“We’re hoping this league can show that men and women are competing on the same level worldwide,” Tao says. “When else are you going to see a sport where a woman pulls ahead of a man on the highest level? We expect to see that in the NPFL.”
As for how the events will play out, we’ll see more strategy and team aspects than other fitness competitions out there. Expect four competitors to be out on the floor completing various fitness tasks in quick succession while teammates wait on the sideline as subs. Coaching will come into play to manage those subs and figure out how the team should best tackle different races or events, which will generally be left at least a bit open-ended rather than rigidly structured from start to finish. Tao says subbing and the nature of the events will bring something new to the table, since “experienced competitors aren’t used to needing to realize who’s on and who’s off that day, or which events play to an athlete’s strengths and which ones don’t.”
The Rhinos have had success in the off-season thus far, picking up top CrossFit athletes such as Annie Thorisdottir (two-time CrossFit Games champ) and Shawn Ramirez (current top-ranked 40-plus-year-old man in CrossFit). As the summer comes along, we look forward to seeing a detailed schedule for the season, complete with playoffs in the fall.