2010 CrossFit Games Finals

Chatting with Graham Holmberg

The Champ speaks pre-Games.

Graham Holmberg is the Fittest Man on Earth. Last year in Aromas, after just a few months of practicing CrossFit, he found himself in 19th overall when the weekend came to a close. He is now the co-owner of a CrossFit Affiliate and does all of his own programming. This year he was 3rd in the Central East Regional. He entered the 2010 Finals with a humble yet optimistic attitude. Graham's performance was shockingly balanced in the 2010 CrossFit Games; 2 first place finishes (“Hell-In” and the Clean/Ring HSPU) 2 third place finishes (Max overhead and the Deadlift/Pistol/Double-under) and the second best score in event 6b (Toe to Bar/Ground to Overhead).

The following interviews track the Champion's thoughts from Regionals to the opening day of the 2010 Games.

The first is an interview at this year's Central East Regional. Graham talks about his past mistakes in training and how he sought redemption this year.

The second video is Graham arriving on the scene at the Home Depot Center. He talks about his training and preparation, what he hopes to see and how he thinks he will perform in the given format.

Pat Sherwood’s parting advice? "Kick it in the ass."

Indeed he did.

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Video Downloads

Graham Holmberg At The 2010 Central East Regional

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Graham Holmberg Arrives At The 2010 Crossfit Games

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Graham Holmberg - First Impressions Post Games

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27 comments on this entry

1. Billy wrote...

Bryan Clay, current decathlon champ, probably is, actually.

Bill

2. chad wrote...

Alright Bill, I'll bite.

Bryan Clay is an amazing athlete. Probably the best at doing less than 5 minutes of work at a time in the world, while mostly running and throwing things.

Here at Crossfit we like to use broad time and modal domains and under that definition, Graham Holmberg is, actually.

Chad

3. nick wrote...

Graham seems like a really good guy and he absolutely smoked the event this year. He's a worthy champion and one fit dude.

slightly disappointing in fact that he seems such a regular, accessible guy. There was something cool about having the Crossfit champ as being this mystical Finnish guy training all day every day in the woods and snow and coming out once a year to smoke us all.

i hope I've expressed this properly - nothing but love and respect for Graham Holmberg and his fitness, but because he's more familiar, it's a little less exciting

4. nick wrote...

Billy,

we had an australian Olympic ski champion called Alisa Camplin a few years back. To win the Olympics, she completed the exact same jump/trick twice in a row. She did it brilliantly and won Gold. She had done nothing but this one jump, in practice and competition for two years.

She may well not have been the most versatile or skilled jumper at all, but within the tight confines of the rules of her competition, she scored the highest points.

Bryan Clay and all the decathletes are exceptional athletes, as are so many pro and olympic athletes. They are at elite levels of fitness.

But...they are training their skills and fitness for the known and the knowable. As such, there will be areas of performance, areas of work capacities, that they will be ignoring. Contrast this to the crossfit test of fitness is highly unpredictable and varied, so the Crossfit athletes are training broader even than decathletes. I think this makes it a truer test of fitness (the crossfit definition of fitness) than a decathlon.

again, nothing but love for decathletes, running backs, rowers etc, they would smoke crossfitters in some/many areas of fitness. But in others they wouldn't, their capacity for work would be found to be lacking.

And that's what this is all about - work capacity across broad time and modal domains

5. Billy wrote...

"Graham Holmberg is the Fittest Man on Earth, according to the CrossFit definition" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Bill

6. Rookie wrote...

Lets throw the 10 best Decathletes in and do the Games workouts. Would love to see how they do. I am 100% positive not one of them would come close to any of the top 10 Crossfitters. Graham Holmberg is the Fittest Man on Earth. The End

7. Erik Rasmussen wrote...

According to how you define your end goals of fitness, there will be different people considered the 'fittest'. Every athlete that has become world champion, be they in the crossfit games or decathletes, generally epitomizes fitness in their sport's terms. If you don't support crossfit's definition of fitness you aren't likely to get much sympathy on this site.

Whether a crossfitter could be competitive in a decathlon, or a decathlete in the games seems irrelevant. They have completely different goals

8. nick wrote...

Billy

please share with us your definition of fitness

as an aside, Daley Thomson, probably the world's greatest ever decathlete, couldn't swim. Was he the fittest man on earth during the 8 years when he was the world's best decathlete?

9. BP wrote...

The claim is not that decathletes are worlds "fittest". Rather that they are the greatest "athletes". We know how crossfit defines fitness. How do you define athletic?

Just like Glassman says, if someone disagrees with a claim, PROVE IT. Well of course decathletes will do horrible with crossfit, just as crossfitters would do horrible at trying to polevault, shotput, hurdle, etc.

Erik put it well: they have different goals. Quit trying to compare.

10. Szilárd wrote...

Swimming... good point. I think Crossfit should put more emphasis on swimming. Regardless of the fact that a pool can be difficult to access for some of us.

I also think, that Bill has a point too. I think fitness as Crossfit declares (very accurately too) is much more then Helen, Fran, Roy, Amanda or any of the benchmarks. True fittness is measured more accurately with tasks like the Sandbag carry event, or the sledgehammer thing last year. In those tasks you have to be good at things you never (or scarcely) tried before. Crossfit should prepare you for anything, so the Games should not be about those excercises you practice every day. All right they are mixed up and put on steroids, but that isn't much for a change. But a sandbag carry, loading odd objects (stones perhaps or kegs) onto an overhead platform, digging a hole... that would show how much real work you can do.
That's my opinion anyways.

11. Mike wrote...

Billy and all others with this problem,

Why do people in crossfit confuse athleticism with fitness? You can be a great athlete and not be fit and be very fit but be a terrible athlete. They are not the same thing. Crossfit is not a sport. It is a work and mental capacity test and a kick ass one at that. Bryan Clay is a kick ass athlete and most likely a very fit athlete but just because he is the best decathalete in the world, doesn't mean he is the fittest person in the world.

Mike

12. Billy wrote...

Fitness is not best defined as the winner of a competition whose format completely changes every time so no one can compare anything whatsoever.

Bill

13. Mike wrote...

Bill,

Maybe so....but fitness isn't best defined as the winner of ten different known tasks that people prepare for year round. Who are you to say what best defines fitness? Bryan Clay-1500 personal best-4:38.93. Not that impressive, I bet speal can do that.

Mike

14. mike wrote...

and he soesn't even train specifically for that event

15. Latham wrote...

Billy,

Why did you pick the decathalon as the world's most complete test of fitness? Did you pick it because it has more events than other sports?? By that logic, a duodecathalon would be even better - twelve events better than ten right? Throw in max clean and jerk and a marathon row, say, to round things out. Heck, if twelve is better than ten, let's go for fifty...or one hundred...but then you run into time and space constraints. Factor those in, and suddenly you have something that looks a lot like the Crossfit Games.

16. chad wrote...

"Fitness is not best defined as the winner of a competition whose format completely changes every time so no one can compare anything whatsoever."

I just have to disagree here. Our sport betters itself every single year, while the sport you have chosen to defend remains stagnant. You want to make the decathlon a true test of fitness? At least throw in an event that lasts more than 5 minutes

17. Pat Sherwood wrote...

Graham! Great job! Like the blurb says, your performance was shockingly balanced. I look forward to seeing you compete in the future. Good luck with your training.

18. Scott Lewis wrote...

Congratulations Graham. You showed a great deal of work capacity, skill, and most importantly in LIFE..."TRUE GRIT". You proved yourself as the most fit and you should be proud.

19. Joshua wrote...

crossfit is a program designed to improve your general fitness... it is not a measure of athletic skill. Just because you can crossfit well does not make you a great athlete. Comparing a decathlete to a crossfitter is just not a legitimate comparison. Unfortunately, most people in crossfit become so enamored with the program that they forget it is just a fitness program and nothing more. (and for all you crazed crossfitters out there, dont go all crazy with your comments, I crossfit as well and it is a GREAT fitness program)

20. RJ wrote...

Graham and all of the Games athletes are incredible. To get to the Games is a lifetime achievement . . . to win the Games is hard to fathom. A couple of thoughts:

- Nobody will ever settle the "Fittest on Earth" argument. At this time, Crossfit makes the most persuasive claim than I have seen. It might be fun to see some of these elite Crossfit and non-Crossfit athletes compete against each other if they are willing.
- It would be nice to see swimming introduced gradually as a test of the World's Fittest athletes. It's a little surprising that it hasn't yet given the number of Navy SEALs involved at HQ. It would disappoint me a little bit if I found out the Fittest couldn't swim at least adequately.

You have to be an optimist to Crossfit so I hope that spirit continues to be the mainstay of the community.

21. Billy wrote...

"Nobody will ever settle the "Fittest on Earth" argument''

Standard, long running, world renown Olympic events come closest, like the decathlon for example. The training they do is most impressive, and at a higher level than just working out competitions that change every time and one can't compare anything.

It seems like 'unknown and unknowable' mantra is just a cover for not *wanting* to be able to compare... So win the decathlon...and wear your CrossFit shirt proudly. Right.

Bill

22. Mike wrote...

Billy are you a decatholete or something? you are obsessed with the decathlon. i don't know if you have heard but the decathlon isn't a competition to determine the fittest man on earth. it is an athletic event. i've never heard a decatholete referred to as fittest on earth, just best athlete.

Mike

23. Pär Larsson wrote...

Simple Solution (tm):
Invite Mr. Clay to the next Games and offer him an appearance fee to compete and see what happens.

I kinda liked having a dude from Finland come out of the woods and snow, too... but this new guy seems legit.

Both the Decathlon and CF "Fittest On Earth" need a swim/water thing and a 5K+ distance run. CF needs a "throw something" event, pref. a spear or rock or similar.

Both ignore the very basic component of being fit for life that is basic fighting proficiency. But that's way too hard to incorporate in CF so I'll give HQ a pass for not trying.

24. J.B. wrote...

I love both and just so happen to be a decathlete. Most decathletes nowadays do crossfit training to the same extent that the "Crossfitters" do it. It's a pain in the ass and exactly why we train using it. I don't know how Bryan would compete in it, seeing as he is much less an endurance athlete as he is power. I do know MANY elite level distance runners who would probably smoke most crossfit athletes. They jog 4:40 miles for 5 miles on a regular basis. The strength and mental component they gain, through adventure racing. Where "unknown" is TRULY a word that can be tossed around. A 50 mile mountain bike on tricky trails, to 10 mile beach races, to an 18 mile kayak down class 4 rapids...half the time running into places they have to repel down or climb down bar any equipment. All in one day! A race typically lasting 6 hours from dusk or till dawn. These guys may look small, but they can also put up the weight in the weight room. My coach is one of these athletes and he can almost outclass me on some lifts...and that's saying something on a few of them lol. Just saying I would like to see that match up...it would be fun for both sides.

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