Ben Smith has been given the second wild-card spot to the CrossFit Games 2019, in Madison, starting on August 1. The American is a veteran of the sport, having been to every Games since 2009. He has finished on the podium four times, including a first-place finish in 2015, when he was crowned “Fittest Man on Earth”.
CrossFit is a fitness competition. Competitors are not told the events they have to compete in until a matter of days before the competition begins. The potential tests range from 10km runs to single repetition Olympic lifts, like snatches. They also have to be versed in a number of gymnastic movements like handstand walks.
The first wild card was given to obstacle racing superstar Hunter McIntyre. The CrossFit Games announced Smith’s inclusion on Twitter.
“He is an icon of the sport, testament to its values and an enduring representative of the worldwide CrossFit Community,” the tweet read.
In the days leading up to the announcement, Smith posted on Instagram declaring he felt like himself again and would “throw down hard” if a wild-card chance came up. His post was met by support from other top athletes, who called for his inclusion, such as Icelander CrossFitter Katrin Davidsdottir and five-year CrossFit Games athlete Dan Bailey.
Most athletes qualified for the Games via the Open. The Open is a five-week online competition, with weekly workouts. Competitors upload videos of themselves completing the workout. At the end of the five weeks, the top athlete from each country is invited to the Games.
Other athletes qualified through 16 sanction events, such as the Dubai Championship, where three time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser booked his spot in the Games.