Thursday, 22 May 2014

Crossfit: Big Love for Sam Briggs

Looking for a super hero? Good news! Your search is over.

Britian's own Samantha Briggs, reigning Crossfit Games Champion, whose performances in the Open (qualifying) stage had her ranked number 1 worldwide.

She arrived at last weekend's Europe Regional event needing to be in the top 3 by the time the 7th and final event was over. A formality, surely.

Event 2. An event that had destroyed the chances of another favourite, Stacie Tovar, in the North Central (USA) Regional. Samantha finishes in a disastrous 26th place.

She's way down in the overall classification, hopes of qualification dashed.

On her Instagram page she admits it's not been the best start to my Regionals, before defiantly adding, I'm no quitter... I'll be there tomorrow to fight to the end!!!

What followed was, without question, the best bit of sport - any sport - I have had the privilege to witness this year. Event 3. She wins. Event 4. Second.

She's climbing up the classifications.

Event 5. Run to a rope. Climb up it without using your legs. Run back to your (sizeable and weighty) marker. Move it back, away from the rope. Run back to the rope. Climb again. Back to marker. Move it further away from the rope again. Keep repeating until the last rope climb, then run back again and carry your marker over the finish line.

Sam is possessed. And by halfway the rest of the field - the other nine top-ranked Crossfitters in Europe - are trailing in her wake. While they get more ragged with each rope climb, Sam seems to actually climb it faster and faster as the event progresses.

"She's amazing!" exclaims my wife, who sat down to watch a bit of the live stream when the men were on, but has stayed to watch, and been impressed by, the women in the previous heats. Nobody has impressed her like Sam though. "Oh my God, she's amazing!" she says again. And she keeps saying it until well after Sam and her marker have crossed the finish line and we're both standing up and clapping.

Sam's finished over thirty seconds ahead of the next competitor, Sweden's Caroline Fryklund, and over a minute ahead of previous Games winner Annie Thorisdottir, who came fourth in the event and was the eventual top European qualifier.

But in fact it was what Samantha Briggs did after she had finished, when she and Annie saw that Katrin Thorisdottir (Annie's sister) was struggling to finish the event that epitomised not only her heroism, but also the camaraderie of the sport. Oh, and it also had the wife in tears (and yes, ok, I'll admit I was fighting them back too).

[I] Have a pic of Sam Briggs being a motivational m’fucker. She and Annie Thorisdottir were so good with Katrin Davidsdottir when she couldn’t finish event 5. What with the crowd being so supportive and everything seriously their heat was just heartwarming to watch, and that’s cheesy and I know it. And I love it.
Glaswegian crossfitter Harriet, aka propositionh

Sam Briggs absolutely CRUSHED event 5 today at the European Regional and then it seemed that Katrin Davidsdottir wanted to quit in the 8th round, even sitting down. Sam, as a true champion and in an unbelievable show of sportsmanship, actually picked up Katrin and tried to coach her through the work. This is CrossFit. This, even with all the bullshit that goes on in the periphery is what makes it all worthwhile.
Floridian (male) crossfitter That Mountain

Can you FEEL the love yet?

So, in events 3, 4 and 5 Sam has won, come second, and won. Sunday. Event 6. She wins again! One more event to go, and if anybody can, Samantha Briggs can...

She finishes 8th in the last event. Overall, she has climbed back up to 4th, but, it's not quite enough. She's outside the top 3. She won't be defending her title at the Games.

Well I gave it everything I had but unfortunately it just fell short! Obviously not happy to finish 4th but considering I had to fight back from a 26th place I'm proud of how I performed! Now to put my feet up, drink some alcoholic berveraves [that's how she spelt it] and cheer on Central East!!! Thank you to everyone for their support it's not the last they've seen of me I'll be back next year even more hungrier than ever!!!
from her Instagram, bicepslikebriggs

And all over the world, fans have been on the forums, on the Crossfit website, on their personal blogs, all saying similar things, all showing their love. They're saying that if, as is possible, wildcards are going to be awarded, Samantha Briggs had better be getting one, because the Games without the Queen is unthinkable, and any winner of the Games who hasn't beaten her will be a champion in name only.

Meanwhile, at home, my wife confesses to me what has been obvious since about 4.30 on Saturday afternoon - she has a raging girl crush on Samantha. She's talking about her on the phone to her friends, her cousin, her sister-in-law, and even her parents, whether they want to hear about her or not. "She's amazing!" she keeps saying.

Indeed she is.

The weekend's events hit me with a bang this morning & I just wanted to stay in bed all day... I gave myself two options: 1) sit and cry over something I cannot change, 2) go to the gym and do what I do best... I chose to TRAIN.

On a scale of 1 (which could be something like "Crossfit? Whatever!") to 10 "I am totally and utterly in awe of this woman, this warrior, this super-human super-hero champion", I'm at about 28. The wife is at about 635, and still rising.

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