CARSON, Calif. -- The "Fittest on Earth" have been crowned: Tennessee Tech assistant strength coach Rich Froning is the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games champion. An assistant in Tech's Athletic Performance Center, Froning won the title Sunday, culminating a three-day worldwide competition.
The CrossFit Games are the world’s premier test to find the "Fittest on Earth," a grueling multi-stage journey that culminated in competition at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Froning finished second last year and went into the final three-part event of the competition Sunday with a lead. The crown was his to lose, but Froning never faltered on the way to the top of the podium.
In the final men’s showdown, Froning took a slight lead, but Blair Morrison pulled ahead to finish the 2 reps ahead in the heat. Froning won Event 9 and all but secured his title.
Spencer Hendel got first to the wall balls in Event 10, the last event of the Games. Bridges, the smallest of the 6 men, beat Morrison and Froning off the wall-ball, a movement that favors taller athletes. Perhaps knowing he had the win secured, Froning slowed down, leaving Smith and Bridges to battle it out.
Going into Events 8, 9, and 10, Bridges and Smith were fighting for 2nd and 3rd, a $25,000 difference between the two spots. Smith’s 11th- and 9th-place finishes in Events 9 and 10 put him in too deep a hole to catch up to Bridges, even though he won his heat in 11:24.
Smith started to pull his sled ahead when it hit the rig, and emcee Travis Bagent looked at the judges before he moved the sled away from the obstacle. Smith won Event 10 with a time of 11:24, Bridges in 2nd with 12:09.
Even though Froning finished the final event in 8th place, he won 1st overall by a comfortable 93 points.
After winning the title, Fittest on Earth, Froning said the workout was tremendously challenging. Froning said the sled pull was particularly miserable. “I had no core left, no arms left. And we did a little bit of pulling this weekend,” he said with a laugh.
Froning said he was “trying to grind through it” and heard his friends and family in the stands. “It was pretty awesome. It was surreal.”
For complete results, visit the CrossFit Games scoreboard: http://games.crossfit.com/finals/scoreboard.