Five-time CrossFit Games winner Mathew Fraser announced his retirement from the sport of CrossFit over Instagram on Feb. 2, 2021. His caption stated, “Today I leave the sport older, wiser, fitter, and grateful.” You can check out Fraser’s Instagram post below:
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Fraser’s CrossFit Career
Fraser — who is 31 years old — is considered to be the most decorated and dominant CrossFit athlete ever to compete. In October of 2020, he won his fifth CrossFit Games title, besting Rich Froning Jr.’s previous record of four wins. He put on one of the best performances ever seen at a CrossFit Games, sweeping all four events on day two of the 2020 Games and winning 10 out of 12 total events.
Fraser made his CrossFit Open debut in 2013 at the age of 23 to a 192nd place finish. He improved 185 ranks in 2014 to finish seventh. Since 2015, he ranked first in the Open four times (2015, 2017-19) and was the runner-up in 2020. His career spanned seven appearances at the CrossFit Games, and he never finished worst than second place.
Mat Fraser’s debut at the CrossFit Games was in 2014, where he finished as the runner-up. He repeated that finish in 2015 before embarking on his string of five consecutive titles — the most of any CrossFit athlete ever. Additionally, he currently holds the record with the most event wins in Games history with 29.
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In addition to the Games titles and Open wins, Fraser won the 2019 Dubai CrossFit® Championship, the 2019 Rogue Invitational, and the 2020 Strength In Depth.
Fraser’s post didn’t offer up a lot of specifics or context into why he’s retiring. Though, it read upbeat and humble.
Like so many others that wandered into a CrossFit Gym, I wasn’t expecting to find my best friends, business partners, wife, and countless life lessons, and 5 gold medals.
Fraser also mentioned that he will remain “a part of the CrossFit community. I just won’t be doing it from the competition floor any longer.”
Fraser Before CrossFit
Before CrossFit, Fraser was a competitive Olympic weightlifter — a sport he first got into around age 12. He earned a Junior National Weightlifting Championship title in 2009 at age 19. Later that year, he suffered a back injury sustained from a clean pull that was later worsened by a squat. It was bad enough to threaten his competitive athletic future. On the first episode of his podcast with Josh Bridges and Sevan Matossian, he admitted that a sudden re-injuring of his back is a fear that lingered in his mind his entire CrossFit career: “I’m always half expecting to rebreak my back or for my knee to bend the wrong way.”
In an interview with Tommy Marquez in Sept. 2017, Fraser shared that he should have allowed that injury more recovery time. A year after his back surgery he was able to hit the same weight in the snatch and clean & jerk that he could before the injury, but that training to get there was overly risky: “…if I could go back and do that again, I would have stretched that recovery out over a year and a half, two years.”
For two years (2010-11), he was a resident athlete at the Olympic Education Center before making his competitive CrossFit debut in 2013.
The CrossFit Community Reacts
Following the news of Fraser’s retirement from competitive CrossFit, members of the CrossFit community took to social media.
Dave Castro, CrossFit Games Director
Good luck on the next chapter in your life Champ.
— Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) February 2, 2021
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Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, Four-Time Fittest Woman on Earth®
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Patrick Vellner, CrossFit Games Athlete
“It’s a privilege to compete next to you and call you a friend, No one deserves some time off more. Looking forward to catching you on the sideline and watching you crush whatever comes next.” – Written on Fraser’s retirement post.
Dan Bailey. CrossFit Games Veteran
“Congrats Mat Fraser. I’m glad I got to be on the floor with you during your incredible career.” – Written on Fraser’s retirement post.
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