Winning the CrossFit Games once makes you a great. Twice? All-time great. Three times? One of the best, if not the best ever. Four times? Legend. The fact he won them in four consecutive years? He is indisputably the fittest man in history.
There may be no other athlete or professional that works harder at his or her craft than Rich Froning does. In preparation for the Games, Rich spends 6+ hours a day training in his garage gym. This is undoubtedly exhausting both mentally and physically. His intense training regimen has proved to be successful as he has been prepared for all tests of fitness thrown at him year after year. Because of his passion and dedication to the sport, he has become the most consistent and dominant athlete in all of sports.
While he spends ample time training and focusing on CrossFit, he has other priorities in which he feels are more important. Sure, he makes a living due to fitness but he would be nothing without his faith and his family. As Froning has stated, the three most important things to him are faith, family and fitness. In that order.
In a time where it has become unpopular to be religious and overtly express your religious beliefs, Rich has made this the centerpiece of his life. He has often been quoted that he doesn’t want to be remembered for what he did in CrossFit, but how his faith lead him down the right path and gave him the ability to be all that he is.
If you don’t recall the 2010 CrossFit Games, Rich finished in 2nd place. He narrowly finished behind Graham Holmberg primarily because of his poor finish in the Wall Burpee/Rope Climb event. Being new to CrossFit, Rich wasn’t prepared for the rope climb as well as he could’ve been. This was ultimately his downfall in those Games and caused him to finish in 2nd for the first – and only – time of his Games career.
In his book First: What It Takes to Win, Rich explains what that rope meant to him. It was not just a rope, and his failure was not simply due to lack of physical preparation. He saw it as a sign from God that served to humble him and test his faith. Rich’s faith ultimately prevailed and he has become stronger in both his fitness and mental toughness as a result.
Rich has famously explained that he doesn’t want to be remembered for his accomplishments in CrossFit, but for being a dedicated follower of Christ and living in His honor.
Galatians 6:14 – May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
It comes as no surprise that Rich is quite the family man. He’s always been close with his family. In particular, he’s close with his cousin, Darren Hunsucker, who coaches with him at CrossFit Mayhem, and his father, “The Original” Rich Froning, who is often spotted in videos with Rich.
As he is close with his relatives, he is also extremely close with his wife, Hillary Froning. They are both great people who have done great things for organizations and other people in general. In fact, they even had fellow CrossFitter Dan Bailey live in their home for a while when he had nowhere to go.
Rich and Hillary recently adopted their daughter named Lakelyn. This is their first child and, despite her size, a huge addition to their family. Now Rich has even more to train for: protecting his daughter from boys.
This is what we all know and admire Rich for. His faith and dedication to family may not be as well known, but he prioritizes those two over his training. While he clearly puts his all into his training, just imagine how much he puts into God and his family. Amazing.
Rich is a former baseball player and fireman. He came from an athletic background and fell in love with CrossFit when he was first introduced to it. The rest is, well, history.
You already know that he won the Games in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He obviously achieved this through his relentless training attitude and unrivaled dedication to the sport. This past victory may have been his most challenging, however.
There were times during the 2014 CrossFit Games where Rich Froning looked, well, human. He resorted to walking during the run portion of the Triple-3 event in which he finished in 37th place. Then, he followed that poor performance up with a few more mediocre finishes in the Sprint Sled events. Even while Rich looked tangible and beatable for maybe the first time in his Games career, we were reminded of something: never count Rich Froning out.
With five total 1st place finishes in this year’s Games, Rich may have put on his most impressive overall performance despite his early shortcomings. He spent most of the Games on the outside looking in, but as soon as he claimed 1st place after Saturday night, there was no way he was going to relinquish his lead. You could tell by watching him on Sunday that he was prepared to give his all and exit the Games with nothing left to prove. He gave the champion-like performance that we’ve grown used to seeing from him over the years.
It is hard to believe that we are speaking of Rich’s legacy when he is only 27 years old. That is a testament to how impressive and unbelievable he has been over the course of the past five years.
Rich has stated that this is the last Games he will compete in, as long as he won (which he did). With his family growing and the responsibilities mounting, it makes sense for him to take a step back. He will likely compete with the CrossFit Mayhem team and make them instant contenders for a top spot. That’s just how good he is.
Remember this: there will never be an individual more vital to the growth of his or her sport than Rich Froning has been for CrossFit.
When a person starts CrossFit and begins to read into it, it is inevitable that Rich’s name will appear.
When a person asks who is the “LeBron” of CrossFit, the answer will be Rich Froning.
There is no one person who is more synonymous with his sport than Rich is with CrossFit. Think about this: Rich just signed a deal with Reebok that has been rumored to be similar to “Peyton Manning money,” as he is also signed by Reebok. The NFL and CrossFit are obviously worlds apart, but Reebok has realized how important Rich is to the CrossFit community. He is not only the best at his sport, but he is a genuine person that any brand or sport would be proud to label him as “The Guy.”
Whether he decides to compete again or not, Rich Froning has left his mark on the sport of CrossFit. His success and work ethic has inspired many to aim to achieve the same.
When you look back on the CrossFit Games 20 years from now and your child/grandchildren happen to ask who was the Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky of CrossFit, you will undoubtedly say “Rich Froning.”
He is a legend.
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