The tenth annual CrossFit Games were held at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, July 19 – 24. Mat Fraser, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom were crowned the Fittest On Earth for the 2016 season.
Over the last 10 years, CrossFit has evolved into something much more than just a functional fitness routine. It is now a highly competitive sport for athletes all over the globe, some of which have made competing their full-time job! The CrossFit Games is the pinnacle of the sport. It is the Super Bowl of CrossFit. For some, it is the equivalent to making the Olympics. They eat, sleep, and breathe CrossFit.
Not just anyone can make it to the Games. It’s actually a series of competitions that start in February; first with the Worldwide Open, which is a 5-week online competition. This year over 300,000 people participated worldwide! The field then narrows with the top men, women, and teams from each of the 17 regions advancing to one of 8 regional competitions. The top five men, women, and teams from those regions, get to punch their tickets to the CrossFit Games where 40 of the world’s fittest men, women, and teams go head-to-head in an epic battle to crown the Fittest On Earth.
When athletes arrive at the CrossFit Games they don’t know how many events they will be tested on, what they will be, or when they will be announced. They have to be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable. This year, individuals competed in 15 grueling events, while teams did 16, which tested them on their strength, power, speed, endurance, agility, and pure grit.
On the men’s side of competition, Mat Fraser sat atop the leaderboard from start to finish, never wavering or showing any signs of defeat. He won by a staggering 197 points over last year’s champion, Ben Smith, which is the largest margin in Games history. Out of 15 events, he had one victory, 7 second place finishes, and finished out of the top 10 only once! If you need a model of consistency, Fraser is your guy.
Ben Smith couldn’t repeat his win from last year, but he locked in second place overall. Third place came down to two Canadian rookies, Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski. Both athletes had very impressive finishes all weekend. Fikowski had four event wins, the most of any rookie in Games history. Vellner may not have won any events, but he finished in second place once, third place twice, and only fell out of the top 10 in three events. But it was the final event where every tenth of a second counts – yup, that’s right, less than a second! Vellner finished the pegboard event in 9th place, good for 64 points. Had he been 0.11 seconds slower, he would have placed 10th (60 points) and would have fallen behind Fikowski by 2 points overall! Instead, he came out on top by 2 points.
- (1096) Mathew Fraser
- (899) Ben Smith
- (863) Patrick Vellner
On the ladies side, Katrin Davidsdottir was out to prove that last year’s win was not a fluke, that she was in fact one of the best. Unlike the men’s competition, where Fraser sealed his victory before the final event even started, the women’s winner wouldn’t be determined until the bitter end. First place was up for grabs and you could feel the tension and excitement in the air. The tennis stadium was full of cheering fans and as the athletes took to their starting mats everyone rose out of their seats for the big finale. All eyes were fixed on Davidsdottir, Tia-Clair Toomey, and Sara Sigmundsdottir. In the first round of the event, none of them appeared to be in any rush. Their movements were precise and calculated, but as fatigue set in in round two, Sigmundsdottir fell behind both Davidsdottir and Toomey, and was penalized several times for her failed pegboard attempts. Toomey was one of only 10 women to complete the event under the time cap, but the real question was whether or not it would be enough to sneak past Davidsdottir on the leaderboard.
It seemed like time was moving at a snail’s pace as everyone patiently waited for the final scores to be tabulated. In typical Dave Castro fashion, he finally walks out to the center of the tennis stadium floor and announces, “Your 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games Champion is… last year’s champion… KATRIN DAVIDSDOTTIR!” Davidsdottir reclaimed her title as the Fittest Woman on Earth for a second year in a row.
For the first time in CrossFit Games history, the podium is the exact same as it was the year before – same athletes, same podium finish. Davidsdottir in first, Toomey in second, and Sigmundsdottir in third. Talk about déjà vu!
- (984) Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir
- (973) Tia-Clair Toomey
- (919) Ragnheiður Sara Sigmundsdottir
Team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom was crowned the Affiliate Cup Champions for the second year in a row. They are the first team to repeat since Hack’s Pack had back-to-back wins in 2012 and 2013. CrossFit Mayhem dominated the competition all weekend with seven event wins. This is team member James Hobart’s third Affiliate Cup Champion title (previously a member of CrossFit New England), and the Champ, none other than Rich Froning, continues his legacy with his sixth consecutive Champion title, which includes his four individual titles!
- (1224) CrossFit Mayhem
- (1105) 12 Labours CrossFit
- (972) CrossFit Yas
The end of the CrossFit Games is bitter sweet. For some they taste victory and have accomplished their mission, but for others, it highlights their weaknesses and holes in competition. This isn’t always a bad thing either. It can be used to their advantage and fuel their fire for next year. As the season has come and gone, it’s now time for everyone to reevaluate their training, but more importantly, their goals for 2017. Because in CrossFit, there is always work to be done.