CrossFit Games

‘Moments From Madison,’ Part Four: The Capitol

December 13, 2023 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Games Instagram/ Photographer Kieran Kesner (
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The athletes’ slow and grinding climb up the steps to the Wisconsin State Capitol captivated fans during the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games and became a symbol for the city that gave CrossFit a home for six years. 

In the final installment of our “Moments from Madison” series, we revisit “The Capitol” and remember some of the biggest moments from the men’s and women’s side. 

Remind me: The event started on the field with 20 pig flips (510 pounds/310 pounds for men and women, respectively), followed by a 3.5-mile run through Madison. Once the athletes completed their run, they had a 200-meter Jerry bag carry and ended with a 200-meter Husafell carry. They finished the event at the top of the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol. 

Fans lined the streets and the steps leading to the finish line, but athletes had a lot to do before that point. This was the first event on the third day of the competition, so athletes had already faced four grueling workouts up until this point. 

  • On the women’s side, the typical powerhouses like Dani Speegle, Laura Horvath, and Ellie Turner took the lead on the pig flips. But as they got into the run, athletes started to feel the lower back fatigue from the pig and the endurance athletes started to shine.
  • Haley Adams, an athlete known for her endurance, went flip for flip with Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr during the second heat and unsurprisingly pulled ahead on the run with almost no other women in sight. However, it was Amanda Barnhart who ultimately finished her pig flips first. 
  • Adams held strong on the Jerry can and Husafell bag until the stairs. She started to lose her grip carrying the bag overhead and on her upper back and moved to a bear hug carry. It wasn’t long before she began to break down. 
  • Gabriela Migala managed to pull ahead of Adams and took the event win. But it was Rebecca Fuselier who stole the show. Though she was the last athlete to finish the event, the crowd roared around her, and her efforts epitomized the sport and instantly became the most memorable moment of the weekend. 

Fuselier finished the event in 54:42, roughly 21 minutes slower than Migala, who won the event on the women’s side. Over on the men’s side, things were off to a similar start. In heat two, Roman Khrennikov powered through the pig flips and was first to the run, followed by fellow “big boy” Jayson Hopper. 

  • As the run progressed, we saw Khrennikov, Ricky Garard, and Lazar Djukic group up and keep very similar paces. At the time, analyst Chris Hinshaw commented that athletes who stayed in a pack had a better advantage than running alone: “Let’s work together until we get to those heavy implements.” 
  • Djukic pulled away and got to the Jerry bags immediately, knowing his fellow competitors were on his tail. Managing grip failure was the name of the game for the back half of this workout. 
  • Khrennikov went back out in front of Djukic, running to the Husafell bag. But as Khrennikov dropped before heading up the stairs, Garard looked over and swiftly passed him. It’s important to remember this was Garard’s first Games appearance since his 2017 ban, and he returned with a vengeance. While the two battled back and forth for a bit, Garard would pull ahead and win the event. 

Garard took third overall at the Games and proved he’d been putting in the work. Unfortunately, an injury kept him out of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. 

The bottom line: “The Capitol” was one for the books and a moment at the competition that fans and athletes will remember for a long time. New memories will undoubtedly be made at the Games’ new home in Fort Worth, TX, next year, but “The Capitol” was a culmination of the CrossFit legacy built in Madison.

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