The 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games are scheduled for July 27 through Aug. 1, 2021, in Madison, WI. The full Games roster is set, CrossFit General Manager of Sport Dave Castro has been trickling out a list of the Games events on social media, and the first six athletes to encounter those events as part of this year’s Demo Team have been officially selected.
2021 CrossFit Games Demo Team
- Alison Scudds — Team Captain
- Chyna Cho
- Christine Kolenbrander
- Khan Porter
- James Newbury
- Tola Morakinyo
Per CrossFit HQ’s announcement, the Games Demo Team consists of athletes who will “demonstrate the movements and events at the CrossFit Games.” That means they will be the first athletes to perform the events that the top 40 men and top 40 women who qualified for the Games will perform come competition time. It will offer Castro a sense of how long each event will take to complete, how the athletes are likely to feel throughout each event, and time to make necessary adjustments.
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Alison Scudds — Demo Team Captain
For the 2021 Games season, Scudds made it through to the West Coast Classic — one of 10 CrossFit Semifinals — where she ranked ninth overall — four ranks shy of qualifying for the Games. Despite her narrow miss to making CrossFit’s grandest stage, her performance garnered her an invite to lead the Games Demo Team.
Scudds finished the 2021 CrossFit Open in 135th position overall. Her Quarterfinals performance saw her rank 43rd in North America. She has previously been to the CrossFit Games in 2019 as part of Team Central Beasts, where she finished in fifth place alongside teammates Emma Chapman, Nicole Holcomb, Zach Sowder, Ryan Sowder, and Joseph Tortora.
Cho finished the 2021 Open in 181st position to score a spot in the virtual Quarterfinals, where she finished 51st overall in North America. She competed in the Atlas Games Semifinal event, ultimately landing six ranks shy of a Games invite.
Cho has been to the CrossFit Games every year since 2014 — except for 2020. From 2014 to 2018, she competed as an individual. Her best finish was a sixth-place rank in 2015. In 2019, she competed in the Team Division on team CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and scored gold.
Kolenbrander made her individual debut in the 2021 Open with a rank of 159th. She finished 16th overall in the Quarterfinals for North America to qualify for the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Semifinal, which was won by reigning four-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr. Kolenbrander just missed qualifying for the Games in sixth place (the top five scored invites) but still earned a chance to compete in the virtual Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).
Kolenbrander placed ninth in the LCQ to miss out on the Games. Her previous trips to the Games came in 2017 and 2018 as a member of team CrossFit 417, where she finished in 12th and fifth, respectively.
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Porter’s 2021 Games journey began with a 33rd-place finish in the Open — an improvement of 25 ranks from 2020. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the Oceania Quarterfinals, bested only by Jay Crouch. As was the case with Kolenbrander, Porter’s Games invite slipped out of reach by just one rank when he finished sixth overall at the Torian Pro Semifinal.
Porter competed in the LCQ but could not capture one of the top two slots needed to qualify for the Games — he finished fifth overall. He has competed at the Games as an individual in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. In 2019, he made his Team Division debut culminating in a 13th-place finish with team Project X.
Newbury began the 2021 Games season with a 725th-place finish in the worldwide Open. He improved significantly during the Oceania Quarterfinals when he finished 15th overall. At the Torian Pro Semifinal, where the top three men were given invites to the Games, Newbury ranked fourth. In the LCQ, he finished in 10th, and his 2021 Games hopes were dashed.
However, Newbury will still be in Madison, WI, as part of the Demo Team, and his experience at the Games will likely prove valuable. From 2016-2019, Newbury competed at the Games as an individual. His best finish was fifth in 2019. Newbury has also taken up Bobsledding (along with Toomey-Orr).
Morakinyo is known for his prowess with a barbell. He finished the 2021 Open in 463rd place and followed it up with a 37th-place rank in the North American Quarterfinal. He competed in the West Coast Classic semifinal to a ninth-place finish, which left him outside the LCQ and ultimately the 2021 Games.
Morakinyo has thrice competed at the Games previously (2017-2019) in the Team Division. In 2017 and 2018, he competed with team Back Bay to 11th and ninth-place finishes, respectively. In 2019, as part of team Invictus Boston, he finished in 12th alongside Royce Dunne, Kaitlyn Kassis, Craig Kenney, and Kelsey Kiel.
2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games
The 2021 CrossFit Games will feature over 600 athletes across 27 different divisions competing at the Alliant Energy Center. There will be 40 men and 40 women competing as individuals and 38 teams competing in the Rx’d divisions. Additionally, the top five men and top five women from the Open in three adaptive divisions — Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, and Neuromuscular — will compete.
Spectators will be allowed, and they are guaranteed to witness a new Fittest Man on Earth® be crowned. The current reigning five-time Fittest Man on Earth® Mat Fraser retired from competitive CrossFit on Feb. 2, 2021, and the 2020 CrossFit Games runner-up Samuel Kwant failed to qualify for the Games.
Other top finishers from the 2020 Games will be present in Madison, including bronze medalist Justin Medeiros and the entire 2020 podium from the Women’s division — Toomey-Orr, Katrín Davídsdóttir, and Kari Pearce. Additionally, 2020 Games finalists Jeffrey Adler, Haley Adams, and Brooke Wells have earned their way back to CrossFit’s biggest stage.
Feature image: @christine.kole on Instagram