Battle Royale for the Elite Women in London
Written by Brian Friend
There’s no other way to say it, we are in for a heavyweight battle in the elite Female Division for CrossFit Strength in Depth.
A few months ago, before any Sanctionals™ began, there were some up and coming athletes with promise on the women’s side. One of those women, in particular, has made a very loud, very significant, and very impressive statement about her arrival on the scene. Dani Speegle, showed up at the Atlantic Regional last spring after participating on a team at Regionals the year before. She had a respectable 8th place finish, and then, as nearly everyone who doesn’t qualify for the Games typically does, faded out of the CrossFitter fan’s memories for the remainder of the year. Then, when changes were announced and a series of online qualifiers became required for these Sanctioned events, her name kept appearing near, or at the top of, those lists. 3rd place for the Dubai qualifiers, behind Laura Horvath and Jamie Greene, but then, 1st for the Wodapalooza qualifier, 1st for the Mid Atlantic qualifier, and 1st for the Strength in Depth qualifier, where she didn’t just win, but she won every single workout.
It’s been more than just her qualifying performances that have earned her the right to be in the conversation to win in London though. The online qualifiers often don’t feature the top athletes, who sometimes receive invites to the Sanctioned events rather than needing to qualify, but once the field is set and the competition kicks off, she’s continually been in the top heat, pushing past Games veterans in several of the events. She finished 5th in Dubai and backed it up with another 5th at Wodapalooza. In both instances beach/water events held her back to some degree. With the absence of beach events in London’s Docklands (no-one wants to swim in the Thames), keep an eye out for Speegle on the podium come the end of competition.
Seeing as we already mentioned Jamie Greene, we’ll focus on her next. Former winner of the Worldwide Open (in 2016), Greene has been on the podium with a team at the Games, has finished 8th and 11th in her two years of individual competition at the Games, and finished 2nd in Dubai, by just six points, behind the United Kingdom’s very own, Samantha Briggs. Her résumé is obviously excellent and among the best in the world. She won the Meridian Regional last year, and she’s fresh off an impressive victory with team ROMWOD//WIT at Wodapalooza. If she’s able to win at Strength in Depth, however, it could be classed as her best individual accomplishment to date.
Part of the reason that would be so massive for Greene is because Sara Sigmundsdottir is also in this field of women. Sigmundsdottir, after back-to-back 3rd place finishes at the CrossFit Games in 2015 and 2016 is always in any conversation concerning potential Games champions. She’s won her Regional three times, but has not yet been able to leverage that into anything better than those 3rd place finishes at the Games. She’s become a fan favourite, drawing massive cheers everywhere she goes, but last season ended in the most disappointing fashion yet when she was forced to withdraw from the Games mid-competition with a broken rib.
Thankfully, she’s recovered well and been able to get back into the competitive field. Recently she’s said how important it is for her to have that mental confidence back, to know her body is strong and healthy again, and that she can deliver the performances she knows she’s capable of. In Dubai, she was in it with a chance to win entering the final event, and despite finishing 3rd, behind Briggs and Greene, she was only twelve points out of 1st. The following month she was at Wodapalooza, where again she took 3rd place behind two-time fittest woman on earth, Tia-Clair Toomey, and, the fittest woman from the United States, Kari Pearce.
It feels like Sara is doing the right things and moving in the right direction. Both physically and mentally, she seems as prepared for success as we’ve seen her in a long time. She says she’s doing several of these competitions to help her get back into that space of competitive confidence, and not necessarily to win every competition she enters, but it feels like at Strength in Depth, she has a good chance to do both.
- Sara Sigmundsdottir
- Jaime Greene
- Dani Speegle
- Thuri Helgadottir
- Jessica Griffith
- Haley Adams
- Emma McQuaid
- Bjork Odinsdottir
- Jayne Eadie
- Synne Krokstad