The CrossFit Games, arguably the most difficult athletic competition in the world, are more than just running distances and lifting weights.
Every year, the course changes, and the details are kept secret until right before each event, leaving its competitors with no specific way to prepare for what lies ahead.
This year’s champions, Annie Thorisdottir (22) and Rich Froning (25), are no strangers to the Games’ one-of-a-kind competition.
In fact, their 2012 victories set a CrossFit milestone, as they became the first two to claim the Fittest Person on Earth title two years in a row.
Hailing from the remote town of Kopavogur, Iceland, Thorisdottir found her niche in CrossFit when a friend signed her up. She almost didn’t show up due to a math exam.
“I only had two months to train,” Thorisdottir said, “but I won first place. I did not feel good the day after!”
The soreness did not deter Thorisdottir from competing in the 2009 CrossFit Games. She didn't win that year, but she came back to win in 2011 and this year.
Thorisdottir has advanced her CrossFit success into a successful career and is now a coach and co-owner of Reebok CrossFit Reykjavik in Iceland.
Froning, originally from Cookeville, Tenn., has always had a passion for fitness. Before CrossFit, Froning majored in exercise science at Tennessee Technical University and worked as a firefighter in his hometown.
“It’s not just one thing that sets us apart. You can’t just nail down one thing. It’s a combination of mental and physical,” Froning said. “Yes, when you win once, you feel you can do it again. A three-peat is possible but will be difficult.”
Annie added, “I want to three-peat and be the best.”
ESPN is broadcasting the Crossfit Games over the next few weeks, with ESPN2 televising one stage on Thursday night at 10.