CrossFit Games 2019: Noah Ohlsen steals the lead and other talking points from day two

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Noah Ohlsen stole the show on day two of the Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin.

The American clinched his first event win at the Games and narrowly edged out three-times defending champion Mat Fraser for the overall lead.

Here’s a look at the key talking points from the Alliant Energy Center.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS STILL IN CONTENTION

A mixed day for the champions but both are very much still in contention.

Having won the first two events on Thursday, Fraser could only manage to cross the line in 17th and 20th in the Ruck and Sprint Couplet respectively.

He made an uncharacteristic mistake in the Ruck workout, dropping one of the bags and being penalised 60 seconds in the process.

In the afternoon session, he pushed for victory on Mary, matching Ohlsen for large spells of the workout but falling behind by just two reps.

The 29-year-old may not be in the leader’s jersey going into day three but there is still plenty more action to come over the next two days. He is right where he needs to be as he chases a fourth Games title.

Elsewhere, despite a hiccup in the Sprint Couplet, Tia-Clair Toomey retains her leader’s jersey, holding a 12-point lead over American Kari Pearce going into day three.

In her three events on Friday, the Australian finished 2nd, 12th and 4th respectively. Most people expected her to be further ahead at the halfway point, but the closeness of competition is down to the other girls stepping up and rising to the challenge.

Still, Toomey is in a sweet spot and will be relishing whatever the officials throw at the field for Saturday.

OHLSEN RISES TO OCCASION

Sevens years ago Ohlsen was a volunteer at the South East Regionals, and here he is all these years on, securing a first event win and finishing the day as overall leader.

The American started the morning in impressive fashion, finishing 24th in the Ruck and then snatching second behind Matt McLeod in the Sprint Couplet – a combination of a 172 foot sled push, 18 bar muscle-ups and then a 172 foot sled push back to the line in under six minutes.

In the afternoon session, he led from start to finish in Mary – a gruelling amrap of five hand stand push-ups, ten single leg squats and 15 pull-ups in under 20 minutes – producing 667 reps and making the difficult look easy.

He kept his transitions tight, going straight from the wall to the pistols and back to the pull-up bar. And what was stunning about his triumph was how he pushed hard and maintained the pace with the ferocious Fraser breathing down his neck.

Ohlsen’s best ever finish at the Games was fourth back in 2017, could the 28-year-old go better this year?

BIG NAMES FADE AWAY

At the start of the day we had 50 athletes in men’s and women’s categories and, after the three workouts on Friday, were now down to just 20 competitors each.

Of those who missed the cut, the notable names on the men’s side are Brent Fikowski and Ben Smith.

Fikowski, in particular, was being tipped for a podium finish this week but struggled, falling off the pace with 13th, 27th and 28th place finishes on day three.

The 28-year-old, a former professional volleyball player, clocked the third worst time in Mary and that cost him valuable points. Gracious in defeat after hearing of his elimination, Fikowski will no doubt be back better in 2020.

Smith, meanwhile, started the day in 10th but plummeted down the leaderboard and finished nine places outside of the cut. His inability to make it through was not down to a lack of fitness or talent but he just hasn’t been able to train properly in time since his knee injury.

He should be proud, nevertheless, and will be eager to return for a tilt at a second Games title.

On the women’s side, Sara Sigmundsdottir did scrape through Friday’s cut but, based on her form this week, doesn’t look like she could force her way beyond Saturday’s final elimination.

Whether it’s another off-day or just a lack of confidence, the Iceland native has been devoid of the same firepower of previous years. It’s hard to believe really with many believing she could give Toomey a run for her money this weekend.

Special mention…

Pearse was immense in the final workout of the day, producing 695 reps – 20 more than her next finisher – and winning her first-ever event. It was criminal how easy she made Mary look and, as result of her prowess, sits second in the overall standings behind Toomey going into day three.

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