Friday morning, the 2020 CrossFit Games officially began with the first of five events. The top five male and top five female athletes headed to the iconic Ranch in California and began their quests to reach the podium. What followed was a wild day of competition that featured considerable intrigue, several surprising finishes and a continuing reign of dominance.
While two athletes found success during the first day of competition, the other eight experienced epic highs and disappointing lows. Those that were supposed to push for the title of Fittest on Earth struggled early and had to fight to remain in contention for the title. On the other hand, three surprising youngsters impressed mightly during the first day of competition while keeping themselves in the discussion. Here are some of the best and worst moments of the day for each athlete.
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High Point: The three-time defending champion, Australian Tia-Clair Toomey told reporters prior to the Games that she is the fittest she has ever been. She backed up the statement by winning the first three events of the Final Stage — the 2007 Reload, Corn Sack Sprint and CrossFit Total. These wins, partnered with the final event of Stage 1, made history. Toomey became the first athlete to win four consecutive events, breaking a tie with Rich Froning and Mat Fraser.
Low Point: While Toomey is the most dominant female athlete in CrossFit Games history, she does have one area of her game that needs work. She is not as adept at handstand walks as her four fellow finalists. Toomey took part in the 100-yard Handstand Sprint but fell behind the pace. She finished in fifth place, only adding 15 points to her lead.prevnext
Women’s Event 4 - Handstand SprintOctober 23, 2020
High Point: Following two consecutive fifth-place finishes to start the Games, Wells needed a boost. She secured second place in the CrossFit Total and then set up the first win of the year. Wells took an early lead during the 100-yard Handstand Sprint and never looked back. She bested former gymnast Kari Pearce and locked up a crucial 100 points.
Low Point: Brooke Wells entered the Final Stage of the CrossFit Games with considerable hype after finishing Stage 1 in second place. She told reporters that she is the fittest she has ever been and that she was ready to put this progress on display. However, Wells struggled during the 2007 Reload event. She was on pace to finish fourth overall but failed her final shoulder-to-overhead multiple times, opening a door for Katrin Davidsdottir. Wells finished the opening event in fifth place, securing only 15 points and sparking concern among some fans.prevnext
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High Point: The 19-year-old competitor in Haley Adams enjoyed a very strong performance during the first day of the CrossFit Games. She finished second during the first event and showed that her top-10 finish in 2019 was not a fluke. However, Adams' best moment came during the six-mile trail run. She kept pace with Toomey during the first half but made her move during the return to the original starting point. Adams passed the defending champion and continued gaining ground on Katrin Davidsdottir. She ultimately finished in second place, adding another 75 points to her total.
Low Point: The youngest female competitor, Adams has plenty of talent, but there were questions about her ability to do well during heavier events. She performed well overall, but the fourth-place finish did slightly limit her. Adams had the lowest back squat (260 pounds) and strict press (127 pounds) while her deadlift (325 pounds) was the fourth-heaviest.prevnext
How it started: How it ended: pic.twitter.com/o8g2jWkmtw— The CrossFit Games (@CrossFitGames) October 24, 2020
High Point: The "Sled Dog," Katrin Davidsdottir, is familiar with finding success during long and grueling events. Specifically, she loves taking part in hill sprints and trail runs. It was no surprise that the two-time champion's best moment took place during the final event. She fell behind Toomey and Adams during the Ranch Trail Run and raced to the finish line thinking she had secured third-place after three miles. However, Davidsdottir learned that she had to run the entire course again, albeit in reverse order. She broke into a huge grin and proceeded to pass her fellow athletes during the final three miles. Davidsdottir easily secured the win and a critical 100 points, moving her into contention for a podium spot.
Low Point: Davidsdottir has spent 2020 dealing with an injury, which kept her out of competition and limited her training. The issue also created concerns about the CrossFit Total and whether she should compete for the win. The event went better than many expected, but Davidsdottir was still unable to keep pace on the deadlift. She failed her last attempt at 295 pounds and opened the door for Adams to sneak into fourth place.prevnext
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High Point: Perennial Games athlete Kari Pearce entered the weekend of competition looking to secure the first podium spot of her career. She started decently with two third-place finishes in three events, but her best moment took place during the 100-yard Handstand Sprint. Pearce raced Wells all the way down the field and finished a mere two seconds behind her peer, locking up 75 points in the process.
Low Point: Pearce was consistent overall during the first day of the competition. She didn't finish last during any event but also didn't win any. She stuck in the middle of the pack. However, she struggled during two events at the Ranch. Pearce finished fourth in the corn sack sprint after falling behind Adams. She also fell behind early during the trail run and didn't recover. She finished fourth overall in the six-mile run, only remaining ahead of Wells.prevnext
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High Point: There were several high points for four-time champion Mat Fraser. He won the 2007 Reload and the Corn Sack Sprint to build up a sizable lead over the competition. He then dominated the Handstand Sprint and Trail Run — although the final event was his best. Fraser raced rookie Justin Medeiros throughout the three-mile run, ultimately sprinting to the what he believed to be the finish line. At this point, Director of the Games Dave Castro informed Fraser that he had to run the entire course in reverse. The defending champ flipped off Castro thinking that he was joking but quickly realized that he really had to run another three miles. He then gathered his energy and then proceeded to dust the competition en route to his fourth win of the day.
Low Point: As the winner of four of the first five events, Fraser didn't have a true "low point" during the first day. However, he did miss out on an opportunity to sweep the events. He posted the heaviest weights during the back squat and strict press portions of the CrossFit Total but Jeffrey Adler took the lead with his 567-pound deadlift. Fraser didn't need to match that weight; he just simply had to lift enough to give him more total points than his peer. He pulled off a relatively-easy 535-pound deadlift but finished the event a mere seven pounds shy of Adler's total weight, finishing in second place.prevnext
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High Point: A Games veteran, Ohlsen previously experienced the highs and lows of the iconic Ranch. This history includes a 32nd-place finish in the original trail run. Ohlsen told reporters prior to the Games that he wanted "redemption" and he achieved this goal on Friday evening. He took third place overall in the run, securing 55 points.
Low Point: The second-place finisher in the 2019 CrossFit Games, Ohlsen sparked proclamations that he could push Fraser for the top spot in 2020. However, his first event went very poorly. Ohlsen finished the 1,500-meter row first and immediately went into the five-round of muscle-ups and shoulder-to-overhead lifts. He struggled mightily during the second half of the event, failing multiple reps and falling behind the pace. He went from leading the pack to finishing in last place and securing only 15 points.prevnext
That one training partner who always gets you at the end of the workout ...
Jeff Adler picks up precious points in Corn Sack Sprint. pic.twitter.com/qKQniBscpU— The CrossFit Games (@CrossFitGames) October 23, 2020
High Point: There were several high points for rookie Justin Medeiros during the first day of competition. However, the first event showed that he is ready to fight for a podium spot. He kept pace with Fraser during the difficult 2007 Reload event while showing off his muscle-up skills and ability to lift heavy weights. Medeiros finished a mere eight seconds behind the defending champion and showed the reporters that he isn't going to disappoint.
Low Point: The Rookie of the Year in Medeiros had a very strong first day of competition. He secured three separate second-place finishes, keeping him in contention for a spot on the podium. However, he made a rookie mistake during the Corn Sack Sprint. Medeiros topped the hill with the 50-pound bag on his shoulders and walked toward the finish line. Adler, on the other hand, used the last of his energy to sprint past Medeiros with mere inches remaining in the race. The rookie finished the event with only 15 points as opposed to 35.prevnext
No music. No crowd. Three max lifts. Squat, press, and pull.
The Fittest Men on Earth are your competition. Are you up for the challenge? pic.twitter.com/BxJ9hnloqy— The CrossFit Games (@CrossFitGames) October 24, 2020
High Point: Prior to the Games, Adler said that wanted to see some heavy weights over the weekend. He backed up his comments by dominating the deadlift portion of the CrossFit Total. Adler achieved personal best on the three lifts and did so without wearing a weight belt. His 567-pound deadlift gave him a seven-pound victory over Fraser and the first win of his career.
Low Point: Adler spoke to reporters prior to the start of the competition and said that he has a definite weak point. He proclaimed that any handstand event does not play to his strengths. This statement came true during the 100-yard Handstand Sprint. Adler fell behind the pace of his peers and finished 11 seconds behind the fourth-place finisher.prevnext
“Three quarters of the way up, legs just started shutting down… a lot worse than I thought it would. Just had to keep moving.”
—Samuel Kwant 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/8RxIMOkevW— The CrossFit Games (@CrossFitGames) October 24, 2020
High Point: Samuel Kwant, the quietest of the competitors, finished the day fifth on the leaderboard but found some success during early events. His best moment took place during the Corn Sack Sprint at the Ranch. Kwant grabbed the 50-pound sack and raced his fellow peers up the side of a very steep hill. He passed Adler, Ohlsen and Medeiros while keeping pace behind Fraser. Kwant finished with a career-best second-place finish, adding 75 points to his total.
Low Point: Kwant performed well overall considering the talent level on the men's side of competition. However, there was one event that truly caused problems for him. Kwant struggled to maintain his early pace during the roughly six-mile trail run that capped off Friday's slate of events. He fell behind his peers during the second half of the run and lost considerable ground on the very steep hills. He ultimately finished in 1:10, just shy of 10 minutes behind Adler.prev