The Top 3 “Moving Day” Performances in the History of the CrossFit Games

These workouts were make-or-break moments that top athletes capitalized on.

One of the few, if not the only thing CrossFit and golf have in common, is “Moving Day.” With a typical four-day competition format culminating on a Sunday, both PGA Tournaments and the CrossFit Games call Saturday a “Moving Day.” It’s when competitors make their big pushes on the leaderboard in the hopes of securing a spot at the top heading into the final round — or workouts, in CrossFit’s case.

Competitors see Saturday — the penultimate day of competition — as their chance to move themselves up the leaderboard and set themselves up for a final push on Sunday. While some succeed in moving up the leaderboard, Saturday is also a day where weaknesses can be exposed, the pressure of competition can prove to be insurmountable, and even fan-favorites can lose their standing. The unpredictability of it all is what makes Moving Days so exciting.

I tried to recall the first time I heard the term in CrossFit, and according to studio host Sean Woodland, “it may have been something that the people in the broadcast truck brought over from golf.” Regardless of its origin in CrossFit, Moving Day has always been my favorite day in the Games.

The 2020 CrossFit Games season has been anything but typical. We know that Day 1 of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games Final, taking place at the Ranch in Aromas, will include 2007 events “and then some,” but the remainder of the week is still very much unknown and unknowable.

While we wait to find out whether we will have a Moving Day in 2020, let’s look back at some of the Top Moving Day Performances in the History of the Games.

Rich Froning, 2014: Event 10, Push Pull

While Rich Froning hadn’t officially announced his retirement from individual competition at that point, rumors had been swirling, undoubtedly adding pressure to keep his record intact. Going into the last event of his last Moving Day as an individual competitor, Froning found himself in fifth place, 13 points behind the rookie in first place, Mat Fraser.

[Related: Rich Froning on CrossFit Games Changes and How Long He’ll Compete]

Event 10, the Push Pull, was his chance to move up the leaderboard and get back into podium contention before Sunday. Not only is this one of the most thrilling finishes in the Tennis Stadium, Froning’s second-place finish in the event — less than two seconds behind event winner Josh Bridges — was enough to put him into first-place overall going into Sunday, where he won every event. That helped him claimed his fourth and last championship as an individual.

Tia-Claire Toomey, 2015: Event 10, Triangle Couplet

At the time, Day 2 of the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games was widely considered the hardest single-day of competition CrossFit athletes had been subjected to in the history of the sport. Whether it was the ‘Hero Friday’ programming or the punishing California heat, many of the top contenders struggled to recover from such a grueling day of competition, leading to massive shakeups on the leaderboard.

Rookie Tia-Claire Toomey came into Moving Day with 248 points in 13th place — 92 points out of podium contention — and off of most people’s radar. Her track and field background allowed her to make easy work out of the first two events of the day, finishing 3rd and 4th in Sprint Course 1 & 2, and most importantly, scoring more points than all 12 athletes coming into Day 3 ahead of her.

After a short-lived afternoon stumble, Toomey came into the last event of the day, The Triangle Couplet, in 7th place, competing in Heat 3 out of 4.

The Women’s defending champ, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, had already set a blazing-fast sub-5 time to beat in Heat 2, but Toomey’s consistent performance was enough to win her heat and finish Event 10 in 6th place, ahead of 5 out of the 6 women ahead of her on the leaderboard coming into the event.

She closed out her Moving Day in 4th place, and continued her climb up the leaderboard on Sunday, ultimately taking both second place at the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games and the Rookie of The Year Award.

[Related: How to Watch the 2020 CrossFit Games Finals]

Patrick Vellner, 2018: Event 9, CHAOS

[CrossFit CEO Eric Roza on his first 100 days.]

Patrick Vellner started his quest for the podium at the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games with a bike crash, a 35th place Event 1 finish, and a mere 10 points on the board. Despite starting Day 2 with a massive fall in Event 5, Vellner finished the event in fourth-place before being taken to the hospital for some imaging.

Cleared to compete, Vellner came into Moving Day in third-place overall, but after a disappointing start to the day, with a 21st place finish in Event 8, he found himself once again out of the top three.

But Event 9 gave Vellner the chance to shine in a true test of the unknown and unknowable. Vellner won the event, along with 100 points, and was once again back in contention. He went on to finish the last two events of Moving Day in 5th and 10th which was enough for him to overtake Lukas Hogberg for second place overall going into Sunday. Vellner was able to hold on to that spot through Sunday, which led to his best finish at the Games yet as the 2nd Fittest Man on Earth in 2018.

Did I miss any of your favorite Moving Day moments? Are there any other similarities between CrossFit and golf? Drop me a line in the comments below.

Featured image: CrossFit on YouTube

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.