Rich Froning: The Fittest Man on Earth

Watching Rich Froning dominate the Central East Regional this weekend has made me think: “is this pattern ever going to end?” Rich finished 1st at the Central East Regional this year (3rd year in a row) with 4 1st place finishes and 3 event records worldwide. Comparably against all athletes, Rich sits in 1st worldwide, the same position that he finished the Open. Untitled Rich Froning burst onto the CrossFit scene back in 2009, winning his first spot at a Regional competition in 2010, which he won. This winning streak continued through to the Games until the last event when he lost out to Graham Holmberg due to his inability to climb a rope. Rich quickly put that behind him and went on to win the Games in 2011, and 2012 as well, being the only athlete ever, to win the CrossFit Games twice. This means that since 2011, Rich has won 3 regional competitions, 2 opens, and 2 games competitions worldwide. This is incredible domination over a sport that includes so many different aspects of fitness. Previous competitions have included triathlons, obstacle courses, sledgehammer work, and of course benchmark CrossFit workouts, and Rich Froning has come out on top overall every time. The key to this dominance is consistency. In 2012 Rich won 3 events out of 15 at the CrossFit Games over what turned out to be a 5 day long competition. His worst finish was 18th (in the first part of the triathlon and in the sprint) but apart from those, he finished in the top 10 for 11 events (most of them being 5th, 4th or 3rd). In CrossFit it is key to be somewhat of a ‘Jack of all trades’, specialising in nothing but being pretty good at everything. This is a balance that Rich Froning has managed to achieve perfectly, seeing as he has sat at the top of the sport since 2011. He boasts an Olympic total of 310kg (140 snatch and 170 clean and jerk) and still managed to post an event record in the 30-burpee muscle up event with a time of 4:10.8, beating Kenneth Leverich by a second. Rich-Snatch-Games2012 Overall, across all Regional Competitions, Froning finished in 1st, with 2010 champ Jason Khalipa in 2nd, and Games veteran Scott Panchik (also Central East) finishing 3rd. It’s worth noting that in the top 10 men overall, 7 are from the Central East Regional, but only 5 made it through to the Games (as Froning and Holmberg were in the top 5 and are previous Games champions). I would be gutted to be Nick Fory finishing 8th worldwide but missing out on the Games because I placed 6th in my Regional competition. See link for details: Comparing athletes across Regional competitions is an interesting analysis to make, but not always a fair one. There are 4 weekends of Regional competitions, but the workouts are released in advance, meaning that some athletes have longer to prepare for the same workouts. Despite this factor, Froning claims to have not done any of the workouts in preparation (apart from Benchmark Girl Jackie) making his performance even more spectacular. Other athletes in the mix of the top 10 are Ben Smith (Mid Atlantic) and Josh Bridges (So Cal), the bearded warrior Lucas Parker (Can. West) finished 11th overall. The Games competition in July has a slightly different structure to Regionals: the workouts are not released in advance, and so athletes will have little time to prepare for what is ahead, which if previous years are to go by, could be anything. It’ll be interesting to see if another athlete is going to come along and steal Rich Froning’s crown, because with this incredible show of dominance, it is looking like a “Threepeat” could be on the cards. Jonny Landels, CF-L1