What's the Difference between a Games Athlete and a Regionals Athlete?

Mon 23 June 2014

Well, there's the "Proven" T-shirt. But besides that, let's take a look at the differences in performance between Games athletes and Regionals athletes. We'll also throw in solid athletes who didn't make regionals, for comparison.

Here I'm showing performance numbers for each of three groups of athletes, for the benchmarks reported on the games site:

  1. Games Athletes 2014 Games qualifiers
  2. Regionals Athletes 2014 Regionals athletes*
  3. Open Top 500 2014 Open Top 500 finishers per region

The asterisk on the Regionals athlete group is because I used the top 50 Open finishers from each region, instead of the actual regionals field, since so many qualifiers went team this year.

So's we stay awake, I'm going to show just the most interesting of the images. All the benchmark images are available as links at the bottom of the post if you want to see them. Note that the Africa, Asia, and Latin America regions are not included here.



We looked at the crazy hang snatch numbers from regionals in last week's post. Here we see that, especially on the men's side, there is a pretty big difference between the beast at your box, a regionals qualifier, and a games athlete. Games athletes are mostly in the 250-300 pound range for the men, and the 150-190 pound range for the women.

It's probably not an accident that there's some separation here, since the hang snatch was contested at regionals. When you run the relevant statistical test, the snatch is actually the strongest differentiator between games athletes and regionals athletes for men.

The picture for the clean and jerk is pretty similar, as you'd expect.



Ah, Fran. Just about all the Games qualifiers report a Fran in the 2:00-2:30 range for the men, and 2:00-3:00 for the women. There are an awful lot of males now with a sub-3 minute Fran.

There seems to be a much wider separation on the women's side between the three groups than on the men's, and in fact it's the benchmark that mostly strongly differentiates games and regionals athletes on the women's side.

Back Squat

Back Squat

There isn't a huge amount of separation here, although it's clear that games athletes lift more than regionals athletes on average. If there were a heavy squat in regionals, this picture might change. The deadlift plot looks pretty similar.

That bump near 375 pounds for the female games athletes is curious. When I looked into it, it's just Lauren Brooks out of the South East, who's got a 375-pound squat. So does Oxana Slivenko, who narrowly missed making the games in Europe. While we're at it, the highest women's squat that doesn't seem to be a typo is Taylar Stallings' 462, from the South East. Sheesh.

Max Pull-ups

Max Pull-ups

There was a big set of pull-ups in Regionals Event 7, so we might have expected some separation between games and regionals athletes here. But there's not much to see on the men's side. Everybody's got 50-70 pullups.

There's a pretty big difference on the women's side, though. That big shoulder on the right side of darkest blue curve is a bunch of the ex-gymnasts who made the games this year, partially on the strength of those pullups: CLB, Talayna, Emily Carothers, Bjork Odinsdottir, Kelley Jackson, Cassidy Lance, and Tiffany Hendrickson all have 55+. (Emily Bridgers and Jenn Jones don't report theirs, and Gretchen Kittelberger only has 47, poor thing.)

Yep, the bump out above 100 for the men is Spealler's 106.

400m Run

400m Run

I show this one because your 400-meter time doesn't seem to matter too much. Since flat-out speed is rarely tested in the Open and Regionals, maybe this isn't that surprising. The 5K plot looks much the same.

Data Questions

You do want to take these data with a grain of salt. A lot of athletes don't report their numbers; men generally report more often than women, and the lifts + Fran are more often reported than the rest.

It's also hard to tell how recently the numbers have been updated. Then, some athletes might misreport their numbers for competitive advantage. Some of the performances might not be competition-legit. There could also be some biases, like if only fast people report their quarter-mile times. Alas.

This said, I think it's better to show the pictures than not to.

One could try to figure out if any of the above are a big deal, by cross-referencing other datasets, such as recent regionals and games results. Beyond the Whiteboard is also probably in a pretty good position to do something like that.

All the Images

For posterity, here are all twelve of the images. Knock yourself out. :)


Clean & Jerk



Max Pull-ups

Fight Gone Bad




Filthy Fifty

400m Run

5K Run

Tags: regionals2014