Earlier today, 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games champions Rich Froning and Samantha Briggs stopped by ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters and chatted with ESPN.com’s SportsNation, espnW and hosted a Q&A discussion for ESPN employees. (Some employees participated in a fitness challenge of their own this past summer.)
You can watch Tennessee’s Froning, now a three-peat champion, and England’s Briggs claim the titles of “Fittest on Earth” tonight, when ESPN airs the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games finals beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
How has ESPN’s support of CrossFit helped promote the sport?
RF: It’s been huge. The opportunity is there for people who don’t know anything about CrossFit to see it. Everybody watches ESPN at some point. It’s cool to see it on TV, especially for me growing up a sports fan. Watching it on ESPN is a cool experience.
SB: I think it’s kind of like another seal of approval. CrossFit was devised, then the Games were born. First, you could watch the Games online. The next step was to have it televised. It definitely has generated interest for the sport. It’s just another stamp of approval that shows the growth of the sport.
What’s the reaction you get from people who recognize you from seeing you on ESPN?
RF: It’s cool. So many people are able to see the CrossFit Games now because of ESPN. ESPN is definitely widening the fan base for sure.
SB: I remember back in 2011 I had a guy from work that was on holiday in the U.S. message me and say: ‘I’ve just been watching you on TV!’ ESPN is helping spread the word . . . It’s nice that people who had no idea what CrossFit was are able to watch it now.
What are your impressions of the ESPN campus?
SB: My first impression is it’s huge. It’s quite amazing how spread out it is.
RF: It’s a sports fan’s version of Disney World. I was here last year, but it’s cool still seeing buildings being added.
Which ESPN talent would you like to be a personal trainer for and why?
RF: Mark Schlereth and Mike Golic are former football players, so it would be cool to see how much weight they could move.