Surprise, surprise. Rich Froning won the CrossFit Games for the third year in a row. Without question we can say he is the fittest man on the planet. The constantly varied format of the Games means that three completely different tests were thrown Froning’s way, and each time he came out on top. He more than deserves the accolades and respect of the community.
What’s even more impressive is the way that Rich Froning seems to win these competitions. It’s never about being the best at any one event (though he did destroy everybody on the final day), but rather being proficient in all of the events. And isn’t that the fitness that CrossFit strives to create? You are only as fit as you are competent in each of the 10 elements of fitness.
- Cardiovascular Endurance
Big holes in a given element will negate an athletes relative strengths. The CrossFit Games, and its Open and Regional predecessors, operate the same way. Only the athletes that display proficiency in most/all of the events will find themselves on the podium come the final day.
Rich Froning embodies this definition of fitness masterfully. If you take a look at his 2013 Games’ performance, he only climbed into first place at the end of Saturday (officially day 3). What’s noteworthy about this fact is that he managed to claim top spot without earning a single 1st place finish in any of the events up to that point. The competition could have ended at that point, and he still would have been atop the sport. By contrast, Jason Khalipa, the closest competitor to him, had three 1st place finishes. The difference? Froning’s worst three scores were 30th (turns out Rich can’t really swim), 18th, and 8th. Khalipa’s worst three scores were 43rd (poor guy is still too big for his own good), 27th, and 13th.
So yes, while Rich did display some “weaknesses”, they were still better than most of the other athletes’ “strengths”. And when you’ve got the fittest man on the planet turning in top ten finishes left and right, it’s always going to be hard to make up a 43rd and 27th, despite accumulating three 1st place finishes along the way. Keep this in mind: that 43rd gave Khalipa 14 total points, which all but negated 100 of the points he earned for one of his three 1st’s.
What does it all mean?
You never have to be the best at any one event, you just have to be proficient at all things. And that’s exactly who Rich Froning is. That is also the fitness that CrossFit promotes and that’s the fitness you’ll get at CrossFit Kinnick. Jason Khalipa is an amazing athlete, but until he manages to improve his running and bodyweight prowess just a little bit more, he’ll be finding himself playing second fiddle to Froning for years to come.
Attack your weaknesses. Stay balanced. Don’t skip 5k runs. Be excited to improve at all aspects of fitness, not just the ones you think are most important. Nature (and competition) is unpredictable and will reward the most well rounded, not the specialist.