The Games Continue

July 12, 2009 9:31 AM

Posted in The Games »
51 Comments » on this entry

On the final day of the 2009 CrossFit Games, there is continued coverage throughout the day here, as well as on CrossFit Radio, and Twitter.

CrossFit Radio's Friday show has now been archived and put online to the CrossFit Journal, as well as a great article of the events of Day One written by Mike Warkentin.

Today on CrossFit Radio, we will once again be broadcasting at 11, 2, and 5 PM (Pacific).

On the show at 11, we'll have the latest updates and news from Aromas, now that only 32 competitors remain. Justin will interview the men's leader, Tommy Hackenbruck, as well as Christy Phillips, who is 10th for the women.

Update: Show's over. Next one at 2.

51 comments on this entry.

1. MB wrote...

July 12, 2009 9:39 AM

I posted this on the last post, but I'm going to post it here just to stimulate some discussion.

I've been thinking about the Games scoring regarding the second day of individual competition. I think the current scoring system makes the second day's workouts much less significant than the first day's workouts. The top male is 52 points ahead of the last male. This is almost insurmountable because of the fact that there are only 16 competitors in the second day. So an athlete completely bombs the workout, the worst that can happen is that the leader of that workout gains 16 points on him. This is in stark contrast to yesterday where the leader would have gained more than 70 points as a result. The cuts make later workouts less significant.

This problem can be resolved easily by changing the way day 2 is scored. I propose that all the workouts be re-ranked with only the top 16 atheletes in the ranking. This way the workouts on day 2 will be on equal footing with the workouts on day 1. And the scores will only reflect the top 16 athletes' performance relative to each other. This will cause quite a change in the ranking after day 1, but will be a better base from which to give day two's wokrouts equal weight. The new ranking would look like this:

Points Name
30 Mikko Salo
33 Tommy Hackenbruck
35 Jason Khalipa
35 Moe Kelsey
38 Peter Egyed
39 Spencer Hendel
39 DJ Wickham
40 Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson
43 Blair Morrison
43 Steve Willis
44 Jeff Leonard
44 James FitzGerald
47 Michael FitzGerald
49 David Millar
48 Patrick Burke
52 Jeremy Thiel

This brings the point difference to only 22. It heats up everyone's chances on day two while still acknowledging the importance of day one. Anyone have thoughts about this?

2. Latham Fell wrote...

July 12, 2009 9:39 AM

In 2007, the CrossFit Games were dominated by "main site" CrossFitters. OPT, AFT, Speal, Gentry.

In 2008, we saw the rise of those "new to CrossFit." Jason Khalipa had been CrossFitting for a few months at the time of the '08 Games. The same with Gillian Mounsey, who had never done clean and jerks prior to the Games. Meanwhile, Jason Kaplan set the world record for Fran, having been a CrossFitter for only a few months. Clearly, these athletes had been doing something prior to CrossFit that was at least as good as main site programming. We never really found out what that was, other than knowing that Mounsey and Kaplan were gymnasts.

In 2009, the trend continues. Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson, Mikko Salo, and Annie Thorisdottir have demonstrated a fitness capacity at least as high as any main site CrossFitter. And they don't do CrossFit. Whatever they are doing, it is at least as good as main site programming.

I have a simple proposal: we find out how these athletes are training, and determine whether their programming can be integrated into the Crossfit method. At the very least, there should be a CrossFit Journal article documenting a month of Bootcamp Iceland's training, which appears to have produced Sveinbjornsson and Thorisdottir. Then the community can decide how their training differs from CrossFit programming, and whether that has any implications for their own training.

I would try and do this myself, except that the Bootcamp site is in Icelandic. :)

3. KLowe wrote...

July 12, 2009 9:54 AM

A good point has been made that instead of dropping 10 athletes after two WODS they should have dropped the bottom 5 after every WOD. There were several people that "gamed" the 7.1K run and walked the end of it b/c they knew they would kill it on the deadlift. Dropping the last five after every event would have provided motivation ensure that no athletes were slacking purposefully....which defeats the purpose of CrossFit games at the elite level (IMO).

4. WeezyMcG replied to comment from MB...

July 12, 2009 9:56 AM

I agree that the games are overly weighted to the first day., but offer a simple solution. At the beginning of day two, athletes total points are equal to thier finish on day one. So, 1st place finisher starts the day with one point, while the 16th place finsher has 16 points. Then the scoring is done exactly a on day one.

I also agree with post #2. CrossFit's philosophy is performance based fitness that is measuable, demonstratable and repeatable. If Iceland, or any other training regime can produce results that are demonstratable, measurable and repeatable, then let's incorporate into CrossFit. That is entirely consistent with the CrossFit method.

5. mac w wrote...

July 12, 2009 9:59 AM

Will someone please point out where the WODs for Day 2 (today, Sunday) are posted? They are not on the main site as far as I can tell.

July 12, 2009 9:59 AM

Can anyone point me to the official list of today's events? I saw a post about OPT reporting what they are but can't seem to find anything confirming this on the site.

7. MB wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:00 AM


I purposely chose the words "completely bomb" to mean doing particularly poorly, but still finishing the workout within the time limit. The odds that these guys are going to DNF is very low.

8. Kat replied to comment from WeezyMcG...

July 12, 2009 10:01 AM

That is the best way I've heard to deal with the scoring issue going into the 2nd day. I don't think anything will change now, but it's a great thought for next year.

9. Aim wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:01 AM

Not much has been said about Tanya Wagner...even though she placed second in last years games by a mere 10 seconds and has been in the lead or in close second throughout the competition. Knowing her personally, she is an amazing chick that is not only dedicated to crossfit and her own training, but to that of her clients as well. She is so passionate about it that you can't help but be changed by her infectious positive energy....all around amazing individual and all who know her are pulling hard for her to take this year!!! Go TANYA!!!!

10. TD replied to comment from Latham Fell...

July 12, 2009 10:03 AM


I couldn't agree more with your point that there are clearly great and proven alternatives to the .com WODs. There are many paths up a mountain - finding the most efficient and sound way is a huge part of the challenge.

11. MB replied to comment from WeezyMcG...

July 12, 2009 10:05 AM

That is another way of handling it. It has the advantage that it's simpler and doesn't change the current ranking. One criticism would be that it compresses the scores too much, making day one's workouts less significant than they should be...especially since there were five of them.

I think both solutions are better than what it sounds like the current scoring system is. I'm all for either of them. But I think my approach has the advantage that it still weighs all 8 workouts evenly with a consistent context.

12. Zak F. wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:07 AM

There should have been a cut-off time on the run for the men and the DL WOD should have started 5 mins after the cutt-off time of the run.

13. Eida wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:08 AM

Post #10 Yes it's amazing that not much has been said about Tanya. She is clearly an incredible competitor and an even better coach. As my personal trainer she has helped me lose more than 20 lbs this year. We are pulling for you girl. Do It Tanya!

July 12, 2009 10:09 AM

I found this on twitter.

Rumored Sunday WOD's:
1)1 RM Snatch
2) AMRAP 8min-4HSPU, 8KB Swings (2pd/1.5 pd)12 GHD's
3) Chipper 1 round for time (unknown)

I wish they didn't have the CF games this weekend - I have three midterms coming up this week! so distracting haha.

July 12, 2009 10:09 AM

Where do u get your info that i.e Mikko Salo doesnt train crossfit?

16. JoePa wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:10 AM

Can anyone tell me why everyone is wearing those skins over their shins? Is it for heat or skin protection? I saw Freddy C wearing them and many others.

17. dan replied to comment from JoePa...

July 12, 2009 10:12 AM

i think dave castro recommended it for the run just for protection from the poison oak and prevention from getting cut from falls and vegetation. its supposed to aid in recovery too

that, and its a really expensive way to look cool

July 12, 2009 10:22 AM

Mikko does train crossfit now (along side other stuff) but has trained very hard for a long time before that. I think it's probably best to let the man himself speak instead of speculating what he does or doesn't do.

19. John H. wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:24 AM

I think the games should be scored on a bell curve. This punishes slacking and rewards excellence far more than the current system, and is a more accurate reflection of the athletes' performance.

For example, consider a hypothetical WOD, Frantasy. The first place finisher finishes in 6:00. The second place finisher finishes in 7:00. The average is 8:30. Let's say the standard deviation is 1:00 (meaning most of the athletes finished between 7:30 and 9:30).
Under the current system, the first place finisher gets 1 point, and the second place finisher gets 2. The first place finisher is not given due credit for his ridiculously strong performance. Neither is the second place finisher.
On a bell curve, the first place finisher would get 2.5 points, for being 2.5 standard deviations ahead of the curve. The second place finisher would get 1.5 points. Most finishers would get between 1 and -1 points.
Add up your score from each workout, and that's your score at the end of the day. If you know you're going to get last place on a workout, you still have to push hard, because you are scored based on how far from average you are. Similarly, if you know you are going to win, you still try to give it all, because winning by a lot is substantially better than winning.

20. Jonblaze wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:30 AM

I'm doing the games wods at home but I still cant find the definate day 2 wods yet. Twit pics look like more snatches. Anyone know for sure what the wods are?

July 12, 2009 10:31 AM

Only the first event has been announced for day 2, and it is 1RM Snatch.

22. Andy wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:33 AM

It seems to me that the final 16 (for men at least) are bigger stronger guys. I wish they had done at least one bodyweight workout on saturday.... pullups, muscle ups, hspu's. A lot of the guys standing up there would get crushed in a lot of those types of workouts. I feel like guys 160 lbs and under got a little ripped especially with another 1rm workout going on now. With getting that off my chest, I do think whoever wins deserves it and is going to be one fit mother *ucker.

23. Steve Lamb wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:34 AM

C'mon guys! There should be an artistic component to the scoring system. Points for the best T-shirt, brightest color socks, coolest tattoo, best hair-do. We could have a panel of judges similar to figure skating, one from every country represented, and then give the athletes 2 scores, one for time, the other for artistry.

In all seriousness, we can speculate all we want, but at the end of the day the scoring system as it stands still weeds out the fittest of the fit. The athletes know how the scoring works, and they know what they must do to win.

Congrats to all the competitors! I look forward to the upcoming videos and media coming out in the next few weeks.

July 12, 2009 10:34 AM

yeah I know he trains CF (its on hes profile)and must have done loads of other stuff too. There just was some speculation that he doesnt train cf at all. The man is a machine and cant wait for second days results. And I would really like to hear some interviev from him too.

25. Duke Nukem wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:35 AM

A lot of good ideas posted so far on ways to change the scoring to make it more accurate in selecting the "fittest."
Something worth noting that was posted on Twitter:

*** stats for top 16 men ***
Weight min: 168
Weight max: 235
Weight median: 192.5.

Height min: 5' 8.5"
max: 6' 2"
median: 6' 0.5"

In other words, no gymnastic/bodyweight movements = no short guys in it. Someone *cough* me *cough* predicted this as soon as the Saturday WODs were posted.

26. jd wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:35 AM

I think the whole point is not making an overly complicated scoring system and one that is perceived to be fair on all "fitness domains."

One could also argue that the athletes should have done better on the day/events where the points "were more heavily weighted." Or just K.I.S.S. (for people like me).

27. Andy replied to comment from Duke Nukem...

July 12, 2009 10:38 AM

Agreed man, min. 168 and 5'8. shit. I'm not sure I like it. I mean look at the picture, khalipa and opt are the little guys. I would have liked to have seen more of a spread.

28. David replied to comment from dan...

July 12, 2009 10:45 AM

Look cool? Respect to every competitor, but if you're wearing skins to look cool, it has the opposite effect. Those guys look like dinks. Bad*ss dinks, but dinks.

29. Tom wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:48 AM

Not sure what the problem is with the current scoring system. Tommy H earned that lead by rocking the WOD's yesterday and deserves it fully. Those of you calling for a scoring change sound like you want it reordered to give more of the top 16 a chance and make it a more interesting spectator sport today.

30. Mike S wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:48 AM

The Skins help aid in recovery in between events.

from their site "...creates marked improvements in reducing the build-up of lactic acid immediately after periods of sustained exercise (2hrs and 15 mins up to 37% ), and allows for more rapid return to normal levels (up to 38% at 20 minutes). You experience less fatigue, minimise soreness and recover faster."

31. MB wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:57 AM

"Did you consider the possibility that they don't' want all 8 workouts to be weighed equally?"

Sure. But the scoring system of adding up rankings for each event seems to suggest an evenly weighted average. It's only when the cuts come into play that things become unweighted. And it's very plausible that they did the cuts for logistical purposes instead of creating a calculated effect on the scoring system.

32. pat wrote...

July 12, 2009 10:58 AM

To me a glaring mistake was having the DL maxed out at 505. 16 men maxed it out and all received 1 pt. Hypothetically this means someone capable of a 600lb DL received the same amount of points as someone with a 505 DL. The person with the 600lb deadlift deserved some measure of separation from the 505 DL.

I'm not sure why they put a limit on the DL's and it doesn't seem like it would have taken all that much to gather 10 more bars and go out to 600, especially when coming into the games we knew multiple athletes were capable of a 505 DL. Basically they put a limit on how strong you could be, but no limits on any other of the wods.

A similiar way to put it would be to give all those that finished the run in under 40 mins the same amount of points, where as we know the person with 37 mins deserves less points than the 39 min.

33. Rich replied to comment from MB...

July 12, 2009 11:02 AM

"Every Second Counts" the title of the released DVD for the games from 2008. If every second counts then if i were a competing athlete, I would be mad as hell when I see blue shirts (judges) walking around with stop watches hanging around their necks drinking beer DURING the competition. Sure they may not have been judging that event, but what about the next or were they drinking before the last even they judged.

CrossFit chose to steroid test the athletes to give credence and confidence in the athletes performance. Do you give the judges breathalyzer tests to give the athletes confidence that the watch is starting on "Go" and stopping on the last rep.

Someone needs to tell all those who are in "CrossFit" shirts, the ones who are representing the games in an official capacity that their time to drink is when the day is done. Respect the games and the athletes, you owe it to them to do your best and look professional.

34. MB wrote...

July 12, 2009 11:05 AM

In retrospect, this is exactly the reason they chose the every second counts format for last year's games. It eliminates a lot of these discussions about weighting. The problem there is that all the events need to be of a similar time duration, which is why there was nothing long last year. They've obviously fixed that deficiency this year, but also brings up many new difficulties.

Summary: Proper event choice and scoring system for determining the fittest human is very difficult. When you add logistical issues into the mix it becomes even more complicated.

35. Matt wrote...

July 12, 2009 11:06 AM

Wod 2 for sunday is 4 hspu, 8 kb 2 pood swings, 12 GHD amrap in 8 mins.

36. MB replied to comment from pat...

July 12, 2009 11:08 AM

"To me a glaring mistake was having the DL maxed out at 505."

Enter the logistical considerations I mentioned. Although I do agree with you, the artificial limit definitely is a problem.

37. John H. replied to comment from MB...

July 12, 2009 11:30 AM


It's not that hard! Use a bell curve. Every second counts AND the durations can be totally different, or even non-existent (like 1RM's).

38. Nukemarine wrote...

July 12, 2009 11:38 AM

It's easy to see the problems and solutions after the fact. I was blown away by the brilliance of it and can understand the oversights. I'm sure CFH won't try to second guess people's maxes on DL's that's for sure. Lessons learned.

What's silly is saying "Take this into account next year" when next year will be completely different in format (seeing that the last three have been different).

However, I really think Latham's method should be utilized in the future in addition to KLowe's bit about trimming the bottom 5 each round. The simplicity of it makes it like the top 16 (or 20 or 10) were only competing against each other. Such a system also allows determining a new placement should someone pop on the PED test or other issues leading to drop outs. Good thoughts on that Latham.

39. MB replied to comment from John H....

July 12, 2009 11:39 AM


Yes, I like your bell curve idea. I was just trying to think of something that wouldn't require them to completely change the scoring that they had already announced.

40. WeezyMcG wrote...

July 12, 2009 11:59 AM

7th events illustrates the difference between yesterday and today. The athlete who won the event only moves up a place. The individual currently in first place finished in the bottom half of today's field, picked up 9 points and remains in first place.

If the same had happened yesterday, Mr. Hackenbruk would have finished about 50th, which would have dramatially changed the standings.

41. Nukemarine wrote...

July 12, 2009 12:06 PM

In my response #40, I meant MB and not Latham. Sorry for the mess up. Great idea you have there for scoring MB.

42. MikiT replied to comment from Nukemarine...

July 12, 2009 12:13 PM

MB's suggested scoring seems a no-brainer. Even if the organizers wanted to emphasis endurance, to do so to such an extent is crazy. Today's events take on far less importance than yesterdays and, unfortunately, Khalipa is screwed (due to his poor run). As WeezyMcG pointed out, if the scoring was equally weighted throughout the event, Hackenbruk's poor snatch should also have moved him dramatically down.

43. John H. wrote...

July 12, 2009 12:37 PM


I agree, they should not change the scoring this year. It's too late, and the athletes already have strategies and hopes and whatnot. Hopefully next year they use a bell curve. Communities measuring excellence should measure excellently.

July 12, 2009 12:53 PM

Here's a short video from BootCamp - Iceland, where Sveinbjorn and Annie train:
And here's some pictures from within the gym:"

45. Tommy wrote...

July 12, 2009 12:55 PM

The post that is up for discussion is a very good and valid idea, but what if the top sixteen all start again from zero or is that too harsh?

Why did they cut the numbers to sixteen? is this only for a logistical reason? Do we need a cut?

Would it be too extreme to cut the numbers from each round? Or say after two rounds( to make it fair Cardio event/strength event)start to cut the last five or so from round's completed?

What does anybody think about these scenarios?

46. Tommy wrote...

July 12, 2009 1:06 PM

Post #24 Andy

Did you think that real big guy's liked the 7.1km Hilly run?

The advantage was with the Light guy's, The deadlift should have been for max weight to even out the first 2 WoD's. That would be fair on the light and heavy over the two events.

47. JoePa replied to comment from dan...

July 12, 2009 2:45 PM

Thanks for the response and the laugh. I will be checking out the link. I know it helps with lactic acid threshold but an expensive way of looking cool...I'm in.

48. JoePa replied to comment from Mike S...

July 12, 2009 2:51 PM


Thanks to you also. I appreciate the time

49. MB replied to comment from Tommy...

July 12, 2009 2:52 PM


Starting again from zero doesn't take into account the information gained on day one. Intuitively, I prefer what appears to be the organizers' original intent--an average of all the events, where each event receives equal weight. The scoring system chosen does a decent job of this as long as there are no cuts. My solution attempts to rectify this, while keeping the overall idea similar enough that changing to this scoring system is not out of the question.

Also, I just want to be clear that I'm not accusing the current system of being unfair or the wrong thing to use. I'm just observing that it doesn't quite accomplish what I think was intended.

50. MB replied to comment from John H....

July 12, 2009 5:10 PM

John H,

One potential problem with scoring on the bell curve is that it doesn't meet the first of the tests of legitimacy for decathlon scoring tables (as stated at I read through that wikipedia page is plenty of evidence for the difficulty of the scoring problem. It's hard enough with the decathlon, but it's even harder for CrossFit because we're not doing the same set of 10 events every time.

This raises the question of whether CrossFit should create some set of events to use as a benchmark. This goes against the CrossFit idea of training for the unknown and unknowable, but in another sense it does seem like there should be a way to design a static set of events that requires a broad, general, and inclusive fitness in order to have a chance of winning. To some extent, they tried to do this with the decathlon, but the events that went into it ended up being much more reflective of specialized skill than generalized fitness.

It's an interesting problem and it will take a lot of thought to come up with a really good solution. I'm just trying to throw out some ideas, but it would be a mistake to ignore the years of thought the decathlon community has put into the problem.

51. Nick replied to comment from MikiT...

July 14, 2009 2:47 PM

Poor snatch? He PR'd, snatched over his bodyweight, all after five workouts on Saturday. Armchair crossfitting i see...