This has come on the back of a large increase in open participation from the Europe region. Accompanying the increase in participation has been a rapid increase in performance from the athletes being sent from the region.
This year the Meridian region flourished at the games with Bjorgvin Karl Gudmonsson (5th), Jonne Koski (9th) and Jason Smith (10th) finishing in the top 10 and other Meridian athletes Lukas Esslinger (18th) and Frederik Aegidius (24th) both ending strongly.
In 2013 Europe sent 3 athletes to the Games including the legendary Miko Salo for his short-lived last hoorah (Salo getting injured in the lead up to the Games and so was unable to compete).
2014 saw the start of the new era in European fitness. 2014 saw the European Regional sent 3 athletes which are now household names; Bjorgvin Karl Gudmonsson, Jonne Koski, Lucas Hodberg. The switch to the super Regional format including the Africa region and the Middle-east which subsequently saw an increase to 5 spots and we’ve since seen the likes of;
Adrian Munweiler, Lukas Esslinger, Phil Hesketh, Stephen Fawcett, Jason Smith and previous Games athlete Frederik Aegidius (2012, 2013).
So who’s in contention for the new spots in the South Meridian region?
First would be two athletes from this years Games; Jason Smith and Jonne Koski. Jonne Koski a Finnish native who moved to the United Arab Emerites in 2016. Other previous Games athletes have also taken the step to move to the Africa/Middle-east region include; Rasmus Anderson, Phil Hesketh, Adrian Munweiler.
Rasmus Anderson having many years in the sport qualifying in 2016 to the Games from the California and previously in 2014 winning the Affiliate Cup with CrossFit Invictus. To add to this already hotly contested group are perennial Regional athletes Ates Boran & Ruan Duvenage a South Africa native.
Last but not least is surprise stud Elliot Simmonds who made a big splash in the Meridian, winning Event 1 in 2017. Simmonds a previous Team captain of the 2016 Affiliate Cup Bronze Medalists CrossFit Yas was set to go to Madison this past year before a sandbag got in his way. He’s sure to make a strong comeback in 2018 alongside his girlfriend, training partner and the 8th fittest women on earth Jamie Greene, he’s bound to be well prepared.
That there is 8 competitors with a serious shot to take a spot to the Games, and with added possibility of surprise starlets emerging this region is sure to be one of the hottest contested.
Now onto the Nothern European Region.
This too will be a hotly contested affair while maintaining it’s five spots. The three men return to this Region after competing at the Games are Bjorgvin Karl Gudmonsson, Lukas Esslinger and Frederik Aedigius are front runners to claim another berth to the Games in 2018.
Expect the return of Lukas Hodberg, the huge Swede flip-flopped around the Leaderboard during the regionals with the Muscle-up event (Event 5) ultimately being his un-doing finishing in 21st place for the event. The fifth spot is completely up for grabs, Stefano Migliorini has been on the cusp for the past couple years and this might be his year to finally to crack the top 5.
The rain on his parade however may come in the form of two perennial Regional athletes with a combined total of 7 appearances in the form of Viktor Langsved and Alec Harwood.
Alec Harwood being a long shot with inconsistent performances throughout his three years at the regional level but still a strong possibility moving forward. Viktor Langsved imposes the biggest threat, a previous top 10 regional athlete coming off back-to-back 11th place finishes in the Meridian shows consistency across the board and with his 6 foot 1, 90 Kilo frame, the likely reintroduction of the Barbell to next years event should play favourably to him.
All this waiting is making me excited for the 2018 season. Who are your picks to qualify for the Games from these Regions.