It's GO time: Open WOD 16.1 Preview
Today is the day we’ve been waiting for: the 2016 Open starts with 16.1, (and maybe 16.1a). Who knows what we'll see?
We don't. But, we DO know that the first two athletes to do the workout will be Emily Abbott and Chyna Cho. Both of them have multiple Games appearances, and each finished in the Top 10 last year. Tonight’s matchup promises to be entertaining and competitive. At 5’ 7” and 164 lbs, Emily is roughly 20 pounds heavier than Chyna, who is an inch taller. Although tonight’s matchup features athletes who seem to be close in ability, that wasn’t always the case. We looked back and compared their performances over the past two years to get a sense of each athlete’s relative strengths and weaknesses. While they did not compete head-to-head, the data presented offers a comprehensive look into each athlete's abilities and progress. For reference, the top score in each event is also provided.
These results seem to indicate that Emily is the stronger athlete, but had some serious gaps in her gymnastics. In 2014, Chyna demonstrated excellent gymnastics and conditioning / aerobic capacity. 2014 Open Event Wins: Chyna 3, Emily 2.
Chyna's superior gymnastics and conditioning / capacity are apparent at this phase of competition. 2014 Regional Event Wins: Chyna 6, Emily 0, 1 tie. (Note: we acknowledge that cross-regional comparisons are imperfect as the events are done on different days and with different athletes. Still, they are the same events and comparisons have considerable validity.)
Again, Chyna displays broad-based fitness. Emily has some bright spots, including an event win, but is cut before the end of the competition. 2014 Games Event Wins: Chyna 10, Emily 3.
2014 Season Results: Chyna 19 wins, Emily 5 wins, 1 tie.
Let’s see how they compared one year later.
Emily made tremendous improvements in her gymnastics, improving by over 120 reps in WOD 14.2 / 15.2. WODs 15.1, 15.3 and 15.4 also required gymnastics proficiency to earn a high score, and Emily performed capably in each of them. Chyna scored event wins, but by very narrow margins. Chyna also appears to have focused on strength, hitting a 207lb. clean & jerk in 15.1A. So while Chyna earned 5 event wins, Emily appears to have closed the gap. 2015 Open Event wins: Chyna 5, Emily 1.
Chyna still has an advantage, but it is less dramatic than in 2014, when Emily did not win any of the regional events. Emily is competitive in most of the events, but Chyna's gymnastics enable her to dominate Events 2 and Event 7. (Chyna was the global event winner in Event 2.). However, Emily was close in the other events, and even beat Chyna in the handstand walk. 2015 Regional Event wins: Chyna 4: Emily 3.
With top 5 finishes in the Sandbag event, Heavy DT and the Clean & Jerk, Emily Abbott stakes a claim to being one of the strongest women in the sport. She has also trained away some of her conditioning and gymnastics weaknesses, although her 35th place finish on Murph indicates that her conditioning remains a work in progress. Chyna's continued consistency earned her a 6th place finish; other than the Sprint Course events, Chyna finished in the top half of every event, indicating few weaknesses in her fitness. 2015 Games event wins: Chyna 7, Emily 6.
2015 season results: Chyna 16 wins, Emily 10 wins.
The matchup in 16.1 should be interesting. Good luck to Chyna, Emily and all who are participating!