Slideshow: 10 Insanely Fit CrossFit Athletes
<p>By Landon LaRue</p> <p><p>CARSON, Calif. -- Complete 3,000 meters on a rowing machine. Then do 300 double-unders (aka "double jumps" with a jump rope, from the days of recess). Now run 3 miles. All as fast as you possibly can.</p> <p>That's just the first of three workouts that will be held on Friday in Carson at the CrossFit Games, where 43 men and 42 women -- finalists from a pool of more than 200,000 entrants -- compete for the CrossFit-dubbed title of 2014 Fittest Man and Woman on Earth. </p> <p>It's grueling. It's exhausting. And it's amazing to see so many ridiculously strong people in one place. Most of the competitors in Carson can complete 50 pull-ups, clean-and-jerk more than their body weight, and run a sub-6-minute-mile ... in one workout.</p> <p>With so much athleticism on display, we've picked out the five women and five men you won't want to miss this week.</p>
By Landon LaRue
CARSON, Calif. -- Complete 3,000 meters on a rowing machine. Then do 300 double-unders (aka "double jumps" with a jump rope, from the days of recess). Now run 3 miles. All as fast as you possibly can.
That's just the first of three workouts that will be held on Friday in Carson at the CrossFit Games, where 43 men and 42 women -- finalists from a pool of more than 200,000 entrants -- compete for the CrossFit-dubbed title of 2014 Fittest Man and Woman on Earth.
It's grueling. It's exhausting. And it's amazing to see so many ridiculously strong people in one place. Most of the competitors in Carson can complete 50 pull-ups, clean-and-jerk more than their body weight, and run a sub-6-minute-mile ... in one workout.
With so much athleticism on display, we've picked out the five women and five men you won't want to miss this week.
Best Result: Sixth in 2012; Games Appearances: 5; Region: Canada East
Why You Should Watch Her: Leblanc-Bazinet qualified for this year's Games with the fewest total points (that's good!) of any athlete -- male or female -- in the world. That means she won more of her events at regionals than anyone else, and in her fifth Games, this could be the year she wins it all. Though she boasts a hang squat snatch of 190 pounds (roughly the weight of two 13-year-old boys), this tough girl has a lucky stuffed animal named Penguin that she can't compete without. Her husband, SoCal CrossFitter Dave Lipson, is so superstitious about the penguin that he almost missed one of her recent regional events because he was searching for it.
After competing at the Games, Leblanc-Bazinet will be attempting to earn a spot on the 2016 Olympic weightlifting team for her home country, Canada.
Best Result: Champion in 2011 and 2012; Games Appearances: 4; Region: Europe
Why You Should Watch Her: Thorisdottir is her very own CrossFit goddess, living up to the translation of her name as "Thor's Daughter" with back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012 -- all with a smile on her face during every workout.
She's the only female to win twice, and she's become a vocal advocate for empowering girls through sport with the message that strong is beautiful.
Thorisdottir sat out the 2013 Games due to a serious back injury and may not yet be back to where she was in 2012, but even if her results in Carson don't put her on the podium, she'll be fun to watch.
Best Result: Second in 2012; Games Appearances: 4; Region: Central East
Why You Should Watch Her: Foucher took a year off from the Games in 2013 in order to focus on her most rigorous year of medical school at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. After stumbling on her gymnastics skills in 2012, she has acquired an additional coach, 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu, to help her with body-weight movements, to go with her regular coach, Doug Chapman.
The showdown between Thorisdottir and Foucher could be interesting, too, since the duo fought until the very end in the 2012 Games, and both were absent in 2013. During the 2014 Open, they played tug-of-war with their scores and ended up proving that they were still evenly matched, with Foucher leading slightly in the overall rankings.
Best Result: Third in 2010 and 2013; Games Appearances: 5; Region: Southern California
Why You Should Watch Her: A full-time teacher and mom of a 3-year-old daughter, Vin, Voboril has proved that you don't need to train full-time in order to be a competitive CrossFit athlete. She makes it a point to train for only an hour a day, five days a week -- making her results all the more impressive.
Voboril won the SoCal Regional in May, and is the only athlete from 2013's top three to qualify for the Games this year. (Both defending champ Samantha Briggs and runner-up Lindsey Valenzuela failed to make it out of regionals.) Voboril has the experience, the natural talent and a sunny outlook that could take her all the way to the top this year.
Best Result: Seventh place in the Affiliate Cup, CrossFit's team competition; Games Appearances: This is her first as an individual; Region: Southern California
Why You Should Watch Her: Weighing in at just 133 pounds, "Lil Fish" recently finished her sophomore year at San Diego State University and competed at the junior weightlifting world championships in Russia in June, completing a massive clean and jerk of 242 pounds.
As a rookie to individual competition, her biggest challenge will be pacing herself. It's easy to go too hard too soon, and not have enough energy left to finish the competition.
Rich Froning Jr.
Best Result: Champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013; Games Appearances: 5; Region: Central East
Why You Should Watch Him: Because he's Rich Froning. As the reigning champion -- winning the past three times, no less -- Froning did not disappoint at his regional competition, taking first by a landslide 10 points and placing first in five of seven events.
Froning lives and breathes CrossFit, and it's rumored that the only day he's taken off in recent years was his wedding day in 2011. He's been known to get up in the middle of dinner to rep out a few squats in the garage before returning to the table to finish his meal, and once hung gymnastics rings from his vacation rental home's porch.
He's the hands-down favorite to win an unprecedented fourth title.
Best Result: Champion in 2008; Games Appearances: 7; Region: Northern California
Why You Should Watch Him: At 28, Khalipa is not just a jock, he's a serious businessman and owner of several CrossFit boxes in the NorCal region that are known for their high-quality equipment and coaching.
Khalipa, the 2008 champion, is one of three athletes who have competed at every CrossFit Games (along with Becca Voigt and Chris Spealler). Khalipa is also Froning's biggest rival, and it's caused a Yankees/Red Sox-level divide in fans. More than once, Khalipa has led the competition early, only to have Froning surpass him in the final rounds.
Best Result: First in the Affiliate Cup in 2012 and 2013; second in 2009 as an individual; Games Appearances: 5; Region: South West
Why You Should Watch Him: At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Hackenbruck is one of the larger athletes on the floor, which can put him at a disadvantage in body-weight moves like handstand walks and muscle-ups. But that didn't stop him from taking first in his region this year, and it shouldn't hold him back at the Games either.
Hackenbruck ran a very successful team for two years, winning CrossFit's team competition, the Affiliate Cup, in both 2012 and 2013. His team members spread out in different directions after last year, and now Hackenbruck is at the Games competing as an individual.
He's confident in his skills (even tweeting "@richfroning did you eat your wheaties today? I'm coming for ya in 3 weeks!"), and will be a contender for this year's podium.
Best Result: 17th in 2012; Games Appearances: 3; Region: Southern California
Why You Should Watch Him: Called "Ken Doll" because of his chiseled looks (his hair never moves an inch, even during workouts) and nice-guy personality, Leverich was injured at both the 2012 and 2013 Games. After disappointing 17th- and 28th-place finishes in the past, now that he's healthy he should be in a fight for the top three.
He trains with 2013 second-place finisher Lindsey Valenzuela twice a week, and typically hits the gym for six to eight hours a day.
Best Result: This is his first CrossFit Games; Games Appearances: 1; Region: South East
Why You Should Watch Him: Ohlsen led the competition at regionals last year, only to miss qualifying for the Games after a 40th-place finish in the sixth event (the heavy deadlift and box jump). Vowing to not let that happen again, he's now with Dusty Hyland, one of the most sought-after CrossFit coaches. (Hyland has a proven record of getting athletes onto the podium, and has worked with the likes of Lindsey Valenzuela, Samantha Briggs and Val Voboril.)
What Ohlsen lacks in experience on the big stage, he makes up for with his enthusiasm and determination. And he's increased his personal best in the deadlift by 50 pounds.