CrossFit Games

‘Moments from Madison,’ Part Two: The Start of the Intervals

November 16, 2023 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Games (screengrab from livestream)
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Over the years CrossFit has introduced new implements, location changes, equipment drops, you name it, it’s happened. 

One of the more notable moves by CrossFit was the introduction of interval-style workouts, which are now a mainstay at the Games. 

The first: In 2017, Event 12, CrossFit introduced for the first time an interval-style workout with forced rest. Some may remember its 2-2-2-3 minute style, where, in the first 3 rounds, the athlete worked for 2 minutes, then rested a minute before starting the next interval. 

  • Each interval began with two 20-foot rope climbs and 10 calories on the ski erg. Once the buy-in was complete, the athlete would move down the floor, every 10 reps for the first 30 reps, then 3 reps thereafter, on the way to accumulating 75 OHS at 155/105 for men and women respectively. At which point the athlete could cross the finish line. This workout gave us two memorable finishes.
  • In the final heat for the men, Noah Ohlsen entered the event in 4th place, and his intentions for the event were clear. When asked about his thoughts on pacing this event, he replied “this is a sprint’.
  • True to his word, he tore through the overhead squats in the first interval, setting the pace with 30.  By the end of the second, he’d accumulated 43 reps. He would accumulate just 2 more scored repetitions the entire remainder of the workout, as general fatigue, as well as multiple failed reps on the rope climbs, took their toll on his morale and his performance.
  • Over on the women’s side, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr entered the event with a 38-point lead over Kara Webb. After 3 intervals, Webb had a 6-rep lead on Toomey, positioning herself to make up some significant points on the Games leaderboard. In interval 4, Katrin Davidsdottir finished off a dominant performance, winning the event, and Webb crossed the finish line only 14 seconds later for what seemed to be a second-place finish. 
  • With Toomey finishing in 14th, earning 52 points, Webb’s 94 points would have had her leapfrog Toomey, and it would be Webb wearing the white leader’s jersey at the Fibonacci Final, the last event for the Games, later that day. 
  • However, the judges conferred and revealed that Webb had indeed done only 72 of the 75 scored repetitions; her score was therefore invalid. Head judge Adrian Bozman determined Webb’s score should be adjusted only by six seconds for the error, but the resulting drop from 2nd to 4th in the event meant she would begin the final down by six points, rather than up by four, over Toomey. 

Since the 2017 Games, the interval-style workout has made an appearance time and time again. We’ve seen it come up in different variations over the last couple of years, such as in 2022 when athletes did the event, “Rinse ‘N’ Repeat,” a swim event coupled with calories on the SkiErg. 

  • The workout was, in 2-minute intervals, athletes had to swim 50 yards and do an 8-calorie SkiErg. But at the top of each round, 2 calories were added to the ski, for 6 rounds. Then in rounds 7 and 8 athletes did as many calories as possible until the time was up. 
  • On the men’s side, Roman Khrennikov dominated from the start. His swimming technique coupled with his power on the SkiErg was almost unmatched. In the beginning rounds, he wouldn’t be first out of the pool, but he would be first or tied in first off of the ski. 
  • Lazar Dukic and Jonne Koski held on with Khrennikov and both showed serious strength when it came to the pool. Koski utilized a flip turn in his swim, which was a slight advantage to the other competitors. The men were finishing the swim in roughly 33 seconds by round 6. But it was in those final two rounds, then Khrennikov turned on the jets, winning the event with 160 total calories on the ski, 4 calories ahead of Dallin Pepper. 
  • The women’s side wasn’t as cut and dry. Toomey, unsurprisingly, was out of the pool first during most of the intervals. Meanwhile, Danielle Brandon wasn’t first out of the pool but would catch up and finish first on the SkiErg in many of the intervals. Lucy Campbell and Amanda Barnhart, both with competitive swim backgrounds, weren’t far off and kept it up in the water and on the ski. 
  • In round 7, Campbell started to pull ahead and so did Barnhart. The athletes would ski right until the buzzer for the next interval and hop in the pool, maximizing their time racking up calories. Campbell started round 8 with 109 total calories, hit it hard in the pool for the final round, and hit it even harder on the ski. Campbell won the event by 4 calories ahead of Barnhart with 137 calories. While Toomey fell back into fourth place in the event. 

Suffice it to say, interval-style workouts are a fixture in the sport, both at the competitive level and in training. Not only is it a great test of endurance and conditioning, it’s also a fun event to watch. The crowd can very clearly see who is coming up first from the water, or finishing the interval the quickest at the end of the stadium floor. 

One last thing: Let’s hope this carries over to the Games’ new home in Fort Worth, TX in a similar fashion, where we’re sure some new implement will be revealed.

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