Feast your eyes on some of the strongest men in the nation (hello, biceps and abs!) who’ll go head-to-head to see who has the most muscle
Who's Your Fave Fittest Man on Earth?
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The guys at the gym trying to out-bench-press each other have nothing on these men who will compete at this year’s CrossFit Games. Check them out, then let us know who is your favorite by clicking the “Like” button under his photo!
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The Fittest Man on Earth for three consecutive years, Rich Froning is still the man to beat. Introduced to CrossFit by one of his professors in college, he’s gone from practicing in his barn in Tennessee to owning his own box, CrossFit Mayhem. Froning placed first at regionals in the Central East, but there’s one thing he doesn’t enjoy about his sport of choice. “Anything running, long distance running—I’m not too keen on it. I can do it, it's just not my favorite thing,” he told MensFitness.com.
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If anyone’s going to give Rich Froning a run for his title, it’s Jason Khalipa, who came in second last year. He’s come a long way since 2008 when he began competing in CrossfFit, even setting a world record for time at the 2013 Northern California Regionals for the “Jackie” workout of the day. This after setting a world record the previous year for another event at the same regionals. Though the California beast and owner of CrossFit NorCal didn’t set any records at this year’s regionals, maybe he’s waiting for the big show.
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Not making a big deal about the Open competition may have been where Ben Smith went right. The Virginia-born athlete ended up placing first and is currently holding the same first place spot after the Mid-Atlantic regionals. He’s hungry to better his third-place finish at last year’s Games, training hard with his younger brothers, Alec and Adam. “Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do—I wouldn’t be able to compete,” Smith told CrossFit. “They help me throughout my entire life with everything.
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A former college football safety and corner, Neal Maddox has always been competitive. He tried his first WOD, “Linda,” in 2009 and was immediately hooked. After participating in that year’s Games as a judge, he’s competed every year since with a best finish of ninth in 2013. The 36-year-old is back again this year to try to take the top spot. “I feel that life is a big giant game that we play to win,” Maddox told CrossFit. “You have different levels that you have to go through, and you have to find ways through these levels to be able to conquer them.”
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Having just missed the podium two years in a row, 26-year-old Scott Panchik is ready to get revenge. “I came in fourth place last year—one spot away from the podium. This year, I held that title. But I am hungry still,” he told BoxLifeMagazine.com, going on to say that he wants to win it all. His secret to total domination? He channels his inner Wolverine.
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Kyle Kasperbauer was invited to try a “new way of working out” with a friend in college and has been hooked on CrossFit ever since. The 32-year-old was an all-American running back for the University of Nebraska and was part of the gold-medal team at the 2007 IFAF World Championship (a.k.a. the “World Cup” of American football). He hopes to be back on the podium (he finished third in 2012) after not even making the top 10 last year, and he looks pretty good since he’s in first for the North Central regionals.
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A serious knee injury in 2012 could have been the end of Josh Bridges’s CrossFit career. But after having reconstructive surgery, he competed in last year’s Games, coming home a respectable seventh. This year he hopes to return to the top (he finished second in 2011) by taking each WOD in stride. “I never try to over-analyze workouts,” he told BoxLifeMagazine.com. “At the end of the day, I’m just working out. At the end of a workout I might tell myself I could have done something faster, something better, and I’ll try that when if I do another similar workout, but I just like to have fun with it.”
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After jumping around from lacrosse in high school to water polo in college, Noah Ohlsen claims that when he discovered CrossFit three years ago, he found his sport. His favorite workout buddy? His dog Maximus. “Maximus hangs at the gym with me almost every day. We're working on his box jumps, and he loves swimming,” the first place finisher in the South East Regionals told CrossFit.
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Tommy Hackenbruck was the guy on the high school and college football teams doing backflips after a touchdown was scored. So it’s only natural that he took a liking to CrossFit. Hackenbruck claims that the sport allows him to fine-tune skills he’s already good at while improving those that need work. He enters the Games strong after placing first at the South West Regionals, but the sport isn’t all about him. “My favorite part of CrossFit is helping other people see their lives drastically improved by getting plugged into the right gym,” he says on the website for his box, Ute CrossFit.
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Fans were delighted to hear Chris Spealler actually wasn’t retiring from the sport last year. But then the 35-year-old—the only athlete to compete at every Games since its inception—failed to qualify for the 2013 event. He’s back this year. “I’ve worked too hard not to give it another shot,” he told CrossFit HQ. “I want seven.” But he also admitted his passion takes a toll on his body, so the future is unknown.