Day 2 began with the 4th event of the competition, consisting of the following:
400 meter run
3 rounds of 15 power snatch (40 kg) and 35 double unders
400 meter run
The standings being as they were, a good performance in this event would really go a long way towards securing one of the 3 spots. A bad showing would put all the pressure on the final event later that afternoon. To make things even more exciting, the heats had been re-shuffled so that those of us in the top spots were competing alongside one another.
The first few heats went off and it was readily apparent that people were underestimating the effect 45 x 40 kg snatches would have on their lungs. Everyone came bolting in from the run and tried to rip the sets unbroken. This worked okay the first round, but the rest of the way you could see the fatigue in their double unders as people started missing, losing their breath, and wasting time.
Watching this I decided the best plan was to break the snatches into sets of 5, taking a short interval between to prevent my body from hitting total failure. This was much the same strategy I adopted during event 5 of the Games last year (3 rounds of 30 snatch and 30 wall ball) to great success so I felt confident.
The initial 400 meters felt wonky on my left ankle. The previous day’s activities had caused some swelling and discomfort that would take a little time to work out. Thankfully, for this event it didn’t matter how fast your first running leg was. I kept things under control and entered the weightroom 3rd or 4th. I got on my bar immediately and started pulled 5 fast repetitions. Behind me I could hear everyone else banging away at a consistent pace. I took 2 breaths and did another 5. Still banging. As I began my last set of 5 I could hear a few guys start their first round of double unders. I hit 15, picked up my rope and eased a nice tempo to make sure I wouldn’t miss any jumps. When I got back to my bar for the second round, I was only a few repetitions behind the leaders and I felt totally fresh. I kept the same pattern as before, except this time when I finished my 15 I did so at the same time as Sven and the other early leaders. My breath was still with me and I was able to complete the 35 double unders without missing and took the lead outright. The final round was where I saw the biggest impact of my strategy. As I continued to do 5’s with 2 breaths between, I could hear bars dropping in singles and doubles behind me. The early unbroken sets were catching up with everyone else.
When I picked up my rope nobody was even close. I strung them all together again and was so amped up that I booked it straight down the lane, out the door, and onto the course at a pace much faster than the one I kept during the first 400 meters. Making the turn for home I only saw one other guy on the run and he looked like he was struggling. The last 150 meters were exhilarating as I sprinted past the crowd of people cheering us on. My time was 6:52, the best of the day by close to :40. Man, did this feel good. Sven took 4th in the event and Mikko 3rd, putting the point totals to 8, 11, and 22 for the three of us. Richard Vanmeerbeek was in fourth at 28, so still very much alive. This meant that regardless of the final event, both Sven and I had qualified for the Games in LA, but the 3rd spot remained uncertain.
We had a few hours before the final event so Frederick Krarup and I headed back to hotel to relax and put our feet up in the interim. We grabbed some lunch and chatted about the event and how things had gone thus far. I knew the last WOD was going to be awful and just didn’t want to think about it. Eventually, though, you have to finish things off...