2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Pat Sherwood on the Games

Another perspective from the analyst desk.

Pat Sherwood joined the likes of Josh Everett, Lisa Ray, Caity Henniger, Kim Malz and others at the analyst desk during the 2010 CrossFit Games. His unique perspective as a former Games athlete as well as a trainer put a keen eye on the competition. He checks in with the following words on his experience at the Home Depot Center.

It is just a few short days after the 2010 CrossFit Games and I already want to speed up the hands of time for the 2011 Games. I get paid to talk about CrossFit, to spread the message of what we do, how we do it, and why it is effective to the world. Those who know me would rarely describe me as tongue tied, yet, I’m almost at a loss for words to describe the epic events that unfolded before our eyes at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

The Games were absolutely incredible! They were mind-boggling! They were unprecedented! Do you guys realize what the hell just happened? Has it had a chance to soak in and hit you yet? Please allow me to help put it in perspective.

The number one most impressive aspect of the Games was, and always will be, the athletes. Approximately 4000 men and women started out in the pool of contenders trying to fight for a spot to the Games. That huge number was whittled down again and again until finally we were left with 45 men and 41 women. The work these athletes did day-in and day-out to prepare both mentally and physically for the Games is worthy of an article by itself! Every single individual competitor, masters athlete, and affiliate team earned the right to compete through old-fashioned hard work. Congratulations to all. Those of us in the stands were inspired time and time again by your amazing displays of fitness and tenacity.

In my opinion one of the coolest aspects of CrossFit is that it provides anyone the opportunity to become a 100% badass elite athlete in their garage with a few simple pieces of equipment. Don’t believe me? Go pay a visit to Ben Smith’s garage in Chesapeake, VA. You will witness a 20 year old with a 444 Fight Gone Bad, a 320 lb. clean & jerk, a 265 lb. snatch, a 515 lb. deadlift, a 450 lb. back squat, a 2:36 Fran, a 7:25 Helen, and 67 pull-ups. He is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet (think Chris Spealler). Ben epitomizes what the CrossFit community is all about. Elite fitness is available to the entire world for free. I’m not sure the gravity of that simple statement is fully comprehended by most people. We have changed the face of fitness forever, and we are just getting started.

On Wednesday I went to CrossFit Verve, in Denver. The WOD was the psychotic variation of Helen that was Event 2 at the 2010 CF Games this year. I consider myself a pretty good CrossFitter, so I was expecting to knock this puppy out in the 18 to 20 minute range. Negative. I yelled “TIME” at 21:46 and hit the floor hyperventilating. I literally did not get up for about 3 minutes. I was completely useless and nauseous for the next 10 minutes. The only thing going through my mind was that the athletes at the Home Depot Center did that WOD, then had a measly 90 seconds to establish a 1RM overhead lift! Holy crap! I cannot imagine jerking a PVC pipe after that WOD.

How in the hell did DJ Wickham jerk 325 lb.! Ben Smith not only beat my time on the WOD, but also then threw 295 up! Crowd favorite Chris Spealler, who electrified fans under the stadium lights by winning the muscle-up/snatch workout, finished the event in 17:02, nipping at Holmberg’s heels. Speal then proceeded to throw 225 over his head at a bodyweight of 140. The men’s champ, Graham Holmberg had the fastest time on the crazy variation of Helen with 16:59, then took 3rd in the overhead lift with a staggering jerk of 285 lb.! I can’t split jerk that when I’m fresh. These guys are insane.  

As if the gentlemen are not unbelievable enough, what about the ladies of the CrossFit Games? What are you looking for? Strength? Beauty? Grace? Fierce competition? These girls have it all and they make it look easy. Annie Thorisdottir destroyed this workout and crossed the finish line at 17:53! She then jerked 165, which was good enough for 8th place. Four women completed the workout in less than 19 minutes, including the amazing Kristan Clever who came in at 18:23. Another four crossed the line before 20 minutes elapsed! Three girls jerked 175. Two ladies jerked 185. Jessica Pamanian showed incredible strength as she locked out 195 overhead while still struggling to catch her breath as the 90 window screamed by. If that is not impressive enough, Kristan Clever made a split jerk of 205 look easy. I’m in awe of these amazing ladies.

CrossFit workouts simulate life. The overwhelming majority of time the real world will demand that you are strong at a high heart rate. The psycho Helen followed by a very short 90-second window to max out overhead brought to light many athlete’s limitations. This event was breathtaking to watch and provided the crowd with both entertainment and inspiration.

A recurring theme we saw through the 3-day event was the athletes were expected to perform technically challenging movements under demanding loads, while being extremely metabolically taxed. The 3rd workout kept this theme of the Games going much to the delight of everyone watching. Heavy deadlifts (315/205 lb.) paired with technical pistols and double-unders started to really create some separation amongst the competitors. Rich Froning, Jr., who would take 2nd overall at the Games tied for 1st place in this event with dark horse Austin Malleolo. Froning confessed after the fact that he had never done pistols in a WOD before this event. What!?! Let me restate that he tied for 1st place in this WOD! If this does not speak to his incredible athleticism, then I don’t know what does. Rich, that was impressive.

I’ve only written about four of nine workouts that these athletes competed in and I just hit 1000 words. There is literally too much that went down during the 2010 Games for any one article. We had everything from well-known CrossFit athletes that were expected to be shoe-ins not even qualify to compete. This year’s event also had many top-level athletes that got eliminated early or were challenged by certain events more than any of us could have imagined. There were ups and downs, high and lows, suspense and drama that all culminated in the most spectacular CrossFit Games ever! We would be remiss if we forgot to mention CrossFit set another record. As many of you know the Games were filmed and streamed live in high definition over the internet for FREE! No one has ever done that before. I’m constantly in awe of the generosity of this incredible community we are all so proud to be a part of.

Thank you to everyone that helped in any way, shape or form to make this event such an impressive success. The list of people to thank starts with the Glassman’s, makes its way through every department of CrossFit HQ, to the judges, volunteers, competitors, and extends to each and every member of the global CrossFit community hitting the WODs in their garage with a couple friends. I can’t believe how far we have come in 4 short years. Our future is bright, very bright.

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19 comments on this entry

1. Joe wrote...

You did a good job. enjoyed your commentary.

2. Ben Smith wrote...

Pat,

Thank you for the nice comments. It was great to see you again this weekend and you guys at that analyst desk did a great job! We sure had the fittest commentator crew in the world... Good thing for us you all stayed at the desk and didn't come down and compete! Hope to see you around soon!

Ben Smith

3. Paul wrote...

Ben,

I hadn't really known about you before the games, I had guessed you were a good athlete for your age, I was wrong you aren't a good athlete for your age you are an amazing athlete for any age. I was in awe of your numbers when I checked your profile. I then checked your profile from last year and you have made incredible improvements, any secret? haha either way congragulations I aspire to have numbers like yours, even though I am 2 years your senior.

4. Cherie wrote...

Pat - Thank you for always finding the words to describe what we are feeling. Incredible? indeed. Mind-blowing? For sure. Life changing? Always, that is what CrossFit does best.

Thank you CrossFit (I say CrossFit, because I know it is a slew of wonderful people), for continuing to change my life year after year...

To the athletes, thank you for all of your hard work. Thank you for putting on such a show, and thank you for helping us all realize anything is possible. You have ALL been an inspiration.

5. Braden wrote...

Pat, great post!
I Just got back from another incredible games experience with a little vacation included. I think Ive got all the coffee, beer drinking,ice cream,doughnut eating fast food cravings out of my system for another year.This year I was lucky enough to compete. I have to agree with Pat. Every year the games get better. Whoever came up with the wods did a great job.Weaknesses were exposed and that is how it should be.Really happy to see the one leg squats and ring handstand pushup come up, even though I have a hard time with those exercises. The most well rounded fittest athletes came out on top. Congradulations to fellow Central Easter Graham Holmberg and Kristan Clever!Also would like to thank all the volunteers and HQ for putting together such a well ran proffessional event.Thanks to everyone at Rogue for all the cool clothes we got to wear. As one of the competitors I have to say we were treated like rockstars, we had a great warmup area away from the heat, all the water we needed, massage therapy, ice baths, live video of the events, and up to date scoring. Dave was very clear on the times and workout descriptions.Just being there hanging out with all the crossfit stars was priceless for me, warming up with Chris Spealer standing next to you or Mikko, or OPT, not to mention all the beautiful crossfit woman competitors everywhere.Yeah,it was awesome. CrossFit is my favorite sport and Im probably a bigger fan than a competitor of these guys and girls.We couldnt have asked for a better venue than the Home Depot Center, I think it worked out great for CrossFit.I got to watch the last events from the stands and it was incredible. I have never been more pumped watching an event. The obstacle course wod can only be described as epic. Brilliant concept whoever came up with that.Not only was it spectacular to watch but it also gave the athletes a chance to move up in their standings more than a single wod would have done. Also want to give a shout out to Ben Smith, fellow Central East competitor and all around great guy, Just keep doing whatever your doing. I see Ben on the top podium in the future.Cant wait to see what the future of crossfit brings with these younger athletes.Just think what the level of competition will be like in 3, 4, or 5 years with competitors like Graham, Ben Smith, James Hobart, Spencer Hendel, Khalipa, and Froning improving their game every year.Some of these guys dont even follow a diet yet and they have no idea how studdly you get when your in your 30s.

6. Mal Grogan wrote...

Pat, thanks for the great commentary all weekend. I did experience buffering problems with CPU speed, but I watched in awe anyway. I found crossfit in May-09, and as an older guy (51), crossfit, the Journal, and everything related still gets me pumped. I also had to try the Hell-in today, just so I could experience what the competitors felt like,.... all I can say is ..whew! It took me 29:30, and I am glad I have a sit down job to go to,,
I look forward to the future of crossfit, and I still love looking at some of the Santa Cruz original videos once in a while.... it helps keep me grounded!

7. Miranda 801 wrote...

Pat,

Great article. You are absolutely right! The athletes and the display of heart and amazing fitness were insane! I have been so inspired by each one of them!!

Laurie Carver is officially my hero!

8. Adam Kayce wrote...

Nice write-up, Pat - and great job commentating at the Games. I would've enjoyed having you in the play-by-play booth as well; you and Josh would've rocked it on that side.

And, I'm in complete agreement; the athletes we had the pleasure of witnessing in these Games were truly a spectacle, and I have immense gratitude for all those who worked so hard to make it possible.

9. Patrick Cummings wrote...

Damn fine job last weekend, Sherwood.

I'm not sure how many people realize how hard it is to be "on" for as long as you guys were all "on" and still be entertaining, informative and effective, but you guys did a bang up job.

For folks who have never done that kind of thing before, it was as an impressive feat by the entire production crew--in front of the camera and behind.

Congrats to you and everyone else. Hope to see you soon.

10. Tommy Richards wrote...

Pat,

Great commentary. Great perspective.

Keep up the great work, CrossFit is fortunate to have you as one of the leaders in the community!

11. Pat McCarty wrote...

I am 48, and I almost can't wait to turn 50 so I can try for the master's division. CrossFit has changed my life and it's a great obsession to have. See you in 2 years.

12. Apolloswabbie wrote...

Well put, I enjoyed your commentary all weekend. I couldn't take my eyes off the events all weekend - pity the poor folks that had to listen to the rants Monday.

Off the scale amazing event - how can they possibly top it?

13. tanaja1979 wrote...

My husband and I took vacation, drove 3,000 miles roundtrip, and celebrated my birthday at the Games this year. I was amazed the whole weekend and your write-up gave me goosebumps all over again. Great work. CrossFit has changed my life.

14. n wrote...

The Games were excellent and thrilling to watch!

Watch out all...Ben Smith is a FORCE to be reckoned with!!!

15. John Cooper - CrossFit Tuff Luv CA. wrote...

Great Job PAT!!!
I have been posting this comment to all the Games postes on my Facebook
"CrossFit and the CrossFit Games are showing the world, what
"REAL ATHLETES" are!! Not the Bling-Bling BS you see in
the pro-sports now days. CrossFit Athletes do it for the
LUV of CrossFit and the Clock. Not the bank, lawyers, and agents!!"
Thanks agian Pat Your a Hero to me every one in my Box!!
PS: more - more Zone Videos!! Luv'em!!

16. mark dolley wrote...

Enjoyed your insight and analysis here as during the broadcast. One bone of contention, however. A number of commentators over the weekend mentioned that the free HD online live broadcast was a first. ("No one has ever done that before.") Not so.

Vancouver 2010, the Olympic Winter Games, saw over 400 hours broadcast on NBCOlympics.com.
http://team.silverlight.net/announcement/the-xxi-olympic-winter-games-on-nbcolympics-com-brought-to-you-in-full-hd-with-silverlight-and-smooth-streaming/

This year's CrossFit Games were clearly a great success. Keep it up.

17. augie owen wrote...

its people like you pat that make crossfit exactly what you just said. i didn't see as much as wanted to of the games but what i saw of josh and you was impressive, nevermind the athletes : i do not have the vocab to describe them without swearing! could someone give graham a vid cam for a day, lets see what this dude eats !!! many thanx to everyone crossfit.

18. Joe Alexander wrote...

Fantastic recap of the weekend Pat. It was an honor to participate and serve at the games this year. The community really put their best foot forward for this one. A sincere thank you to everyone who made it possible (no contribution was too small or unnoticed). A special thank you to the athletes who put it all on the line every year...I wish you nothing but the best in the pursuit of your goals this next year. Sincerely, Joe

19. Kimberly Malz wrote...

Pat,

Great reflection on the 2010 Games.

You are a CFHQ rock star!

Best,

Kim

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