David vs. Goliath: Tale of the two time CrossFit Games champion

WOW! The 2017 CrossFit games has been by far the most diverse, jam packed, and action filled I have seen since I started following the games back in 2014. We saw a repeat champion on the men’s individual competition in Matthew Fraser and a close women’s individual competition in which Tia-Claire Toomey edged out Kara Webb. As you have seen if you were following the games that something, or better yet someone, was missing for most of the weekend. That person is none other than the two time women’s individual champion Katrin Davidsdottir. A lot of speculation has come out in the week following the games as to why she did not three-peat. Injury? Fatigue? Decreased training? Only time will tell. Allow me to offer up some of my thoughts and opinions on this matter.

Injury

Our first thoughts as we watched her performances throughout the weekend, was that the two time Fittest Woman on Earth HAD to be injured. The future physical therapist in me wanted this to be the case. We checked every source to confirm this matter, post event interviews, social media, even texted a friend that was at the games. NOTHING came of this theory. Throughout the weekend we expected to see Katrin with a brace, kinesio tape, or receiving some type of attention for an injury she suffered. We watched every rep she took and nothing seemed to be ailing her throughout the competition.

Fatigue

Of course you may be thinking every athlete is suffering from fatigue when they are pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into every rep at a chance to stand on the podium. The fatigue we are referring to is not a physical fatigue, but a MENTAL fatigue. The pressure on any professional athlete is tremendous and CrossFit athletes are no exception. Katrin has been the face of the new wave of CrossFit since winning the crown back in 2015. This pressure not only includes the EXPECTATIONS to repeat, but with title comes many interviews, events, and appearances that can become overwhelming. Katrin seemed to have thrived in this role, but FATIGUE IS POWERFUL!

The Field

It comes without any surprise that it is REALLY REALLY REALLY difficult to make the CrossFit games and even harder to win the games itself.  Dave Castro said himself, “You have to completely commit to change your life.  That has to be your sole existence and goal, and even then, you’re probably not gonna make it.”  Katrin is only the second woman to win the title multiple times and both times it came down to the last event. This year, it still came down to the very last event and was a hard fought battle between Tia-Claire Toomey, an Olympian weightlifter, and Kara Webb who hit a 205lb snatch.  Katrin lost to the best athletes in the world and a sport in which every point counts a few low places could have you outside of the top 10.   As said in Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness, “You don’t know how good you have to be just to suck at the CrossFit Games.”

Events

The programming was amazing this year.  They did a great job of getting a wide variety of endurance, strength, technique/skill, and the unknown.  The addition of the cycling event and the obstacle course added a total new element that the athletes do not normally train for.  It is possible that the ones who performed better this year tend to do activities outside the gym to mix it up.  We don’t know any of their specific training, but many of these elite athletes really focus on things in the gym, especially more technical movements, such as the Olympic lifts and gymnastics skills, but don’t get outside and do a lot of other things, such as climbing, hiking, or cycling.

So, will we ever know the reason why Katrin did not perform as well this year as the past two?  Maybe, maybe not.  Regardless, she is still an amazing athlete!

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