“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”- Vince Lombardi
What Quarterfinals Tells Us About North American Women in 2023
For a few seasons now, arguments have been made that when it comes to finding the fittest, North American women are generally overrepresented at the CrossFit Games, at the expense of the strong European region, and to some degree Oceania.
But if the (still unofficial) Quarterfinals leaderboard has something to say about the 2023 women’s field, it’s that North America, especially the East, is a bigger force to be reckoned with than Europe, while Oceania (no surprise as both Tia-Clair Toomey and Kara Saunders are pregnant and sitting out the season) is weaker than previous seasons.
Why this matters: To ensure the fittest athletes have the chance to qualify to the Games, CrossFit LLC introduced the strength-of-field calculation this year, which considers competition data from the previous two seasons to determine which regions will be awarded additional berths to the Games.
That being said, it can be argued that the best predictor of who the fittest are this season is to look at the recent Quarterfinals results, not last year’s results, let alone the year before that.
Case in point: Seventeen of the top 20 women from the 2022 Quarterfinals went on to qualify to the Games (and 19th place finisher Olivia Kerstetter opted to compete in, and win, the teen division at the Games). Additionally, more than three quarters of last year’s women’s Games field finished in the top 50 in Quarterfinals.
The same is true of the men: Fifteen of the top 20 Quarterfinals men went on to qualify to Madison last year, and almost 75 percent of the 2022 Games field were men who placed in the top 50 in Quarterfinals.
The point is, the best predictor at the moment, in terms of who is Games-ready right now, has to be the Quarterfinals leaderboard.
What this year’s leaderboard is saying: Though still unofficial, nine of the top 20 Quarterfinals spots belong to North American East women, including winner Mal O’Brien, while four others in the top 20 are from North America West, meaning North America holds 65 percent of the top 20 spots. The other seven spots (35 percent) of the top 20 belong to Europe.
And when we look deeper at the top 40, 23 athletes are from North America, (57.5 percent) while 16 of 40 (40 percent) are from Europe, and only one is from Oceania (Jamie Simmonds).
Putting it together: Of the 23 guaranteed spots to the Games this season, 10 of them, (43 percent) belong to North America—way below their Quarterfinals showing of 57.5 percent of the top 40—thus suggesting North American women may, in fact, deserve a fair amount of additional spots to the Games this summer.
On the other side of the fence, Oceania has three guaranteed spots to the Games this season, or 13 percent of the Games invites, yet only one athlete (2.5 percent of the field) finished in the top 40 during Quarterfinals, suggesting three spots might be more than enough for Oceania, after all.
Further, South American and Asia are both guaranteed two spots this season, while Africa gets one. Only one athlete from any of these regions finished in the top 50 in Quarterfinals—Argentina’s Sasha Nievas (46th)—while Asia’s and Africa’s top performers were Korea’s Dawon Jung (55th) and Zimbabwe’s Christina Livaditakis (180th) respectively.
This leaves Europe. They’re guaranteed five berths this season (21.7 percent of the invites), yet they made up 40 percent of the top 40 from Quarterfinals. Thus, it can be argued that they also deserve a certain number of additional invites to the 2023 Games, but not necessarily by taking these spots away from North American women, as has long been the speculation.
The bottom line: It’s no secret that, in recent years European and Oceania women have dominated the podium at the CrossFit Games. In fact, North American women were kept off the podium at the Games from 2015 until 2020, when Kari Pearce broke the five-year podium drought. All of this perhaps was the impetus that left the community to wonder why North American women sent as many athletes to the Games as they did each year.
But that’s all in the past now. It’s 2023, and if Quarterfinals means anything, it appears North American women (especially the East) are on track and deserving of however many additional Games invites they get awarded this summer. Arguably as many as 57.5 percent of the invites.
1. Kealan Henry (37) | Christina Livaditakis (31)
2. Darren Zurnamer (42) | Mariska Smit (45)
3. Callum Deeble (54) | Gemma Rader (47)
4. Michael Van Tonder (55) | Michelle Basnett (50)
5. Daniel Griesel (70) | Tanha Bouffe (55)
19-Year-Old Phillip Duhaime Wins Scaled Intellectual Division in the Open, Says CrossFit “Heals” Him
Phillip Duhaime hates burpees.
He will gladly ride an Assault Bike, row, run, do pull-ups, or lift a barbell or pair of dumbbells.
“Anything but burpees” is his favorite CrossFit movement, he says.
This passion for CrossFit has completely changed Duhaime’s life. Duhaime has autism, and before joining the gym with his family, he spent most of his days in front of a television. At 19-years-old, he was gaining weight and was difficult to motivate, his parents Shail and Lisa Duhaime said.
Anonymous Donor Gives Back to First Responders Through CrossFit
An anonymous donor has found a way to give back to the next generation of first responders. They purchased four months’ worth of classes at CrossFit Amarillo and donated them to fire department cadets in the area.
One big thing: The idea of giving back to first responders had been prevalent at CrossFit Amarillo for some time. There were some discussions about creating a program for the fire department, one that would expose them to high heart rates under duress and lifts that would better replicate having to carry someone to safety.
Nick Shelton, Coach, CrossFit Amarillo: “We’d been kicking around the idea and then about probably a week or two later, the donor came around and said, ‘Hey, this is something that I really believe in. I love CrossFit and what it’s done for me. I want to be able to give that back in a way that impacts as many people as possible, and I feel like this would be a great opportunity to do that.’”
“Not only does it impact the direct community because gym members get to be around these first responders and they get to build some of that camaraderie with the people that are saving other’s lives in the community, but this helps the community outside of the gym.”
A strong foundation: The anonymous donor opened up the doors for cadets to get some exposure to CrossFit, but the Texas affiliate had a foundation already in place. There were some cadets that already received training for free over the years, and there were some active firefighters who took part in classes at CrossFit Amarillo. The foundation was in place, but there were more opportunities to give back to everyday heroes.
Achieving the goal: Donating classes to fire department cadets is one part of the process. CrossFit Amarillo had to deliver the programming that would raise their fitness floor and teach good habits. The training staff also had to focus on movements that are tailor-made for first responders. Fortunately, most of the coaches have at least eight years of experience, so they are well-versed in teaching CrossFit to newcomers.
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You can get away with faults on some movements, but box jumps aren’t the movement to mess around on (RIP shins). If you can relate to any of these faults a little too much, watch this video for tips for how to fix it.
Another Oldie but a Goodie: Watch Brian Shawtoss kettlebells over his head like they’re bean bags in the 2019 World’s Strongest Man competition.
💙 A tribute WOD is being held Saturday, April 8th at The Dome sports complex in Anchorage, AK in honor of Sadie Huffer, the Turnagain CrossFit member that lost her life when the affiliate’s roof collapsed during their 23.1 Friday Night Lights event.
A silent auction will be held with all proceeds going to the Huffer family. Anyone wishing to donate silent auction items can message Turnagain CrossFit on Instagram.
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