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History of the CrossFit Games - Finding the Fittest on Earth!

13 January 2020 by Dan Fields

A brief history of CrossFit .....

Gold Standard Nutrition have been supplying healthy, convenient meals to CrossFitters for over a year now, we look into the history of it's biggest competition: The CrossFit Games and the rise of this unique and physically demanding sport.

"Constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains," with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains."

While to some these words may seem as memorable and distinct as a national anthem or lyrics from a favourite song, for others it is simply unheard of.

Starting from humble beginnings of a 70 athlete event on a ranch in North California back in 2007, here we take a look at the history of the games and how CrossFit has lifted, jumped and pulled it's way to the top of the sporting world in becoming the largest growing sports business in history.

2007

The Inaugural CrossFit Games first took place in  Aromas, North California, on a ranch owned by the parents of Dave Castro the man we now know to be one of the faces of the sport. In true CrossFit fashion and under the notion that the fittest on earth can handle any task they face, the first Workout was chosen randomly and not released to the athletes until right before the event, a tradition we still see honoured today:

'1000 meter row followed by 5 x 25 pull-ups & 7 push jerks'

The Podium: James Fitzgerald & Jolie Gentry

2008

This years CrossFit saw one of the first pieces of controversy in early games history, and paved the way for the regional qualification format that we see today. With a 300 athlete entry cap back in 2008, athletes entered and earned there place in a first come first serve fashion meaning some of the sports biggest names missed out. With some 800 fans attending to spectate, the 2008 games would play host to a variant of the signature workout known today as Fran.

'Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of: 95-pound Thruster Pull-ups'

The Podium: Jason Khalipa & Caity Matter

2009

2009 marked the year that the CrossFit games went International with regional qualifiers in the U.S, Canada, South America, Europe, Iceland, Asia, Australia and Africa ensuring that the 150 athletes that made it to the games were the elite. Over 4,000 fans gathered with vendors and sponsorship's to watch a rather fitting end to the competition that saw Iceland's Mikko Salo take home the men's crown and a young Annie Thorisdottir pushed Tanya Wagner all the way, coming close but not quite taking the crown.

The Podium: Mikko Salo & Tanya Wagner

2010 

The Home Depot Centre, Carson was the home of the games this year as the event outgrow it's humble beginnings. Now being streamed live to the world by CrossFit and brandishing an impressive $25,000 purse for the winners, the fittest just became fitter as sectional qualifying was added that saw athletes further tested before making it to regional's and then the games. Keeping with the fashion of a year that saw the games expand even further, a masters division was added to the competition that saw athletes over the age of 40 pitted against one another. In total 45 men and 41 women went toe to toe in the individual competition.

The Podium: Graham Holmberg & Kristan Clever

Masters Podium: Brian Curley & Laurie Carver

2011 

The 2011 Reebok CrossFit games, as suggested by the name, saw a 10 year partnership formed between Reebok and the games, which in turn saw the introduction of a combined $1 million prize purse with each individual winner pocketing $250,000 each. The previous years 'sectionals' qualifying was instead replaced with the first glimpse of today's open competition, and with its internet based structure saw over 26,000 entrants, making it one of the largest sporting events in history. ESPN coverage then added to the sports growth and exposure in a games years that saw the first workout take place not in the Home Depot Centre, but instead in the sea!

The Podium: Rich Froning Jr. & Annie Thorisdottir

2012

The year of repetition. The 2012 games represented a sense of stability for the CrossFit games, well if a 43,000 athlete increase can be deemed as stability. Again the games returned to Carson and again athletes qualified through the increasingly popular open format followed by regional qualifying. Accessible to any and everyone who wanted to prove their fitness against the world, CrossFit Affiliates encouraged their members to sign up. 50 male and 50 female athletes made up the final line up in Carson and in true CrossFit fashion, a curve ball was thrown at the athletes as an extra day of competition was added two days prior to the event beginning where the athletes were confronted with a 700-meter ocean swim with fins, an 8-kilometre bike ride across undulating terrain and soft sand, an 11.3-kilometre run across steep hills and more than 427 meters of elevation gain, and multiple trips across the Obstacle course. Yet despite these pitfalls, history repeated itself with last years champions retaining their place at the top of the proverbial ladder.

The Podium: Rich Froning Jr. & Annie Thorisdottir

2013

An almost 100% increase from 2012, saw 2013 welcome 138,000 athletes into the games as they entered the open. Whilst not much changed in the men's individual competition as Froning laid claim to his third successive title, the women's individuals welcomed a new champion in the form of our very own Sam "The Engine" Briggs from the UK. Controversially, many have said that had it not been for the absence of  Annie Thorisdottir, who did not enter due to injury, then Brigg's would not of won thus, building more hype for the 2014 games before they had even started.

The Podium: Rich Froning Jr. & Sam Briggs

2014

The year 2014 marked what would be one of CrossFit's end of an era moment as Rich Froning, alongside previous Champion Jason Khalipa, announced that they were to retire after the games regardless of placing. With fan's now cherishing and treasuring every moment that they saw these gladiators compete, it was clear that this year would be one to remember as Thorisdottir made her comeback following her absence through injury in 2013 and Briggs laid a heavy marker down in the open claiming victory in workouts, 14.1, 14.4 and 14.5, whilst Froning never finished outside the worldwide top 10 in any competition. Of the 209,000 registered athletes it was again Froning who claimed victory, ending an illustrious CrossFit career that saw him win 4 titles in just 5 years of competing. Jason Khalipa also made third place on the podium whilst Camille Leblanc-Bazinet claimed top spot in the female individual competition beating Thorisdottir.

The Podium: Rich Froning Jr. & Annie Thorisdottir

2015

Last year, CrossFit announced its biggest ever athlete entry volume into it's open as 272,000 athletes set about being crowned the fittest on earth. Further to the success of the master division that was added, the games also played host to a teenage division and a scaled division that simplified more complex movements to cater for the masses. The 17 previous regionals were now combined into 8 and thereafter named the super regionals. New champions were crowned in the form of Ben Smith and Katrin Davidsdottir.

The Podium: Ben Smith & Katrin Davidsdottir

Whilst CrossFit has changed its colours over the years one thing that we can be sure on is that this years 2016 games will undoubtedly be one of the biggest and best yet, and provide the stage for an epic battle that will find the fittest on earth!

Keep checked in with GSN this week for everything you need to know about this years CrossFit games and be sure to check out our offical GSN CrossFit athletes and ambassadors Tunde Okunniwa and Joe Taylor for all your training tips and motivation in and around the box! #TeamGSN

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