Since 2007 and over 175 events, the CrossFit Games has had its share of memorable events. But was this year’s The Capitol the most iconic in the history of the Games?
Before we can answer that, let’s look back at some of the most notable events in Games history leading up to this year’s The Capitol.
Sunday’s Workout (2008)
The 2008 CrossFit Games was unlike any other. Instead of a points system, the standings of the 2008 CrossFit Games was based solely on a stopwatch. The athletes’ cumulative time to complete the four events determined the Games winner that year. The final event, 30 squat clean and jerks for time, began with a staggered start based on how many seconds an athlete was ahead.
Chris Spealler entered the final event in 1st place with quite a few OG CrossFitters trailing him – Josh Everett, OPT and Dutch Lowy to name a few. The magic behind this format was Spealler got a head start from the rest of the field followed by 2nd place, then 3rd and so on until the whole field was doing their squat clean and jerks. The first person to finish would have the fastest cumulative time and thus the winner.
And while all eyes were on the names mentioned above, a name no one knew (at the time) destroyed the event and stole 1st place. This would be where Jason Khalipa would become a household name in the growing sport of fitness. And to top off the drama, one of the greatest CrossFit documentaries ever, Every Second Counts, captured every moment.
If you’ve never watched it, put everything down and watch.
The first CrossFit Games event in Carson, California. Until this point, the Ranch was the home of the Games. Amanda, a benchmark in the CrossFit community, was the perfect workout to kick off the new era.
Athletes circled a rig in the middle of the Home Depot Center as they completed a simple couplet of ring muscle-ups and squat snatches. The moment was historic. But now when watching it back, it just shows how far the athletes have come in 12 years.
Killer Kage (2011)
The Killer Kage is one of Rogue Fitness’ wildest structures. Inside the stadium in Carson, Rogue built eight 50-foot monkey bar tracks. If you love black powder-coated metal, this event was for you. Athletes did three rounds of seven 225/155-pound front squats, biked 700 meters on the WattBike (this was the BikeErg before Concept2 created one) and then a 100-foot down-and-back monkey bar traverse.
The monkey bars provided quite the spectacle under the lights in Carson, but Elisabeth Akinwale’s going unbroken on the monkey bars solidified this event as one of the most memorable in Games history. [note: skip to 5:45 in the women’s video below to watch Akinwale]
Burden Run (2013)
During The Capitol’s telecast, you probably heard the Burden Run referenced a few times. That’s because it was eerily similar to this year’s The Capitol event. A long run, the Pig and some odd object carrying/pulling.
The Burden Run started with a 2.1 mile run around the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Athletes then flipped the first version of the Pig, a vision created by Rob Orlando. They then carried a log on their shoulder for 600 yards before dragging a sled into the Track and Soccer Stadium (Carson’s version of North Park).
The event combined endurance with strength and featured one of the coolest new pieces of equipment that had been seen at the Games at that point.
The Ranch Triplet (2016)
This isn’t just one event, but Day 1 of the 2016 CrossFit Games. To celebrate the 10th year of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro surprised the athletes with a plane ticket early in the morning. To their surprise, the athletes arrives at The Ranch in Aromas, California, to compete in three events – Ranch Trail Run, Ranch Deadlift Ladder and the Ranch Mini Chipper.
While viewed separately, the events don’t necessarily stand out. But the fact that Castro took 80 athletes by plane to a different city for one day will never be forgotten.
Marathon Row (2018)
Was this the most exciting event to watch? No. But if you watched Dave Castro reveal the Marathon Row to the athletes, you would know why this was one of the most memorable events in Games history. This is the longest workout in Games history with the fastest person, Lukas Esslinger, finishing in two hours, 43 minutes and 50 seconds.
For the athletes to have biked 7.5 miles, completed 30 muscle-ups for time, got their CrossFit Total AND THEN rowed 42,195 meters to close out Day 1 of the 2018 CrossFit Games is just mind-boggling.
The Standard (2019)
Grace and Isabel have long been CrossFit staples. Thirty clean and jerks for time or 30 snatches for time will leave one the floor. So what about both of those with 30 ring muscle-ups sandwiched in between? This workout was one of Dave Castro’s favorites and the event itself did not disappoint thanks to the one and only Mat Fraser. With Noah Ohlsen still within striking distance to win the 2019 CrossFit Games, Fraser finished the ring muscle-ups behind Ohlsen. Fraser, however, calmly walked to the 135-pound barbell and did five unbroken snatches, reset after moving the barbell forward and did another five unbroken…leaving Ohlsen and the rest of the field behind.
The Capitol (2022)
And that leads us to this year’s top event, The Capitol. If you have ever been to the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, you probably drove through downtown and saw the historic capitol building. And while in North Park, if you get high enough you could even see the top of the capitol building way off in the distance.
With the capitol building miles away, it’s doubtful anyone could have imagined an event finishing on the steps of the iconic building. But that is just what Adrian Bozman did in his first year programming the competition.
In a nod to the Burden Run, the pig kicked off the event, followed by a longer 3.5-mile run. But what made The Capitol the most iconic event in Games history is how the athletes circled the capitol building carrying heavy Jerry Bags and finishing the event by climbing the stairs of the capitol building with the massive Husafell bag.
The event itself would have been one of the coolest ever, but sometimes it takes a bit of luck to make it iconic. In what will be one of the greatest photos of all time from one of the greatest events of all time, Rebecca Fuselier was doing everything to carry the 150-pound Husafell bag up the steps and finish the event. Fans lining the sides of the stairs filled in behind her as she made her way up, step by step.
The Capitol showed how the Madison community and fans have embraced the CrossFit Games since they showed up at the Coliseum in 2017. The event was one for the ages and will be tough to top in the future. But for now, we can all reflect that we were able to watch the most iconic event in CrossFit Games history.