Which Events Decided Who Went to the Games?

Sun 08 June 2014

We know that if not for those handstands, Sam Briggs would have qualified for the 2014 Games. There were other big swings that kept strong athletes out the games: Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir's legless, Brent Fikowski's overhead squats, Courtney Walker's chipper, Elijah Muhammad's HSPUs. How often did the handstand walk event, among others, make or break an athlete's campaign this year?

With this year's regionals results, I looked at how each event's absence would have changed who qualified for the Games. Kind of like It's a Wonderful Life, but with Dan Bailey instead of George Bailey.

Here are the results:

It's a Wonderful Games

So, for example, if the handstand walk event hadn't happened, two spots in the men's field would have changed: Spencer Hendel would have grabbed James Hobart's spot in the North East, and Cody Spell would have gone in Richard Bohlken's place in South Central. Six spots in the women's field would have changed: Briggs would have gone, as would Ruth Anderson Horrell, Stacie Tovar and Jamie Hagiya, but Becca Voigt wouldn't have made it.

On the women's side, it does appear that the handstand walk, along with that gnarly chipper and the pullups/OHS, had the biggest effect on shaping the games field.

On the men's side, there are also three larger-impact events, but it's a different three events: the snatch, Nasty Girls v2 with all those pistols, and the strict HSPUs.

That said, the distributions are really pretty even across events. The handstand walk, in particular, doesn't seem to be that special. It seems to have been more that the athletes it did affect were fairly high-profile.

When you dig in and look at the actual athletes behind that chart, some interesting stories pop out. Below this is a (big) table that shows every athlete whose trip to the games depended on a single event.

Who's Not There

You only see athletes who were on the bubble. Froning and Foucher don't show up, for example, because there's no single event that decided the games for them.

Similarly, you don't see folks who finished much out of the top 5 at regionals. There was no single event that would have made the difference to them. (Props to you for making it though...)

Surprisingly Missing Big Names

Everyone was pretty surprised that Lindsey Valenzuela and Garret Fisher didn't make it this year. What's even more surprising is that they don't show up on this list, meaning that there wasn't a single blowup that kept them out of the games. Instead, it seems that they both happen to come from brutally difficult regions, with very consistent competitors.

Dan Bailey

Yes: if not for his blowup on legless, Tommy Pease could have taken Dan Bailey's spot this year. More evidence that SoCal is tough.

Tooth and Nail

Kelley Jackson out of the North Central was the most-stressed of the all this year's games athletes. If any of six different events weren't there, she doesn't make it. Interestingly, it's not always the same competitor that takes her spot.

Honorable mention to Emily Beers from Canada West, with five, and five other athletes, including Michelle Kinney, that could have lost their games spot with four different events.


On the other hand, Graham Holmberg, Roy Gamboa, Grace Dresher from North Central, and Alex Vigneault from Canada East all could have gone to the games if any of three events hadn't been contested. That's rough.

And, here's the full table:

If This Event Hadn't HappenedIn This RegionThese Athletes Would Have QualifiedThese Athletes Would Have Stayed Home
SnatchAustraliaJames NewburyKhan Porter
Canada EastAlex VigneaultPaul Tremblay
Canada WestJoe ScaliTyson Takasaki
Central EastGraham HolmbergWill Moorad
Mid AtlanticNathan KeilJordan Troyan
North EastAustin MalleoloCraig Kenney
South CentralDusty FloresJeff Germond
South EastRyan SunshineJeff Evans
Canada WestAlex ParkerEmily Beers
Central EastJennifer SmithMichelle Kinney
North WestCarleen LessardRory Zambard
Northern CaliforniaCheryl BrostMargaux Alvarez
HandstandNorth EastSpencer HendelJames Hobart
South CentralCody SpellRichard Bohlken
AustraliaRuth Anderson HorrellPip Malone
Canada WestBrittany BrownEmily Beers
EuropeSamantha BriggsKristin Holte
North CentralStacie TovarKelley Jackson
North WestKaren McCadamRegan Huckaby
Southern CaliforniaJamie HagiyaRebecca Voigt
PistolsAustraliaKevin ManuelKhan Porter
Canada EastPascal BaillargeonPaul Tremblay
Central EastGraham HolmbergWill Moorad
North CentralJustin AllenJacob Heppner
South CentralRoy GamboaRichard Bohlken
South EastElijah MuhammadTravis Mayer
Mid AtlanticDara ChingChristy Adkins
North CentralGrace DresherKelley Jackson
HSPUAustraliaJames NewburyKhan Porter
Canada EastAlex VigneaultPaul Tremblay
Canada WestBrent FikowskiTyson Takasaki
Central EastGraham HolmbergWill Moorad
North EastSpencer HendelJames Hobart
Northern CaliforniaWes PiattMarcus Filly
South CentralCody SpellJeff Germond
South EastElijah MuhammadTravis Mayer
Canada WestJenn Webber, Erica LivettEmily Abbott, Emily Beers
Central EastDanielle SidellMichelle Kinney
North CentralGrace DresherKelley Jackson
LeglessAustraliaBrendan ClarkeKhan Porter
North EastAustin MalleoloCraig Kenney
South EastGuido TrinidadTravis Mayer
Southern CaliforniaTommy PeaseDan Bailey
EuropeKatrin Tanja DavidsdottirKristin Holte
North CentralJessica SchulzKelley Jackson
North WestCarleen LessardRegan Huckaby
ChipperNorth EastJoe KearneyCraig Kenney
South CentralDusty Flores, Roy GamboaJeff Germond, Richard Bohlken
South EastJulian SernaJeff Evans
Canada WestErica LivettEmily Beers
Central EastAlyssa RitcheyMichelle Kinney
EuropeOxana SlivenkoKristin Holte
Mid AtlanticDara ChingAnna Tunnicliffe
North CentralKatelyn BusackerKelley Jackson
North WestKaren McCadamRory Zambard
Northern CaliforniaCourtney WalkerMargaux Alvarez
OHSCanada EastAlex VigneaultPaul Tremblay
Canada WestBrent FikowskiTyson Takasaki
South CentralRoy GamboaJeff Germond
Canada EastKristine AndaliMichele Letendre
Canada WestWhitney DarchukEmily Beers
Central EastAlyssa RitcheyMichelle Kinney
EuropeCaroline FryklundKristin Holte
Mid AtlanticEmily FriedmanAnna Tunnicliffe
North CentralGrace DresherKelley Jackson

Note: Africa, Asia, and Latin America were not included in the above analysis.

Tags: regionals2014