Last week saw the culmination of the West Region. 7-time CrossFit Games individual competitor Margaux Alvarez and Noah Palicia, who scored a hat trick of defenses on Mount Olympus, earned their keep to represent the West Region as Titans in the Titan Games Championships.
This week kicked off the search for the best of the best in the East Region. As was the case with the Central and West Regions, host Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson handpicked world class athletes to defend Mount Olympus as Titans against the challengers who seek to replace them. The starting Titans of the East were:
- 5-time UFC welterweight champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley
- Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Hannah Teter
The men’s division pitted New Jersey disc jockey Kareem “DJ Reem” Brinson against high school teacher and mullet connoisseur Will “Country Strong” Sutton.
Competing in the women’s division were professional monster truck driver Cynthia Gauthier of Quebec, Canada and First Arrmy Lieutenant and registered nurse Haley Johnson.
Editor’s note: Dwayne Johnson will be referred to as “The Rock” in this article to avoid confusion.
The first athlete in each division to secure two event wins earned a chance to compete on Mount Olympus.
Chain Linked — Women’s Division
Chain Linked required both athletes to traverse four sheets of 10-foot tall chain link fence suspended in the air to reach a platform. From there, they have to turn a crank to close the gap between themselves and two more sheets of chain link fence so they can climb across to reach the Victory Chain. First athlete to pull the Victory Chain wins.
In was a neck-and-neck race through the first section with Johnson moving out front at the platform.
Johnson’s hesitance on the leap to the fifth fence opened the door for Gauthier to take a small lead. However, Johnson’s swiftness on the fence caught her back up and ultimately enabled her to pull the victory chain first.
- Johnson — 1
- Gauthier — 0
Nuts & Bolts — Men’s Division
Each athlete is assigned a wall with long pegs that are weighed down with large plates for a combined weight of 2,000lb. Competitors race to spin plates off their respective wall so they can pull it down using rope. The first athlete to bring down their wall and pull the Victory Chain wins.
Brinson had the height advantage heading into the event, but Sutton brought a game plan. After both men cleared their top row of plates, Sutton made what might have been the boldest move in this event of the season: he went to pull the wall with the entire bottom wall still loaded with approximately 1,000lb.
The weight distribution makes the bottom wall of plates the more significant weight during the pull as the rope is tied to the top of the wall. As the wall tips back, the weight on the bottom of the wall poses a lot of resistance.
Brinson stayed the coarse and kept working on the bottom row of weights. A move that paid off as Sutton was unable to get the wall to budge at all during his pull attempt. Brinson’s patience doled out the massive dividend of a first event win.
- Brinson — 1
- Sutton — 0
Kick Out — Women’s Division
On a large vertical panel, five gigantic pistons poke through both sides. Each athlete must grab onto the beam atop the panel and kick their two pistons through to the opposing side before going after the center golden piston. Whomever kicks out the golden piston first wins.
As was the case in the first event, Johnson was able to break ahead of Gauthier and kicked out both of her pistons with lightning speed.
Gauthier’s technique seemed to be her downfall as she slammed the top edge of her second piston as opposed to the center, which had proved immensely effective for Johnson.
Johnson made quick work in what may have been the fastest time ever in the event. Even The Rock made note of Johnson’s speed:
“This might set a record!”
- Johnson — Advanced
- Gauthier — Eliminated
Lunar Impact — Men’s Division
Both athletes race up a 25-foot ladder to opposite ends of a narrow ledge. They then run along the edge to the Sensor Wall. The winner is whomever able to push the wall all the way to the opponent’s end and knock them off the ledge.
Brinson slipped on the first rung of his ladder heading up the platform and that was all she wrote. Sutton powered up his ladder, darted to the Sensor Wall, and plowed it deep into Brinson’s territory.
By the time the New Jersey native made his way to the wall, the momentum built by the high school teacher was too much to be stopped.
Sutton dominated this event in just 17 seconds and sent Brinson flying off the ledge to tie the score at one event each.
- Brinson — 1
- Sutton — 1
Although it didn’t pay off in the first event, Sutton decided to keep maintain his strategy and voiced as much in the post event interview:
“All gas, no breaks!”
Herculean Pull — Men’s Division
Sticking out of a giant triangular pillar are five long poles — four silver and one gold. Each competitor has to pull out two silver poles before attempting to pull out the gold pole. First athlete to pull out the gold pole wins.
Both men ripped out their 100lb silver poles with relative ease, the edge going to the longer limbed Brinson.
Brinson’s blunder from Lunar Impact reared its head again as he slipped going for the gold pole which cost him the short lead he’d built. Sutton attempted to leverage his stockier frame and leg press the pole towards his side.
As Brinson tried to maneuver into a defensive position to stunt his opponent’s momentum, a huge pull by Sutton threw off Brinson’s grip and dropped him to the floor. A few more short bursts from the Tennessee school teacher and Brinson was handed a ticket home.
- Sutton — Advanced
- Brinson — Eliminated
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The course on Mount Olympus consists of ten obstacles:
- Starting Gates — weaving over and under thick triangular hurdles.
- Box Flip — flipping a humungous box three times.
- Iron Ascent — using only their hands, athletes pull themselves up using a lever system.
- Log Lift — hauling a large log up a long flight of stairs. Note: entirely different from a strongman log lift.
- Sky Bridge — lifting two 120lb weights on a gear that is then spun to lower a bridge.
- Crank Down — turning a heavy crank to lower a pillar that is then climbed.
- Cage Crawl — a series of narrow crawl spaces built atop each other that must be crawled through.
- Drop Zone — a mounting series of large panels that hinge when the athlete places their weight at the edge.
- Ball & Chain — an spherical stone is dragged via chain across the arena.
- Titan Tomb — competitors smash a stone block to retrieve the Titan Relic (a metal relic shaped into The Titan Games logo).
Haley Johnson vs. Hannah Teter
Out of the Starting Gates, it looked like it would be Teter’s event to lose as she had the superior agility to Johnson. However, it turned around almost immediately when the Olympian struggled to flip the box at the Box Flip.
Johnson took advantage of Teter’s delay by cruising through the Iron Ascent and up to the Log Lift. A clunky path for the log on Johnson’s side gave some wiggle room to Teter to make up some time, but again it was the strength based obstacles slowing Teter down.
A full obstacle ahead, the registered army nurse made her way through the Cage Crawl, hustled down the Drop Zone, and jogged to the Ball & Chain.
Teter was unable to make any headway on the strength obstacles, of which the Ball & Chain was the most punishing. Ultimately, her reign as a Titan was short as Johnson ascended to the top.
Haley Johnson is the new Titan of the East Region and will return next week to defend her spot.
Will Sutton vs. Tyron Woodley
Both men brought a blistering pace to the Starting Gates and the sheer force from Sutton gave him the lead through the Log Lift.
At the Sky Bridge, Sutton furthered his lead as Woodley appeared winded hauling off the gears. The Rock exclaimed his surprise with Sutton’s performance:
“Will Sutton is one of the most deceiving athletes I’ve ever met in my entire life. His strength, his speed is incredible for a guy who showed up with a mullet.”
The outcome of the course matched up with The Rock’s sentiment. In a complete blowout, Sutton breezed past the UFC fighter and assumed the title as new Titan of the East.
Both Teter and Woodley will return in the East Region Finals as competitors for a chance to reclaim their titles.
Featured image from Will Sutton’s Instagram page: @coachdubsutton