Throughout the hotly contested men’s competition at the Central East Regional, spectators kept asking the same question: If both Rich Froning Jr. and Graham Holmberg qualify for the CrossFit Games, then how many others go to Carson, Calif.? Top four? Top five?
The Games Rulebook states, “If a past Champion of the Games takes a qualifying spot in any Region, one additional athlete from that division will be invited to the Games.”
And so Marcus Hendren, who finished in fifth place, qualified for the Games. In a straight-up comparison of Regional performances by all athletes who made the Games, Hendren’s numbers would have given him top spot in several other regions. His 3:53 in Event 7 stands as the best time in any Regional.
“It’s kind of like getting a stamp of approval on your CrossFit career when you make it out of the Central East Regional,” explains Dan Bailey, “because of how good it is, how competitive it is.”
Bailey finished sixth at the two most-recent Games and placed third at the Central East Regional this year.
“The beauty of CrossFit is you never know who’s coming from where, and (at) what event the next person’s gonna make a name for himself,” says Froning.
Froning, of course, came out of relative obscurity to stand on the Games podium every year from 2010 to 2012. The two-time champ will take on Games rookies and veterans alike starting July 26.
Video by Dave Leys.
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Additional reading: The New America by Hilary Achauer, published Aug. 8, 2012.