By Dan Straub
Week 1: May 20-22
Syndicate Crown: Knoxville: Tennessee.
Will Jayson Hopper improve on his 2021 season (he finished 19th at the Games last year) to challenge Justin Medeiros for a podium spot at this year’s Syndicate Crown? Or, are we just as likely to see the OG’s, Ben Smith and Scott Panchik, make a run at it? Hopper finished 19th in this year’s Quarterfinals, however he got 1st last year at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Semifinal. When I see all this, I want to believe he was peaking too early. With some adjustments to his training, along with overall improvements in the skills of CrossFit, I’m excited to see him compete against the fittest man from 2021 in live completion.
On the other side, we have the returning 5th fittest female in Haley Adams, competing with the likes of Alexis Raptis (finished 2nd in this year’s Quarterfinals for North America), Arielle Loewen, and Kristi Eramo O’Connell.
CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Looking across the pond, we have last year’s 4th fittest man, affectionately known as BKG, preparing to yet again dominate his continent. Last year he placed 1st in the Quarterfinals, and I would expect to see a similar thing play out this weekend.
More compelling stories will play out on the female side for the Lowlands Throwdown, which features the only three females to have ever been on Sevan’s show. Gabriela Migala (6th place finish at 2021 Games), finished 1st this year in the European Quarterfinals. If you want to see more of her story, check out her YouTube documentary, All Gas No Brakes. Sara Sigmundsdottir, who finished 3rd place in this year’s Quarterfinals for Europe, is coming off an ACL injury last season. Seeing that she had difficulty competing at Wodapalooza, makes me think she just might need more time to fully recover. If she is able to secure a trip to the Games, she will at least be given three more months to heal. And speaking of healing, Sevan’s ego has mended nicely since his last conversation with Laura Horvath (2nd place finish at 2021 Games). Laura took 9th place in Europe for Quarterfinals this year, and we are excited to see how she will do in 2022.
Torian Pro: Brisbane, Australia.
After finishing 26th in the 2021 Games, it will be interesting to see how Ellie Turner does against a few of the sport’s biggest names, Tia and Kara, in a live competition.
As for the men’s division, we need to see more Ricky Garard. How has he held up during his suspension? Few stories are as compelling as what we hope to see in August, against a wildly different field of competition.