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

4. THE DOTTIR SHOWDOWN IN THE FINAL EVENT

“The women’s final was probably the single most epic moment of the 2017 Games. The extraordinary spectacle that was the Fibonacci Final owed a lot to programing—the event was so perfectly crafted that there was virtually no separation between the top women throughout the HSPU and KB deadlifts.
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Annie Thorisdottir got to the lunges first, and had a big 20-foot head start over Katrin and Sara. By the time the three Dottirs emerged as the leaders, every single person in the stadium was on their feet. Then, about three-quarters of the way down the floor, something happened. Annie put her kettbells down. Within seconds, Katrin and Sara had closed the gap, and it was suddenly a three-way Icelandic battle for the lead. If the Alliant Energy Center had been a spaceship, it would have taken off—the crowd was absolutely beside itself. As cool as the Coliseum was, it wasn’t until that moment that it felt as electric as the StubHub tennis venue.
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The three Dottirs finished 1-2-3, but the drama wasn’t over – Kara Webb and Tia-Clair, who were battling for the top of the podium, finished in a dead heat. Kara slid onto the finish mat nineteen hundreds of a second before Tia, and it was 2016 all over again – the points race was so close that no one knew for sure who had won the Games. Super exciting way to close out the 2017 season—loved it.”

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3. KATRIN DAVIDSDOTTIR’S FAVOURITE GAMES

There was so much I wanted to debrief with Katrin after the Games, but I had planned to wait until we at least got back to the hotel, maybe even until the next morning. The competition had literally just ended—the results still felt emotional. But when Katrin returned from the awards ceremony, she wasn’t down. She wasn’t emotional. I’m not sure what I expected, but Kat was as clear-eyed as a raptor. We dove into the weekend in the car on the drive back, and we ended up pulling over into a parking lot so that we could go through the 10 pages of notes I had taken throughout the week. We stayed there for over an hour, just talking and thinking. We were still debriefing when we got back to the hotel, so we talked for another hour back at the Marriott.

One of my favorite moments—of the Games but also of this year—was Katrin telling me that this was her favorite CrossFit Games ever. It says a lot about who she’s become as a person in the three years we’ve been working together. In a lot of ways, the 2017 Games was the 2014 Meridian Regional all over again. Both seasons exposed big holes in our game, and ended well short of the results we wanted. The difference was her response. In 2014, Kat felt as though her life was over; not making the Games that year was a tragedy to her. In 2017, after taking 5th as the two-time defending champion, she recognized the opportunity to improve and walked away with more fire and motivation to make 2018 her best year yet. 

You win or you learn, and we learned more than we ever have. Katrin Davidsdottir will be back.

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2. MAT FRASER’S FINAL

“There wasn’t a lot of uncertainty around the men’s final. With one event remaining, Mat Fraser had established a 200 point lead. Still, rules are rules. He couldn’t win the title—or even stand on the podium—unless he completed the minimum work requirement of two rounds of HSPU and KB Deadlifts. So that became our sole focus. Do the work. Leave nothing to chance.

Mat takes this to heart. The clock starts, and he’s being almost comically conservative—he’s breaking everything up in tiny sets and taking his time adjusting his belt. He has all the urgency of someone window shopping on a Sunday afternoon. Before Mat went out onto the floor, I told him to soak it all up. Make some memories. You’ve earned this. Enjoy it. And as he locks out his last set of deadlifts, you can see him doing it. A smile spreads across his face. He doesn’t advance to the KB lunges, not right away. He just stands there for a few seconds, grinning. He looks up at the crowd to his right, then scans left, soaking it all in.

But this is Mat Fraser, and technically, the event isn’t over yet. Still smiling, he gets his kettlebells overhead and completes the 89-foot lunge to the finish unbroken. When he steps on the finish mat, he has repeated as the Fittest Man on Earth, with the most dominant performance of all time. As Mat would say, #HWPO.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYJzoXJlp2C/?hl=en&taken-by=benbergeron

1. COLE SAGER WINS THE SPIRIT OF THE GAMES AWARD

When the awards ceremony started, I wasn’t in the Coliseum. I was back in the athlete warm-up area, which was almost completely deserted except for a handful of volunteers. I was sitting in the area that had been our makeshift camp all week, a quiet corner at the end of the rig. The TV near the front of the room was broadcasting the awards, but the audio was so low that I couldn’t hear any of it. Fine by me—I wasn’t really paying attention. The Games had just ended, and I was much more interested in reflecting on the week.

The next time I looked up, Nicole Carroll was on screen. That could only mean one thing, and it did interest me. I walked over to the TV and turned the volume up. Nicole, of course, is the presenter of the Spirit of the Games award. I love this award. It’s what our sport was founded on, that adaptation between the ears. CrossFit isn’t just about making people fitter. It’s about making them better. If everyone acted the way people act inside of a CrossFit gym, the world would be better.
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I listened as Nicole explained how the CrossFit Games selects the recipient of the Spirit of the Games award. For some reason, I wasn’t even thinking of who it might be. Then she announced Cole Sager and I smiled. Of course it’s Cole. As soon as she said it, it seemed like the most obvious thing in the world.

Cole winning Spirit of the Games was my favorite moment of the 2017 Games, for so many reasons. I can’t think of a more deserving person for that award. It’s easy to say all the right things. A lot of people talk about integrity. A lot of people would say that they act with other people’s best interests at heart. Very few people live, breathe and personify those values the way Cole does. It’s one of the main reasons he’s on our team. Character is at the heart of what we’re about—it’s the way my team approaches training. Better people make better athletes, and Cole Sager is the best of us.

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More on the 2017 CrossFit Games:

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