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The 5 Most Dominant Performances at the 2020 CrossFit Games, Stage One

From big lifts to new records, we break down the most memorable performances.

During stage one of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games, 60 athletes — 30 men and 30 women — competed in seven events across two days. Some things may not have come as a surprise, like how Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey dominated their respective divisions. Other things did shock, which is what we’re going to break down here:

  • Fraser and Toomey had record-setting performances. 
  • Fraser’s Friendly Fran time — a winning 3:08.
  • Katrin Davidsdottir’s handstand holds performance.
  • Griffin Roelle’s massive 490-pound max front squat.
  • Haley Adams and Justin Medeiros — the two youngest athletes in the field — both placing third.

Honorable mentions go out to Noah Ohlsen’s 401-pound front squat PR and Roman Khrennikov’s insane 2:48.9 time on the 1,000-meter row.

[Related: 2020 CrossFit Games Results and Leaderboard]

1. New Games Records Were Set

Fraser and Toomey had incredible stage one performances that, admittedly, may have been overshadowed by this year’s virtual set up. Not only did stage one pose mental challenges for the competitors, but some of the excitement was lost on fans as they had to wait hours after the athletes performed to hear the results.

So, let’s take a moment to appreciate Mat Fraser winning stage one by 168 points and capturing four event wins, upping his total amount of Games event wins to a record-setting 19. The previous record was 16 event wins, held by four-time Fittest Man on Earth Rich Froning. Tia-Clair Toomey won by a narrower margin of 35 points but set the record for most events won in a row with three. 

2. Mat Fraser’s Friendly Fran Time

On day one, athletes knew they would have to tackle a remix of the well-known WOD Fran. The difference between normal Fran and Friendly Fran is that unlike the former, which has a rep scheme of 21-15-9 over three rounds, Friendly Fran ups the weight by 20 pounds (for both men and women) and keeps the reps at 21 for all three rounds.

CrossFit Games veteran Dan Bailey and CrossFit CEO Eric Roza performed the workout ahead of the Games to help set expectations. Roza, who at 53 years old, understandably scaled the weight down to 95 pounds, performed Friendly Fran in a time of 8:43. Meanwhile, Bailey crushed the workout in 5:16 and predicted that most athletes would complete Friendly Fran in the four-minute range. No one told Fraser that, who performed it in 3:08 — a full 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Noah Ohlsen. 

3. Katrín Davíðsdóttir’s Handstand Hold Performance

Two-Time Games winner Katrín Davíðsdóttir kept a low profile most of day one, finishing in the top five in only one of the four events. However, on day two, she kicked things into high gear by winning both Nasty Nancy in 18:16 and the freestanding handstand hold with a time of 2:54. She won the handstand event by 41 seconds by employing a smart strategy of lowering her center of gravity via a split handstand:

[Related: Everything You Want to Know About Katrin Davidsdottir’s Diet]

Davidsdottir’s big day two jumped her into fourth place overall for a chance to compete in the finals.

4. Griffin Roelle’s 490-Pound Front Squat

Griffin Roelle may not have ended up at the top of the leaderboard — he finished 25th overall — but his big moment came during event two on day one when he displayed unbelievable strength with a 490-pound max front squat for the win. For context, that lift is 2.4-times his bodyweight.

The event allowed athletes 20 minutes to perform as many attempts as they wanted to establish a max front squat. Roelle’s 490-pound squat bested the rest of the field by a wide margin, outdoing runner-up Tyler Christophel by 33 pounds. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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In the women’s division, Toomey excelled in the front squat event and won it with a 313-pound lift — which is also 2.4-times her bodyweight. Considering Toomey represented Australia’s Weightlifting team in the 2016 Olympic Games, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. 

[Related: The Insider’s Guide to Tia-Clair Toomey’s CrossFit Diet]

5. The New Generation Showed Up

At 19 years old, Haley Adams was the youngest athlete at the Games. Justin Medeiros was the youngest in the men’s division at just 21 years of age (along with fellow individual rookie at CrossFit Games Jay Crouch, who finished 18th overall). Both Adams and Medeiros had stellar performances in stage one and earned a ticket to the finals. They both ranked third overall. Here were the highlights from their sage one performances:

Justin Medeiros

The 2019 Filthy 150 winner had a reasonably consistent performance throughout the weekend that included three top-five finishes. Here’s how he ranked through all seven events:

  • Friendly Fran — Tied 10th, 4:10
  • One-Rep Max Front Squat — 3rd, 437 lbs
  • Damn Diane — 19th, 5:07
  • 1,000-meter Row — 15th, 2:59
  • Nasty Nancy — 2nd, 18:19
  • Handstand Hold — Tied 11th, 1:14
  • Awful Annie — 4th, 9:09

The hybrid model competition unique to 2020 may not be what Medeiros expected for his CrossFit Games debut. Still, he will nonetheless have the chance to compete for the $300,000 purse and title of Fittest Man on Earth in October.

Haley Adams

Adams has competed at the Games every year since 2016, but made her debut in the women’s division in 2019 and ranked sixth overall. The 19-year-old returned in 2020 by way of her third-place finish at Strength in Depth. Here is the breakdown of her stage one:

  • Friendly Fran — Tied 5th, 4:36
  • One-Rep Max Front Squat — 26th, 230 lbs
  • Damn Diane — 12th, 3:40
  • 1,000-meter Row — Tied 6th, 3:21.3
  • Nasty Nancy — 4th, 18:53
  • Handstand Hold — Tied 4th, 1:59
  • Awful Annie — 4th, 9:19

Adams has already improved upon her finish in 2019 as the worst she can place now is fifth. She joins Davidsdottir, Brooke Wells, and Kari Pearce as the only women left between Toomey and a fourth consecutive CrossFit Games title.

Don’t Miss the CrossFit Games Finals

The 10 qualifying athletes will have their points reset, and head to Aromas, California, the week of October 19-25 to compete for $300,000 and the title of Fittest on Earth. You can also check out our Friday and Saturday coverage for more information on stage one. 

Feature image via CrossFit Dwala’s Instagram page: @crossfitdwala

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