The story of the 2020 CrossFit Games Final’s was the same all weekend long: Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey straight-up dominated. With Fraser and Toomey earning their record-breaking fifth and fourth Games titles, respectively, and racking of a combined 19 wins of the 12 events (10/12 for Fraser and nine/12 for Toomey) — it’s hard to disagree.
But let’s not lose sight of the other competitors. Throughout what can be considered one of the toughest Games to date, the eight athletes competing alongside Fraser and Toomey accomplished some amazing feats and displayed warrior-like grit and determination. So, we’re going to shift the spotlight onto the other eight athletes in the Games and highlight seven standout moments. These include:
- Justin Medeiros and Haley Adams proving that they’re the future of the sport.
- Jeffrey Adler out-lifting Fraser in the CrossFit Total.
- Brooke Wells showing off her serious strength chops.
- Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir‘s strong comeback in days two and three.
- Adler nearly beating Fraser in the Bike Repeater event.
- Samuel Kwant really pushing the pace in events nine through 11.
- Kari Pearce finishing Atalanta before all nine other competitors.
Top Performances by NOT Fraser and Toomey
Here is a breakdown of seven noteworthy performances that either helped to shift the momentum for the day or were pure feats of athleticism and strength.
Medeiros and Adams Earning Their Games Stripes
The youngest proved that they could hang with the fittest. Twenty-one-year old Games rookie Justin Medeiros and 19-year-old Haley Adams showed glimpses of serious star potential throughout the Games Finals. Medeiros and his mullet racked up eight top-three finishes and refused to be intimidated by the top dog, Fraser. During the Ranch Loop on day one, Medeiros was right beside Fraser for the race’s entirety and finished just behind Fraser. It was a physical pushing of the pace by Medeiros, but also a signal that he was to be taken seriously.
For the women, Haley Adam’s racked up six top-three finishes. Though she struggled with the strength events, Adams made up for her shortcomings in the speed-focused feats. She placed second in the Ranch Loop, Bike Repeater, and Swm ‘N’ Stuff. Overall, Adams placed fourth, but she demonstrated her ability to get back up after being knocked down — and in the Games, that matters.
Jeffrey Adler’s PR Triple Threat
Adler claimed the Finals’ first upset when he out-lifted Fraser by seven pounds in the CrossFit Total. As impressive was Adler’s ability to hit four new personal records — one on the back squat (470 pounds) and shoulder press (210 pounds) and two on the deadlift (550 and 567 pounds).
What seemed to be a weight miscalculation by Fraser cost him the win in this event. However, that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) take away from the significance of Adler’s PRs and being the first man to upset Fraser in the Finals. To hit a heavy back squat, a shoulder press, and then to deadlift for two PRs is just insane.
Brooke Wells Shows off her Strength Chops
Of the women, Brooke Wells gave Toomey the biggest challenge in any event that required raw strength. She trailed the Fittest Woman on Earth® by just six pounds in the CrossFit Total event and got second in the Snatch Speed Triple, completing her final 185-pound snatch just six seconds after Toomey. And of course, you can’t forget her first-place finish in the handstand sprint, no doubt thanks to her incredible core and shoulder strength, where Wells powered through the 100-yard handstand sprint without breaking form once.
You could say that Well’s third second-place performance in Sprint Sled Sprint was an accomplishment of endurance. But it was during the 80-pound sled push that she made up ground. Despite placing fifth overall, Wells proved that her strength is something to be feared in competition. If she’s got a barbell in her hands, then a win over Wells is never guaranteed.
Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir’s Stellar Comeback
Heading into the final event of day one, the Ranch Loop, Davíðsdóttir was in fifth place overall with only one top-three finish (second in the Corn Sack Sprint). The two-time CrossFit Games champion (2015, 2016) channeled her inner winner and completed the Ranch Loop two minutes ahead of Adams and six minutes ahead of Toomey. Then, she racked up six more top-three finishes, including an impressive second-place finish in Atalanta — the toughest event in CrossFit Games history. Her spirited comeback was good enough for second place overall.
Adler and Fraser’s “Fast and Furious” Moment in Event Eight
There’s a scene in 2001’s “Fast and Furious” when Paul Walker pulls ahead of Vin Diesel to almost win a quarter-mile race. As Walker zips past him, Diesel smirks, relaxes, and then throttles it to overpower Walker. In round nine of the Bike Repeater, Adler was wheel-to-wheel with Fraser. Then, he inched ahead of him, climbed his 15-foot rope first, and started to break away from Fraser on his bike in the final round.
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But, like Vin Diesel, Fraser chose his moment and then passed the Canadian to finish first. And just as Walker infamously said, “Dude, I almost had you,” Adler walked over to slap Fraser on the back and remind him that a loss is indeed possible.
Samuel Kwant’s Events Nine through 11 Blitz
The last event of day two was a total surprise. Ironically called Happy Star, the athletes had to complete four rounds of hill runs (varying distances) with burpees and then increasingly heavy thrusters. It was Kwant who claimed second, rounding out day two in third place overall up from fifth. Kwant’s strong performance must’ve lit a fire under him because he entered day three a man on a mission.
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In the Swim ‘N’ Stuff event, Kwant out-grinded Fraser in the pool, on the airdyne bike, and with the GHD sit-ups and ball slams to beat him by almost 10 seconds. Then, in Sprint Sled Sprint, Kwant made up serious ground on the final 100-yard sprint to finish four-tenths of a second behind Fraser. It was a photo finish. With three other top-three finishes to his name, Kwant’s final-day push was enough to earn him second-place overall.
Kari Pearce Winning Atalanta
An hour before the final event, teased as Atalanta, Dave Castro debriefed the athletes. The workouts, which Castro teased as the hardest ever, would consist of 100 handstand push-ups, 200 single-leg squats, and 300 pull-ups, sandwiched between two one-mile runs. All of the athletes would compete at once, with Toomey and Fraser in the middle lanes.
Heading into the event, Fraser and Toomey had their wins on lock. But Kari Pearce still had the chance to move up two spots to earn her first-ever podium finish at the Games, which would also end the American women’s podium drought. In what may be one the grittiest and gutsy performances ever seen in a CrossFit Games, Pearce finished ahead of every man and woman on the field. When you consider her core strength and gymnastics background, bodyweight movements are certainly in Pearce’s wheelhouse. Still, she was 11 grueling events into the weekend and managed to pull off a win in Atalanta. Seriously, hats off to Kari Pearce.
More on the CrossFit Games Finals
If you want to read up more on the 2020 CrossFit Games Finals, you can read our recaps of day one, day two, and day three. Also, check out our results and leaderboard page for more in-depth coverage of the entire weekend.
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