The 2015 CrossFit Games are upon us, taking place from July 21 to July 26. What started out as a one-day competition with just 70 athletes in 2007 has exploded into an international multi-stage event, including Open and Regional competitions and culminating in the Games, a crazy-tough spectacle of 40 men and 40 women, whittled down from an initial pool of hundreds of thousands.
The aim of the Games is to find what CrossFit deems the “Fittest On Earth,” and in order to do that, the challenges of the competition aren’t announced until right before the Games begin. This means that the athletes can’t target-train for the specific events but instead must exhibit many attributes of fitness, from raw strength to strength-endurance to speed to power. “It’s a black box and they want it that way,” says Todd Nief, owner and coach of South Loop Strength & Conditioning, Home of South Loop CrossFit, in downtown Chicago. “You have an idea of the types of things that will be tested but you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Further, because of how the scoring works, you are punished more for a bad event than you are rewarded for a first-place finish in one. “The goal isn’t necessarily to win the events,” Nief says, “If you finish third place on everything, you’re more likely to win overall, rather than someone who is the best at some and worse at others.” So who are these most well-rounded of this year’s CrossFit competitors? Here’s a primer on some of the top 10 men to watch in the Games, airing on ESPN and ESPN2.
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