The 2010 CrossFit Games
The ultimate proving grounds of the world’s fittest athletes.
July 16-18, 2010 • Carson, CA
The Home Depot Center Sports Complex
Select a 2010 CrossFit Games event
United States Qualifiers
Men's Epic Matchup 2: Speal and Orlando
Two athletes bring largely different strengths to the competition
Chris Spealler and Rob Orlando are two of CrossFit's best known and most liked athletes. In some ways, though, they couldn't be more different. Last year in Aromas, they had a near inverse finishing order on the first two events. Chris was first on the run and 71st on the deadlift while Orlando was 66th on the run and first on the deadlift.
In similar fashion, Chris is known for being the first in our community to hit 100 consecutive pull-ups, and Rob is known for great feats of strength-endurance, such as 50 cleans at 225lbs in 6:44 and the 200lb Bear. After disappointing finishes last year, both men have taken strides in the past year to improve their respective weaknesses. Speal, the bodyweight master, has been lifting heavy and hard, seeing great strength gains. Orlando, the strongman behemoth, has brought on running coaches to help improve his overall game. The result? Dominant victories in the Northwest and Northeast Regionals, respectively.
At 31 years old, Speal is smaller in stature than most CrossFit Games competitors. At 5'5" and just over a buck 40, he's the smallest qualifying male at the HDC this year. Chris is in an elite group of peers who will have competed in all four years of Games individual competition (the others are James Fitzgerald, Peter Egyed, and Breck Berry). In three years of competition, his worst overall finish was 25th (2009). He finished 4th in 2007 and 10th in the 2008 Games, after entering the final workout in first place before heavy weight dashed his chances and changed the game. He is a revered competitor and has been the spark for speculation of whether a "small guy can ever win the Games."
Aside from the deadlift event last year, Speal finished 2 out of his 5 WODs in the top 5, one of those was a first place finish on the run. In addition to the Games, he is often put in the limelight and has performed consistently well (read improved) over a long period of time.
As he has never pre-qualified, Chris has dominated his region competition for the past two years, taking a commanding first place in both 2009 and 2010. In 2009 he owned every event at the Great Basin Regional, taking 3 for 3 as the top finisher and finishing the last event 4 minutes ahead of his closes competitor. In 2010 he was first in every event but one - the deadlift event.
Chris is best well known for his running abilities and an amazing ability to move his own bodyweight incredibly fast. Speal finished first in every incarnation of a run event held at the Ranch in Aromas for the three years that competition was held there. In 2009 he was 8th in the sandbag sprint. He inspired the community and opened up new possibilities with his quest for 100 pullups. This - in conjunction with benchmark numbers like 38 rounds of Cindy (24 if he's wearing a 20lb. vest) and an 18:31 Linda at 20 pounds over his body weight make most gymnastic-heavy events laughable for Chris.
His work with heavy weight is nothing to frown upon. He has proven that he can move big weight, fast - up to a certain point. In a recent matchup with Khalipa at a level one certification he attacked a WOD heavy on weight and reps: one clean and jerk (155 lb.) and a round Cindy, two clean and jerks and a round of Cindy, and so on for 10 rounds. The total numbers: 55 reps of 155-lb. clean and jerks (squat not required) plus 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups and 150 squats. Chris crushed it, beating Khalipas time by 2 minutes and 10 seconds. He has increased his deadlift now to over 400 pounds, nearly triple his bodyweight.
Orlando stepped onto the CrossFit Games scene in 2009 with a 5th place finish at the Northeast regional competition. His performance was well balanced, but his background was unique. Orlando has been competing in strongman competitions since 2005, taking 1st place in the last 3 and 11 out of 15 of the last single events within those contests (most strongman contests have 5 events in a day). He has set a number of NAS (North American Strongman) records including:
1. 240 pound log clean and press each rep for 60 seconds
2. 240 pound log clean once and press for reps in 60 seconds
3. 365 pound axle clean and press...That's a Lightweight (under 231 pounds) record but it also beat the HW record of 363 pounds.
Orlando is more than a strongman, though. His capacities are broad, if not scary. The video of his one -armed Fran was a conversation starter on CrossFit.com and Rob has been featured on the site often. He is 5'8 and 196 pounds. A much larger athlete than Spealler. In 2009, he did well in the deadlift event, but he gassed on the run, putting him out of contention for day 2. Other than the run, his worst finish was 27th and he walked through the deadlift event without breaking a sweat. He was 17th in the couplet and 14th in the sandbag sprint.
When it comes to strength - regardless the duration - Rob owns the field. To list few feats of strength: Rob jerks 300 pounds… for a set of 10; his axle clean is nearly 400 pounds; He has completed 'Grace' at 225 pounds in under 5 minutes; He can rep out double bodyweight backsquats (380 pounds) for eleven reps; He completed 50 cleans at 225 in 6:44. He also owns a record for his 365 pound axle press. His CrossFit total is 1,309....475 squat, 241 press, 593 deadlift.
Orlando's capacities leant themselves well and whatever tweaks he has made to his training to accommodate CrossFit are working. He hammered the Northeast Regional, taking first in every event but one (he finished 7th, and no it was not a run). He hit a 300 pound, 3 rep max on the clean and jerk. He finished the couplet almost a full minute in front of second place. He also marched through the "Albany Crippler" chipper 37 seconds ahead of second place and a full minute in front of the fourth place finisher.
He has been hitting his weaknesses aggressively, running under the tutelage of Brian Mackenzie. He has lots of competition experience and has stated that he is coming to win this year. "Running is just not that scary anymore," says Orlando. "Jason Leydon and Brian McKenzie have put together a program for me to follow that allows me to maintain (or increase) my strength while improving my run times. They've made me a better athlete and a better CrossFitter. My mile time trial is 5:59:91. That's down from over 7 minutes just 4 months ago. I just tested a 2 mile time trial the other day and ran it in 13:06"