Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the most epic CrossFit matchup of all time. We are not talking about Rich Froning vs. Graham Holmberg, Mikko Salo vs. Tommy Hackenbruck, or Chris Spealler vs…anyone (Chirs is the best CrossFitter of all time, but that’s another post). We are talking cherry trees, white wigs, wooden teeth and sweet beards. Join me as we dive into history to discover…
Who would make the better CrossFitter, George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?
Who had the better physical advantage for CrossFit?
Abe: 6′ 4″ and 180 lbs
George: 6′ 2″ and 200 lbs
CrossFit is considered a smaller man’s sport, however, there are advantages and disadvantages to stature. Having long arms and legs will make rowing easier since you will have a longer pull, and you will have a better stride for some of the longer runs. However, being a little bit shorter means smaller levers and this makes moving the barbell a little bit easier….BUT CrossFit is not a question of bio-mechanics. It comes down to strength and power. Abraham Lincoln coming in at 6’4″ and 180 lbs makes him a little scrawny. George Washington coming in at 6’2″ and 200 lbs. makes him a little bulkier. Thus, George can probably move more weight and do more work.
Now we look at what they have actually done. Who has more physical ability?
While it is a fact the George Washington is known for his physical ability there isn’t too much more on it other than the fact that people “said” it. That whole cherry tree thing is thought to be a myth, so we can’t factor in myths and fairytales. What is a fact, is that George Washington threw a piece of slate “about the size and shape of a dollar” across the Rappahannock River. The Rappahannock River at the site of the Washington family homestead today measures 250 feet across. He is most known for being a Surveyor before his military and presidential service.
Abraham Lincoln on the other hand was a freaking rail splitter. A rail splitter splits logs to make split-rail fences…AKA back breaking work. It is said that, “Lincoln could wrestle and was exceptionally skilled with an ax.” Sounds like Abe is shaping up for some sweet metcons if you ask me. While throwing like George takes accuracy and precision, so does wood splitting. If you were to put Abe in the 2009 CrossFit Games he would have dominated the row/sledge hammer competition.
While they were both tough men, I mean you had to be to live back then, there has to be a tougher. Who had more grit and wherewithal to get through some tough CrossFit workouts? Well, a good standard is to look at what they did in their lives. Here we will look to military service. We all know it takes a good amount of grit to serve in the military today….Back in those days it took a ridiculous amount of will power just to get through the day to day conditions.
George Washington was a hardcore military man. In 1754 as a Lieutenant Colonel he led an expedition to Fort Duquesne to drive out the French Canadians. In 1755, he was an aide to British General Edward Braddock on the Monongahela expedition. In 1758, he participated as a Brigadier General in the Forbes expedition. In 1775 he was appointed as Major General and elected by Congress to be Commander in Chief. From 1775 to 1781 he fought from several fronts. He delivered the final blow to the British in 1781. On December 23, 1783, he resigned his commission as Commander in Chief.
Abraham Lincoln’s military exposure was limited to serving as a Captain in the Black Hawk War, in a non-combat role.
I would say when the going gets tough in a 20 min AMRAP, George is going to show you just how much crap he can actually push through.
Other Unquantifiable CrossFit Factors
Abe: Honest Abe, The Rail Splitter, and Great Emancipator
George: Father of the Country, The American Cincinnatus
While I am not saying George would lie about any CrossFit workouts, we know for sure Abe wouldn’t with a nickname like “Honest Abe”, and we already talked about the whole rail splitting thing.
Sayings and mottos
Abe: It is said he was “strong enough to intimidate any rival”.
George: One of George’s mottos, “Deeds, not words”.
There is definitely a psychological aspect to competition and CrossFit and hands down Abe would scare the crap out of most competitors. However, once the horn sounds it comes down to how much work you can actually accomplish. I think with a motto like “Deeds, not words” Georgie-boy takes this one.
While both presidents would have loved some high intensity functional movement there can only be one winner, and that is George Washington. I know what you are saying, “You didn’t factor in Abe’s beard!!” Beards are cool but they have a tendency to make you hot. An inability to cool down during a workout is a huge disadvantage, so lets not even discuss it. Having looked over history, it seems like George had more CrossFit qualities than Abe. He was smart and strong, and very well-rounded. His years of military service cannot be overlooked and is testament to his will power and determination. If a battle of the wits, Abe would probably take it, but CrossFit takes that ability to shut off your brain and “go there”. Abe would make a decent competitor and maybe even go neck and neck with George in a short metcon like Fran, but as the competition grows longer and things get tougher (physically) George would come out on top, no pun intended.
Who do you think would crush WODs better? Join me next week and I’ll tell you why Chuck Norris would suck at CrossFit.
Photo by Jim Bowen