This year was the fourth Games that Michelle and I have attended in person. Each year it has grown exponentially and blown our minds with respect to scope, scale, and innovation. The tests are becoming broader while still throwing the “unknown and unknowable” at the athletes and making it fan friendly. CrossFit has truly become a sport of fitness and it still appears to be a big work in progress for where it can go. When I think about travelling to watch people “work out” it kind of makes me laugh. Then again isn’t watching people play soccer or football or swimming or running the same thing?
Here’s the official look back at the history of the Games from the CF Games website.
Below is from the History of the CrossFit Games:
The Inaugural 2007 CrossFit Games
CrossFit introduced the sport of fitness to the world in 2007, when a small group of around 70 athletes gathered at a ranch in northern California for the inaugural CrossFit Games.
CrossFit founder, Greg Glassman has always believed the fittest athletes would be able to handle any and every task, so the first event of the 2007 CrossFit Games was chosen randomly. With Coach Glassman presiding, colored balls labeled with movements were pulled from a hopper. A workout was created on the spot, and the assembled athletes were soon tested by a 1,000-meter row followed by five rounds of seven push jerks and 25 pull-ups.
Aromas Hill Run
With rowing machines humming in the California sunshine, CrossFit ushered in a new era of fitness competitions—an era where no points are awarded for style or appearance. The only way to win: do more work faster than anyone else, and let the clock be the judge.
California’s Jolie Gentry and Canadian James FitzGerald won the inaugural 2007 CrossFit Games. CrossFit Santa Cruz won the 2007 Affiliate Cup by virtue of its members’ placing in the individual events.
The 2008 CrossFit Games: Every Second Counts
In 2008, the Games exploded, with approximately 300 athletes competing in four challenging workouts, including a variant of the signature workout “Fran.” About 800 fans were on hand to watch the event. Jason Khalipa of Santa Clara, Calif., came from nowhere to beat favorite Josh Everett and won the men’s side of the competition. A documentary film, “Every Second Counts” by Sevan Matossian, was made about the competition, whetting the appetite of ravenous CrossFitters who were already counting down to the following July.
Caity Matter of Ohio was crowned the women’s champion, with Tanya Wagner of Pennsylvania only 10 seconds behind her in the overall standings. CrossFit Oakland’s combined individual efforts earned them the title of Affiliate Cup champions, as well.
The 2009 CrossFit Games: A Global Phenomenon
The 2009 Games marked the global explosion of CrossFit, with regional qualifiers held in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Iceland, Asia, Australia and Africa, as well as online. What started as a small event two years earlier was suddenly a global phenomenon.
The Stake Drive
With a JumboTron towering over the newly-renovated Ranch, the next installment of the Games kicked off July 10, 2009. Surrounded by bleachers packed with almost 4,000 fans, just more than 150 elite athletes competed in the individual contest, with close to 100 teams competing in the Affiliate Cup. A live DJ, a vendors’ tent village, and a beer garden completed the event.
Given the growth of CrossFit around the world, it seemed fitting that Mikko Salo of Finland arrived quietly in Aromas, but left as the CrossFit Games champion. The stoic Finn’s consistent performance, across eight diverse events of CrossFit movements, earned him both the respect of his peers and a spot atop the podium.
Tanya Wagner, denied a victory in 2008, returned to Aromas to face an international challenge in the form of Annie Thorisdottir, a gifted young athlete from Iceland. This time around, the ebullient schoolteacher from Souderton, Penn., triumphed.
The Affiliate Cup featured almost 100 teams competing in the first separate team competition. After three workouts, the crew from Northwest CrossFit, in Washington state, was at the top of the standings.
The 2010 CrossFit Games: The Home Depot Center
In addition to Regionals, the 2010 season added a new qualifying step: Sectionals. Athletes around the world first competed in smaller Sectional events. The best athletes at Sectionals then moved on to Regionals, the final qualifying step before the Games.
In 2010, the CrossFit Games outgrew the Aromas Ranch that hosted its first three years. The Games moved to the Home Depot Center, a professional sporting venue in Los Angeles that has hosted the X-Games and Major League Soccer events. A couplet of ring muscle-ups and squat snatches dedicated to Amanda Miller kicked off the competition.
Fort Vancouver Wall Climb
A total of 45 men and 41 women participated in the 2010 individual competition. All of them had to qualify in order to enter the competition. After qualifying in the regional level competitions, 68 affiliate teams competed in the 2010 Affiliate Cup. For the first time in CrossFit Games history, the 2010 Games featured male and female Masters competitions. Masters athletes qualified by completing a set of workouts at their local regional competitions.
Graham Holmberg of CrossFit Columbus won the 2010 men’s competition after finishing 19th the year before. Kristan Clever of Valley CrossFit won the women’s competition after a 4th-place 2009 performance. CrossFit Fort Vancouver won the Affiliate Cup Trophy. Brian Curley won the first-ever male Masters competition and Laurie Carver won the female Masters competition.
The 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games: Open and ESPN Coverage
The first big news of the 2011 CrossFit Games season was the announcement of a 10-year title sponsorship deal with Reebok. The new partnership allowed for a dramatic increase in prize money. The winners took home a combined $1 million prize purse, with the male and female individual winners taking home $250,000 each.
The 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games season began with the first ever Open competition. Athletes worldwide competed in six workouts throughout six weeks, posting their scores in real time and online. Anyone could throw their hat in the ring to compete for a position among the fittest athletes in the world. More than 26,000 athletes competed in the Open, making it one of the largest sporting events in history.
The 60 fittest athletes and 30 fittest teams from each region earned invitations to one of 17 Regionals. For the first time, Regional competitors around the world all competed in the same events. Across three days of competition and six events, the fittest men, women, and teams around the world qualified for the season’s culminating event, the CrossFit Games held July 29-31, 2011 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Killer Cage in the Home Depot Center in Carson, California
Surprisingly, the Games began outside of the Home Depot Center. Event 1 took the individual athletes to the Santa Monica Pier for an ocean swim, followed by some beach running and calisthenics. Over the course of 10 events, Rich Froning Jr. and Annie Thorisdottir established themselves as the Fittest on Earth™. After a dramatic final event for the Affiliate Cup, in which the slate was wiped clean and the top six teams battled for the top spot, CrossFit New England prevailed on the team’s side.
2011 witness another landmark evolution for the CrossFit Games; CrossFit and ESPN embarked upon a partnership to spread the sport of fitness to a wider audience than ever before. To begin, ESPN3 covered the 2011 CrossFit Games with live three-hour shows running Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Six weeks later, ESPN2 ran 12 post-production shows covering the entire male and female competition on primetime TV. ESPN2 and ESPN re-aired the shows multiple times throughout the fall and winter, building new interest in the CrossFit Games as the community geared up for the 2012 Open.