Competing for bragging rights, the FDNY Barbell Club and NYPD CrossFit kicked off the opening day of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Open at CrossFit Gantry Gym in Long Island City on Feb. 24, 2022.
While the FDNY and NYPD have had other friendly sporting competitions, it was the first time New York’s bravest and finest duked it out in the world’s largest CrossFit-specific competition presented by Northwell Health.
NYPD Captain Ronald Perez and FDNY Barbell Club president and firefighter Ricardo Roman emphasized that the event was not about competition but to highlight the brotherhood between the two departments.
“This has been a really hard year for both departments,” Perez said. “We’re going to compete for bragging rights but there’s a lot of unity going on here and a lot of people don’t see that. And I think that it’s important that people need to see that.”
Ricardo Roman added that the fierce workout prepared them for the intense work situations firefighters and cops face daily.
“We don’t know what’s coming at work. So this is a way to stay prepared,” Roman said. “It’s a moment for both departments to come together in unity.”
First up, eight top athletes from the FDNY Barbell Club and the NYPD CrossFit Team — with NYPD in dark shirts and FDNY in white shirts — went head to head. The athletes compared their stamina and strength, completing as many rounds as possible of three wall walks, 12 dumbbell snatches and 15 box jump-overs within 15 minutes.
Jay Hachadoorian, the owner of CrossFit Gantry, was excited to donate his space and time for the event featuring first responders.
“As a New Yorker, I feel really honored to be able to do something for both NYPD and FDNY,” Hachadoorian said. “Especially with, you know, so much of what we see is sad, and this is a really amazing thing.”
Psychologist Dr. Steven Well touched on the mental health aspect of CrossFit. Well, who works with city, state and federal law enforcement, explained that the most significant part of CrossFit was the camaraderie and the sense of belonging, which helps with depression, anxiety and suicide prevention.
“In law enforcement, when somebody is suicidal, we’ll either ignore it or we’ll leave it to someone else to handle,” Dr. Well said. “In CrossFit, it’s picked up right away. ‘Something’s up. What’s going on?’ So, they don’t just look and say, ‘Oh, you know, he’s depressed.’ They know this person as the whole person.”
The main event featured FDNY Firefighter Chris Torres and NYPD Detective Paul Delanoy. Both are high-level athletes and Torres placed 35th in the worldwide occupational open in 2021.
Cheered on by the crowd, both first responders showed off their fitness level to spectators during a seemingly grueling 15 minutes.
While the FDNY Barbell Club came out on top, it was a close race with 288 total repetitions for the FDNY Barbell Club to 284 for NYPD CrossFit.
The CrossFit Open is the world’s largest participatory sporting event, where hundreds of thousands of athletes worldwide compete against one another from their local gyms in a three-week competition. Each week, new tests are announced to challenge athletes in areas like weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning.
Top finishers from the Open advance to virtual quarterfinals, then live semifinal events in 10 countries across the globe, and finally the NOBULL CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, from Aug. 3-7, where the top athletes compete for the title of Fittest on Earth.
Learn more about the CrossFit Games at games.crossfit.com.
See photos below from last week’s competition.