In the first years of its existence, the CrossFit Games weren't much more than a gathering of muscular California bros punishing themselves in the foothills of Aromas, Calif. The inaugural Games in 2007 awarded first-place contestants $500 apiece. It was underground; it was punk rock exercise.
In 2012, thousands of fans packed the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. to watch Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir (her surname is THOR'S DAUGHTER) collect winner's purses of $250,000 for the second consecutive year. The event is sponsored by Reebok and streamed on ESPN. CrossFit, Inc. now boasts more than 4,000 affiliated gyms worldwide. As the Reebok ad succinctly announced: "The sport of fitness has arrived."
The video below documents my trip to the 2012 Games. Even though I belong to a CrossFit gym, I still felt like an outsider compared to the true believers in attendance. The contest boasts the tagline "The Fittest on Earth," and it applies as easily to the spectators and food trucks and clothing vendors as it does the competitors. Watch for yourself, and try to avoid the creeping feeling that you need to go work out.