Featuring 500-meter rows bracketing a sledgehammer stake drive, WOD 3 was not for the delicate.
Jeff Tincher, a firefighter, set the tone in the first heat with 5:26.8. Other competitors struggled badly with the sledge, with one competitor breaking four of them before completing the event. Others were bleeding after wild swings found flesh instead of metal.
Tincher's strategy was simple: "I was tapping it.... I just made sure it was solid in my left hand. It stopped wobbling, I stepped back, and it wobbled a little bit. Three more taps and it stopped wobbling, and then it was just chopping wood or chopping a hole in a roof."
Tincher also advised against whaling away at the stake with looping swings.
"It's like any other movement," he said. "What do we teach? Core."
Tincher's work as a firefighter no doubt helped, but he credits his success to "cords and cords and cords of wood-chopping as a kid."
Chastity Slone had the stroke mastered in the first women's heat, sending the bottom third of the stake underground with a combination of speed, accuracy and power.
Danielle Dionne also seemed to have the sledge under control.
"I was trying to be consistent," she said. "I looked at the girls beside me and they were taking long swings, so it took a lot of patience."
In the competitor's area, the athletes who had completed the WOD advised those in the final heat as to how to attack the sledgehammer.
The advice seemed to pay off for the men, most of whom deliberately tapped the stake into the ground, held back on the middle section and then drove the bottom third home. Tommy Hackenbruck crushed the WOD in a top time of 4:36 and attributes his success to his job: he works construction and has used a hammer six days a week for the last three years.
"I got a text message from my wife when the WODs were posted," Hackenbruck said. "She saw wall ball and sledge, so I got pretty excited being a tall guy who swings a hammer for a living."
Jeremy Thiel, however, third overall after three events, had his stake at a 45-degree angle and was well behind the leaders. His time of 7:05.2 dropped him well back in the overall standings.
The top men's finishers were Hackenbruck, Jeff Leonard and Moe Kelsey, and the overall standings after four WODs find Kelsey, Hackenbruck, Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson in the top three, with Mikko Salo and James (OPT) FitzGerald four and six points back of Kelsey, respectively.
Sarah Dunsmore won her second WOD of the day with a speedy 5:33.8, and she was followed by Katie Hogan and Carey Kepler.
The overall standing on the women's side are as follows: Annie Thorisdottir remains in first, seven points ahead of Tanya Wagner, and 15 ahead of Dunsmore.
The rep scheme for the last WOD of the day remains unannounced, and the athletes are currently awaiting a briefing from Games Director Dave Castro.