Given such dominant performances by Mat Fraser and Tia-Claire Toomey (and Rich Froning before them), it is easy to forget that there are other athletes accomplishing incredible feats in the history of the CrossFit Games.
To me, ignoring Katrin Davidsdottir’s 6-year Top 5 Streak would be like ignoring Tim Duncan’s commanding performances during the Decade of Shaq and Kobe.
The title of “Fittest Woman on Earth” has been earned by Tia-Clair Toomey or Katrin Davidsdottir for each of the last five years. Davidsdottir has finished among the Top 5 women every year since 2015, winning two titles along the way.
To better understand how impressive Davidsdottir’s streak really is, we need to go back to the final heat of Event 5 at the 2014 Europe Regional. This was back when athletes were still able to make it far into the season—and even onto the Games—with unexposed weaknesses.
This was her third Games season, and she came into Event 5 of the Europe Regional the overall leader in points. The Event, 10 Rounds of 1 Legless 14-ft Rope Climb and 200-ft Sprint had been challenging to many of the women competing in the earlier heats, and by the end of the day, only 16 of the 39 women in the European Regional were able to successfully complete it under the 11-minute time cap.
Davidsdottir went into the event knowing that legless rope climbs were a weakness of hers, but it wasn’t until the 8th round that another, more crippling weakness was exposed.
“I finished 7 rope climbs, and on my 8th, I failed one and immediately I just crumbled. I lost it mentally. It was more like a mental breakdown rather than anything physical, because I was in good shape that year.”
With a 24th place finish for the Event, and with only two Events left in the weekend, she was unable move back up the leaderboard, finishing the 2014 Europe Regional in 6th place overall and missing out on an invitation to the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games.
And that’s when everything changed. Determined to work on her mental game, she read books on Sports Psychology, and biographies of athletes who came back from failure stronger than ever. She also moved from her native Iceland to Boston and started working more closely with Ben Bergeron as her coach, ahead of the 2015 season.
On her return to the Reebok CrossFit Games in 2015, Davidsdottir beat out rookie Toomey (and 37 other women) for the title of “Fittest Woman on Earth,” and what would mark the beginning of her Top 5 Streak.
She credits Bergeron for helping her turn her weaknesses—including her mental game—into strengths.
“Anyone who knows him knows that he builds mentally strong athletes. I’ve totally transformed as an athlete mentally, and that’s something, I think, that got me to the top this year.”
In 2016, Davíðsdóttir once again edged out Toomey for her second consecutive title as “Fittest Woman on Earth.” She went on to place 5th in 2017, 3rd in 2018, and 4th in 2019 for a streak of five Top 5 finishes.
And while we won’t know her final 2020 standing until the end of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games Finals this weekend, her Top 5 streak will continue, given that only the Top 5 Men and Top 5 Women are currently competing for the title of 2020’s Fittest on Earth.