Rookie of the Year Justin Medeiros entered the 2020 CrossFit Games as one of the most hyped-up athletes in the field. Many people picked him to end the three-day competition in second place, just behind defending champion Mat Fraser. The proclamations continued as Medeiros showed off his handstand acumen.
Medeiros drew attention early in the Handstand Sprint due to the strategy he used to move down the 100-yard field. He traveled five yards, dropped out of his handstand and then immediately popped back up. He continued following this strategy, dropping every five yards, for the remainder of the event. However, Medeiros didn't lose any time or positioning. He popped back up into his walk immediately after dropping down and never took a moment to rest. The other athletes behind him couldn't gain any ground, and Medeiros ultimately finished second behind Fraser.
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"It was definitely something different that I tried," Medeiros said about his handstand strategy. "It wasn't anything that I planned out. It was something that we came up with — me and my coach [Adam Neiffer] — right before the event. I'm pretty confident in my handstand walking, and I think that every little bit helps. We kinda did our homework, and I thought that would be a good strategy to use."
His unique handstand strategy drew considerable attention, but Medeiros also impressed the viewers and analysts by remaining consistent throughout the first two days of competition. He secured a second-place finish in the opening 2007 Reload event and then added two more.
There were events where Medeiros didn't finish near the top of the pack, such as the Snatch Speed Triple and the CrossFit Total. He also gave up ground to Jeffrey Adler during the Corn Sack Sprint and finished in fifth place in the final seconds. However, he showed off his ability to fight through unforeseen obstacles and still find success.
Medeiros raced Fraser throughout a 5k trail run, only to have Director of the Games Dave Castro tell him that he needs to turn around and run the course in reverse immediately. The rookie didn't complain; he instead just took off for another grueling 5k. Medeiros continued his friendly competition with Fraser and ultimately finished the trail run in second place.0comments
The Rookie of the Year doesn't currently sit in a podium spot after two days of competition but is only 20 points out. Medeiros now sits in a tie with Noah Ohlsen for fifth place. He could certainly leapfrog fellow competitor Samuel Kwant with a first- or second-place finish in one of the remaining events, but the four-time Games veteran won't go silently into the night.
The 2020 CrossFit Games continue Sunday with at least three events. There is a Sprint Sled Sprint, one featuring swimming and then the mysterious Atalanta, which Director of the Games Dave Castro dubbed the "hardest workout ever." There could only be the revealed three events, but Castro has a tendency to surprise athletes during the final day of competition. Coverage for the action begins at 10 a.m. PT on games.crossfit.com, Pluto TV, and the company's Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels.