Ben Bergeron’s Top 10 Moments from The 2017 CrossFit Games

Ben Bergeron is the Coach of 5 different CrossFit Games Champions (Individual Male and Female, Masters Male and Female, & Team). Find out which moments were the most special to him at the 2017 CrossFit Games.

10. MADISON

“Madison. is. awesome. It feels like a really big small town… or a really small big town. Madison was welcoming to the CrossFit community during the Games. Buildings downtown had huge, life-size cutouts of Games athletes in the windows, restaurants had specialized paleo menus, bars had lists of “clean” drinks—it was a really cool new vibe. Looking forward to at least two more years in Madtown.”

There are lot of moments that stand out from the 2017 @crossfitgames. I’ve had some time to reflect, and want to share some of my favorites. Over the next few days, I’ll post my Top 10 Moments from the 2017 CrossFit Games. _ If you were at the Games or watched them from home, some of these moments will be familiar. But what happens on the competition floor is just part of the story—for all the time we spend preparing, only about 3% of the Games is spent competing. The other 97% happens off the competition floor—in the athlete warm-up area, in workout briefings, recovering, eating, strategizing. These are the moments that stand out most to me, so without further ado… _ #10: Madison _ No discussion of the 2017 Games would be complete without mention of the new host city. Madison. is. awesome. It feels like a really big small town… or a really small big town. _ The first day we were there, we were driving from @crossfitconnex back to our hotel, and got stopped downtown by hundreds of people running across the Capitol with canoes over their heads. It was the Isthmus @paddleandportage, which is apparently an annual lake to land to lake race. Everyone sat in traffic while the portage cleared downtown, but no one seemed to mind; the whole city was totally down with it. _ Madison was just as welcoming to the CrossFit community during the Games. Buildings downtown had huge, life-size cutouts of Games athletes in the windows, restaurants had specialized paleo menus (if you didn’t have the Bibimbap from @grazemadison, you missed out), bars had lists of “clean” drinks—it was a really cool new vibe. Looking forward to at least two more years in Madtown. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFit 📸: @paddleandportage

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9. BROOKE WELLS LEARNING TO RIDE 

“If you grew up riding bikes, you don’t have to think about things like dismounting quickly, when to change gears or pedaling through turns—your body just instinctively does it. Not so for Brooke Wells. Before the Games, Brooke had been on a bike a handful of times, most of which were during Games training this summer. She was uncomfortable physically and mentally on the Cyclocross bike. Not surprisingly, Wednesday’s time trial did not go well for her. 

I don’t care how mentally tough you are—three near-bottom finishes in the first four events of the CrossFit Games is rough. After a year of training harder and smarter than she ever had, it was the last place Brooke expected to find herself going into Saturday. The first two days of competition were the most mentally challenging of her career. But she showed up on Saturday like it was the first day of the Games, competed with the kind of mental fortitude we spent the last year developing, and clawed her way back up the leaderboard.”

Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #9: Brooke _ If you grew up riding bikes, you don’t have to think about things like dismounting quickly, when to change gears or pedaling through turns—your body just instinctively does it. Not so for @brookewellss. Before the Games, Brooke had been on a bike a handful of times, most of which were during Games training this summer. She was uncomfortable physically and mentally on the Cyclocross bike. Not surprisingly, Wednesday’s time trial did not go well for her. _ Afterwards, I rented some bikes and took Brooke to a empty construction site to practice. We practiced popping her front wheel up, getting on and off quickly, and carrying her bike over objects. Her confidence improved, but she still finished the event near the bottom of the pack on Thursday. The next two events went poorly for her as well—after taking 35th in Cyclocross, she finished 33rd and 37th in Amanda .45 and the O-Course. _ I don’t care how mentally tough you are—three near-bottom finishes in the first four events of the CrossFit Games is rough. After a year of training harder and smarter than she ever had, it was the last place Brooke expected to find herself going into Saturday. The first two days of competition were the most mentally challenging of her career. But she showed up on Saturday like it was the first day of the Games, competed with the kind of mental fortitude we spent the last year developing, and clawed her way back up the leaderboard. _ Brooke’s attitude immediately following the award ceremony was one of my favorites moments of the Games. When she got back to the athlete area, I told her it’d be easy to compare last year’s leaderboard (where she finished 6th) with this year’s (where she finished 14th) and conclude she’s less fit or that she didn’t make any progress this year. In CrossFit, as in life, success is rarely linear. She surprised me by shaking her head. “I’m not worried about that AT ALL,” she said. “I know I’m fitter than I was last year. I learned so much this year, I can’t wait for next year.” That's the attitude of a champion. As a coach, I couldn’t ask for more. 2018 is going to be a big year for Brooke Wells.

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8. O-COURSE 

“When the athletes took the field for the Sprint O-Course event, that was the buzz in the stands. “Now were going see who the real athletes are,” was a common sentiment among the spectators and commentators. I think that’s awesome. Raw athleticism is a cool and necessary part of the test. The O-Course brought balance, accuracy, agility, and coordination—the neurological adaptations of the 10 physical skills—that are prerequisites of a complete athlete. Generally, we test those with the snatch. But Games athletes snatch so often that it’s no longer the best test of raw athleticism. 

The O-Course was also visually badass. The size, scope and magnitude of the course was insane. The construction was bulletproof, the obstacles were well thought-out, and it was huge! It was one of the best events to watch because it was a race in the purest sense—get from point A to point B as fast as possible. The king-of-the-mountain style, bracket heats made it exciting for the athletes and the fans.”

Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #8: O-Course _ The Sprint O-Course was one of my favorite Games events of all time. We talk a lot about building the world’s the fittest athletes, and we spend a lot of time in the gym doing it. But if we’re talking about the world’s fittest, the test should encompass a lot more than what someone can do in the gym. You have to be able to apply it to the real world. _ When the athletes took the field for the Sprint O-Course event, that was the buzz in the stands. “Now were going see who the real athletes are,” was a common sentiment among the spectators and commentators. I think that’s awesome. Raw athleticism is a cool and necessary part of the test. The O-Course brought balance, accuracy, agility, and coordination—the neurological adaptations of the 10 physical skills—that are prerequisites of a complete athlete. Generally, we test those with the snatch. But Games athletes snatch so often that it’s no longer the best test of raw athleticism. _ The O-Course was also visually badass. The size, scope and magnitude of the course was insane. The construction was bulletproof, the obstacles were well thought-out, and it was huge! It was one of the best events to watch because it was a race in the purest sense—get from point A to point B as fast as possible. The king-of-the-mountain style, bracket heats made it exciting for the athletes and the fans. _ The best part about the O-Course though, are the implications of it. The @crossfitgames spent a million dollars to build it… then tore down four days later. It’s a phenomenal precedent. They’ll do anything to test the fitness of these guys if they feel its a valid test. Everything is on the table. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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