Ben Bergeron’s Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games

Ben Bergeron has wrapped up his top 10 moments from the 2017 CrossFit Games. Bergeron shared his list post by post on Instagram recently.

His list gives an interesting look at how Bergeron views the Games as a coach. Here are his top 10 moments…


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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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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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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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #7: Morning Routine _ Some of the best moments of the Games were the quiet ones. Every morning, @katrintanja and I had the same routine. I’d wake up and head to her room. She was usually in some state of getting ready, so I’d grab her bags and take them downstairs to the valet, then come back up and hang out until she was ready. After that, we’d walk across the street for breakfast at Gooseberry. We ordered the same thing every morning: omelets with greens (Katrin also got oatmeal). After breakfast, we walked back to the hotel, got the car, and drove to the venue. _ Our morning routine took about 45-60 minutes. In that time, we probably had a total of 8-10 minutes of conversation. Not because we were in bad moods or we were tired or because it was early or because there was nothing to talk about. We’ve just grown into a place where we’re completely comfortable in silence. It’s a sign of profound friendship, I think, when you don’t need to fill the silence with empty chatter; when the quiet feels just as warm as a deep conversation. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments from the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #6: Heavy 17.5 _ Another favorite event. It was the first time the @crossfitgames had retested an Open workout at the Games, and the heavier barbell was a nice touch. Back in the athlete area, I told @katrintanja that Heavy 17.5 for her was going to feel like regular 17.5 felt for me. _ After the announcement, I jogged over to the coliseum (there was practically no cell service in the athlete area) to rewatch Mat’s 17.5 video on YouTube. His splits were insane; he averaged :37 per round back in March. Then he took the floor for Heavy 17.5 and averaged :49 seconds a round. With an extra 30# on the barbell, @mathewfras went only :12 slower per round. Animal. _ Heavy 17.5 was another visual masterstroke. With 100 barbells (!!) on the floor and the athletes advancing through 10 stations, it was easy and exciting to watch the race unfold. Well played. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #5: 2223 Intervals _ I thought this event was a great addition to the @crossfitgames test this year. The interval style, work/rest format had never been tested at the Games before. And if you’re trying to find the fittest, it’s an appropriate test that fit nicely within the programming—who can put the pedal down, recover and recoup? The work/rest format was very different than say, doing 4 rounds of the same workout for time. _ Visually, 2223 was unique and exciting. Like a prize fight, the athletes would come out guns blazing for 2 furious minutes before slowly making their way back to their “corners.” With vacant barbells marking each athlete’s placement along the floor, it gave the crowd a chance to reflect on the previous round while anticipating the next. Loved it. _ It might have been a novel format for the Games, but for our team it was “Tuesday.” Literally—for the last year or so, @competitorstraining has included a max effort interval piece once a week, usually on Tuesdays. 2223 Intervals was remarkably similar to our usual format. We mix up the time domains, but it’s always some kind of heart rate-spiking buy-in to max effort work, followed by a short rest. So when Dave announced this workout, I was confident our athletes would do well and they didn’t disappoint—@mathewfras and @katrintanja won the event. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #4: Dottir Showdown / Women’s Final _ 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. _ @anniethorisdottir got to the lunges first, and had a big 20-foot headstart over @katrintanja and @sarasigmunds. 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. _ The three Dottirs finished 1-2-3, but the drama wasn’t over—@karawebb1 and @tiaclair1, 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. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #3: Katrin’s Favorite 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 @crossfitgames 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. @katrintanja will be back. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #2: Mat’s Final _ There wasn’t a lot of uncertainty around the men’s final. With one event remaining, @mathewfras 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. _ #GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain #CrossFitGames

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Top 10 Moments of the 2017 CrossFit Games _ #1: Cole Wins Spirit of the Games _
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. _ I listened as Nicole explained how the @crossfitgames 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 @colesager35, 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. _
#GamesTop10 #BuiltByBergeron #CompTrain

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