Berlin, Germany is six hours ahead of the East Coast and nine hours on the West. The competition begins at 9am local time, meaning that if you are in the United States you will need to be watching in the middle of the night, especially if you want to watch the team competition.

For those waking up early, however, you can still catch some of individual action as it wraps up.

The Europe Regional broke off from the Meridian Regional this year to account for the growth of CrossFit in Europe. This “new” region has given athletes opened up more qualifying spots to athletes who many of us in the States have not heard of (yet).

The ‘dottirs’ are in the Europe Regional and Bjorgvin Gudmundsson headlines the men’s competition. But there are a lot of names who have not qualified to regionals before.

Here is who qualified for the CrossFit Games from last year’s Meridian Regional:

Women
1. Kristin Holte
2. Sam Briggs
3. Annie Thorisdottir
4. Jamie Greene
5. Thuridur Helgadottir

Men
1. Bjorgvin Gudmundsson
2. Jonne Koski
3. Jason Smith
4. Lukas Esslinger
5. Frederik Aegidius

For the women, Jamie Greene is the only qualifier from last year who is not from the new Europe Regional. Greene will be competing out of the Meridian Regional in two weeks. Sam Briggs will also not be competing this year because of an elbow injury.

That means three returning athletes are returning from last year’s top 5. But there is another Games athlete from last year who is back in Europe…Sara Sigmundsdottir. After spending half a year in Cookeville, Tennessee, training with Rich Froning and team, Sigmundsdottir moved back to Iceland in the offseason. Sigmundsdottir dominated the Central Regional last year and finished 4th at the CrossFit Games.

Last year the top 4 was locked up heading into Sunday and Helgadottir battled Emma McQuaid for the final qualifying spot. This year has a similar feel with the top 3 standing out from the field – Annie Thorisdottir, Kristin Holte and Sara Sigmundsdottir.

One name to look out for this year is Laura Horvath. Horvath finished 7th at the Meridian Regional in 2016. This offseason Horvath finished 2nd at the Dubai Fitness Championship behind Annie Thorisdottir.

The Barbell Spin’s Predictions (Women)
1. Annie Thorisdottir
2. Kristin Holte
3. Sara Sigmundsdottir
4. Laura Horvath
5. Thuridur Helgadottir

The men’s competition is Bjorgvin Gudmundsson’s to lose. Only Aegidius is back from the Games this year as the others are from the Meridian Regional. Former Games athletes Adrian Mundwiler and Lukas Hogberg are competing. Mundwiler injured his pec at Regionals last year and had to withdraw. Hogberg finished 6th just two points behind Aegidius for the final qualifying spot.

Outside of those four names the rest of the athletes competing are not well known in the United States. There are plenty of athletes who have competed at Regionals before, but none have posed serious threats to qualifying. This year someone will have to step up.

One of those athletes might be Bartek Lipka. Lipka has competed at Regionals the past four seasons with his best finish in 17th in 2015. Just like Horvath, Lipka finished 2nd at the Dubai Fitness Championship ahead of athletes like Gudmundsson, Travis Mayer and Christian Lucero. If Bartek can perform at the same level, he has the ability to qualify for the Games.

The Barbell Spin’s Predictions (Men)
1. Bjorgvin Gudmundsson
2. Adrian Mundwiler
3. Lukas Hogberg
4. Bartek Lipka
5. Frederik Aegidius

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