For those who’ve followed the CrossFit Games for at least a couple of years, 2021 feels like a reunion. Last year we barely saw our headliner athletes, and only 10 got true screen time at the limited Games final. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen familiar faces, and with location not being a sole factor in which semifinal they competed in, it’s somewhat exciting to see who shows up where. Names like Pat Vellner, Brent Fikowski, and Carolyne Prevost were missing from the conversation but joined the party this weekend at the Atlas Games.
As a virtual competition, all workouts were predetermined by CrossFit and were the same across the other virtual semifinal competitions.
Editor’s Note: The top five men, women, and teams qualify for the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. The unofficial Games qualifiers below are noted in bold. Unofficial leaderboards below may shift following CrossFit’s video reviews.
2021 CrossFit Atlas Games Women’s Top 10
- Carolyne Prevost (469)
- Mekenzie Riley (468), T-2
- Baylee Rayl (468), T-2
- Emily Rolfe (456)
- Sydney Michalyshen (448)
- Anikha Greer (437)
- Alexis Johnson (436)
- Paige Semenza (424)
- Emma Lawson (423)
- McKenzie Flinchum (414)
2021 CrossFit Atlas Games Men’s Top 10
- Pat Vellner (544)
- Jeffrey Adler (492)
- Samuel Cournoyer (449), T-3
- Alex Vigneault (449), T-3
- Brent Fikowski (442)
- Tyler Christophel (421)
- Cole Greashaber (389)
- Alexandre Caron (385)
- Phil Toon (369)
- Logan Collins (366)
2021 CrossFit Atlas Games Team Top 10
- Pro1 Montreal (570)
- CrossFit Resurrection (535)
- 1855 (530)
- Rhapsody (525)
- Team Koda (455)
- Fit To Prove Stadd (390)
- CrossFit 808 (365)
- C2X CrossFit (350)
- Koda CrossFit Iron View (345)
- Cristini Athletics (285)
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Day One Recap
Friendly Fran greeted athletes to kick off day one. It’s an upgrade of classic girl WOD Fran, putting 20 more pounds on the barbell for thrusters, upgrading pull-ups to chest-to-bar pull-ups, and taking the rep scheme up to 21 for each of the three rounds. Out of CrossFit Krypton, Dane Smith edged out Paul Tremblay by a second for the event win. Does something sound familiar? Smith is the younger brother of Games champion Ben Smith and Games veteran Alec Smith, both out of the same gym. Based on their success, you may be hearing his name more often.
Workout 2 was not much friendlier, with a chipper of heavy dumbbell movements mixed in with GHD sit-ups. But it’s a good strength grinder for Vellner, a popular favorite to take the throne Mat Fraser left open this year. The Canadian won this event ahead of American Tyler Christophel, an individual newbie with two Games appearances with team CrossFit 417. Canadian Samuel Cournoyer came in two seconds behind Christophel for third in the event. Just 16 points would separate first from fifth place after day one, with Vellner and Smith tied for first and Cournoyer tied for second with Adam Davidson.
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No stranger to Madison, WI is Prevost, who played for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s women’s hockey team and has represented Canada in hockey on a couple of international stages. It turns out she’s pretty good at functional fitness, too. Prevost finished Friendly Fran off 20 seconds faster than second-place Anikha Greer, a fellow Canadian out of Prince Edward Island. Prevost would also take event two for a perfect day one. While Prevost sat far atop the leaderboard, the following four spots would be separated by just four points, with Greer and Johnson tied for second.
Teams grappled with a synchro version of Friendly Fran, which threw in burpees for good measure. Pro1 Montreal finished first, with nearly 30 seconds of cushion ahead of CrossFit Resurrection out of Ontario. 1855, also out of Ontario, would take third. The same teams would go one-two-three respectively in event two, a synchro version of the individual event with heavy dumbbell strength movements and GHD sit-ups.
Day Two Recap
Coming into day two with tight individual races for qualifying spots, every point mattered. Event three served up 600 double-unders and 60 muscle-ups, and Vellner was hungry for the win. He’d get it, with nearly 40 seconds to spare ahead of fellow Canadian and Jeffrey Adler. Christophel would take third in the event.
But where’s Canadian and “Professor” Brent Fikowski been? Biding his time and thinking meticulously through every event. Remember that at six-foot-two, thrusters, pull-ups, and muscle-ups aren’t to his advantage. But Fikowski struck on event four, completing 20 snatches at 245 pounds, the only athlete to do so. Canadian Paul Tremblay followed in second and Adler in third, an event that would shift the leaderboard in itself. Smith fell to seventh, Vellner held the top spot, and Vigneault moved into a qualifying spot.
Americans showed up to take the top three spots in event three, with Games veteran Mekenzie Riley shining on the double-unders and muscle-up event in first place. Snatches proved to be the right recipe for 21-year-old Canadian Syndey Michalyshen to grab an event win, with 24 snatches at 165 pounds. It was not a good day for previous leader Prevost, who took 18th and 12th on these events, respectively, and dropped to third after day two. Riley and Michalyshen moved into the top two spots, respectively.
Teams also took on big sets of muscle-ups and double unders in gendered pairs, also with front rack lunges. Pro1 Montreal took their third straight win, followed by 1855 and Team Koda out of Oklahoma. Event four is the popular team clean-and-jerk and snatch max, with one of each team gender taking one of each lift. Rhapsody liked the sound of a heavy barbell and took first in this event, followed by Invictus Sorrento Valley and ever-consistent 1855. Pro1 Montreal would hold on to the top overall spot, and Rhapsody and Team Koda would move into qualifying spots after day two.
Day Three Recap
Speaking of events long-limbed Fikowski is good at, let’s talk about the rowing and rope climbs in event five. These two movements were enough to make up for a lot of weight overhead in a handstand walk, as he just beat his pal Vellner for a two-second edge in the event. Event six introduced athletes to new girl Grettel, a girl WOD consisting of 10 rounds of three clean-and-jerks and three bar-facing burpees. American Cole Greashaber out of Missouri won a second ahead of Tremblay, two seconds ahead of Vellner. An incredibly close top 10 on the event made for an incredibly close overall finish.
Handstand walks, rope climbs, and rows were a good combination for Emily Rolfe to take her first event win ahead of American individual rookie Baylee Rayl. Prevost would climb to the top again in Grettel, finishing in 2:32 ahead of Rayl, who made a late surge on day three into a qualifying spot for her first trip to Madison.
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Teams took on paired rows, handstand walks, and rope climbs, and dominant Pro1 Montreal was the only team to finish ahead of the time cap. Rhapsody took second and Team Koda third. Teams took on Grettel and her friend Ingrid, a snatch version of Grettel. CrossFit Resurrection would grab an event win on the girls, followed by Pro1 Montreal and Rhapsody.
All that remains between now and the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games is the Last Chance Qualifier competition next weekend, giving athletes and teams who narrowly missed their bid to Madison a final opportunity to qualify. These will take place virtually July 2-4. The Games are set to take place from July 27 through August 1 in Madison, WI.
Featured image: @pvellner on Instagram / Photo by Kelsey Goodwin