Semifinal Takeaways: Six Observations After Three Weeks on the Road

June 9, 20238 min read

Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye

Between May 17 and June 5 I was home for about 50 hours. Otherwise, it was airplanes, hotels, and CrossFit Semifinal competition; my favorite time of year. 

While on the road I made some observations that I wanted to document. They are somewhat wide ranging. Enjoy.

1. The Athletes are Amazing

Have to lead with this, because they should be the dominating topic of conversation. At each of the three Semifinals I went to I was able to observe world records on individual events, and the best in the world when it comes to overall performance across the entirety of the Semifinal tests. 

In case you haven’t seen, here are a few performances I would recommend going back to watch: 

North America East

  • Jayson Hopper snatches 305
  • Emma Cary vs. Emma Lawson on test 2
  • Four men go sub 4:00 on test 7 

North America West

  • Justin Medeiros obliterates test 6
  • Vellner vs. Fikowski on test 5
  • Tudor Magda snatches 325
  • Hannah Black Snatches 215; misses 230 behind 


  • Jelle Hoste demolishes test 1 and sets record on test 5
  • Victor Hoffer and Laura Horvath masterclass on test 6
  • Rebecka Vitesson executes test 7 perfectly to secure Games ticket


  • AB Mayhem untouchable on test 2
  • East Nashville PRVN shown dominance with the barbell on test 5
  • Franco’s MisFIts best in the world on test 6

2. The Workouts, Standards, and Expectations Need to Be Known Earlier

Personally I thought this should be the case before I left all the way back on May 17. But after seeing the multitude of instances that occurred (and became problematic) during week one because of the fact that so much information was unknown heading into that week, then comparing it to the fewer problems of that nature in week two, and the even fewer in week three, those sentiments have been affirmed and solidified much more confidently in my brain. 

Assuming this stage of competition remains the same, Semifinal workouts, movement standards, flow, minimum work requirements and anything else that is relevant for athletes and judges to know should be communicated at least a week, and preferably 10 days before the start of the first week of Semifinals. 

3. The Fans Showed UP, but Didn’t Always Stay

Let’s focus on the first part first: attendance at the Semifinals, particularly in North America, was much better than last season. It was great to have full stands and standing room only. It’s never great to have to turn people away, but if tickets are sold out it’s a much better alternative than a sparsely attended arena. 

The thing that caught my attention in particular when it came to the fans was what happened on Saturday evening after the individual finishes tests 4 and 5. The schedule in North America and Europe had teams finishing their competition Saturday night, and as such, were the last ones on the schedule that day. To be blunt about it, a much more substantial percentage of fans left following individual competition in North America than left in Europe. 

That could be for any number of reasons, mostly I’m just observing here with the hopes of asking and answering why in the future. 

4. North America Needs Better Venues Next Year

Both North American Semifinals were held in convention centers. Vacant areas that come with logistical and financial challenges which are burdensome for several entities. In Europe they were able to secure an arena that is built for hosting live events; much better. 

It is true that finding venues like that in populous areas at that time of year is challenging. The people in charge of those decisions should be out there right now (if they haven’t done so already) finding locations not just for next year, but for the next several years. 

5. We Can Do a Better Job Assessing Competitive Fields and Filtering Throughout Stages of the Games Season

Here are a couple numbers to chew on: 

  • 73 women and 23 men have a score of “0” for test 2 on the CrossFit Games leaderboard
  • 181 women and 63 men got “capped” on test 1
  • Omitting Test 1, of the the top 5 scores on each of the remaining six tests, this is the distribution of top performances for men:
NA East13including a clean sweep of test 7
NA West9including three test records (3- Mertens,4- Magda,6- Medeiros)
Europe4including two test records (2- Koski,5- Hoste)
Oceania2Both on test 4 (max snatch)
South America2Both Gui (test 4 and test 6)
  • Omitting Test 1, of the the top 5 scores on each of the remaining six tests, this is the distribution of top performances for women:
NA East14including 5 of 6 test records
Europe9no test records, but three 2nds and three 3rds
NA West5test 4 record and 2nd best on test 7 are only top three finishes
Oceania1Jamie Simmonds third best on test 2
South America1Emily Andrade 5th best on test 6
  • Of the top 5 scores on each of the six team tests, this is the distribution of the top performances: 
NA West122 test records, both 3 and 6 by Franco’s Misfits
NA East104 test records, 3 from PRVN, 1 from AB Mayhem
Europe7Best being 2nd on test 4 by Butcher’s Lab Kriger
Oceania1Mayhem Torian 5th on test 2
South America0

Each of these numbers tell a story. The stories work together to offer understanding to anyone seeking it. We have the ability to assess these fields based on the competitors present. I’m hopeful some conversations about how best to do so will take place beginning after the Games. 

Here’s a fun one though: while the general assumption was that test records would fall week after week…six records that were established in North America East on week one stood up across all three weeks (five of them coming on the women’s side). 

6. The Support For BFriendly Was Noticed and is Greatly Appreciated!

Every person wearing the BFriendly shirts, appreciating the stickers, offering encouraging words, or simply stopping to say hi, or thank you… it all adds up and has made a massive impact on me. 

So to all of you who were a part of that, thank you. 

How do you vote?

48 People voted this article. 48 Upvotes - 0 Downvotes.

Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.


What do you think?

Show comments / Leave a comment

Leave a reply