuliano held off a charging Katrin Davidsdottir. The event ended with Danielle Brandon being shot out of a cannon, making it to the pullovers in less than a minute.
One fall on the way back meant nothing, as Brandon massacred the top time, winning the test and her third straight handstand walking event. Paige Powers pulled ahead of Alexis Raptis and grabbed third in the test. Raptis finished next and held on to the overall lead at the end of Day 1. Six women finished in the final heat.
- Once again, Laura Horvath struggled upside down and finished the test in 27th place.
- Danielle Brandon
- Elisa Fuliano
- Paige Powers
In the first heat, Spencer Panchik came out solid and was one of only two men to finish under the time cap. As the event progressed, eyes moved to Nick Matthew, who had success in last year’s skill event, but Matthew had a couple of falls this year and could not pull out the win. In the second to last heat Cole Greashaber put up the top time and finished in under four minutes. Jonne Koski was close on his tail until a fall cost him several spots on the leaderboard.
A bruised and battered Justin Meideros went unbroken on the pullovers–the only man to do so–in the final heat, and after a beautiful handstand pushup save on the journey back down his lane, he finished the day with a second-place finish in Test 3. The champ is battling back.
- Khrennikov ended his day with his third straight top-five finish.
- Cole Greashaber
- Justin Medeiros
- Bayley Martin