Noah Ohlsen is no stranger to high-level CrossFit competition. Once a young gun in the sport, he’s now a seasoned veteran, complete with a podium finish (second place overall) at the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games. He had some very memorable moments from last year’s Games, including wearing the white leader jersey for a brief period of time before Mat Fraser overtook him (once again) for the top spot. It’s a lead Fraser would hold for the remainder of that competition.
After Stage 1 of this year’s CrossFit Games, Ohlsen finds himself in a familiar position: Second place behind Fraser. Noah put up a series of solid finishes across the seven Stage 1 workouts, including a win on the Handstand Hold event. While Fraser had a dominating performance in that portion of the competition, Noah has clearly established himself as the man to challenge the four-time defending champion (assuming anyone CAN challenge Fraser, of course).
[Related: What’s Noah Ohlsen’s diet?]
Remember, points reset before the Finals in Aromas, California, so the Top 5 men in this year’s competition will go into that stage on even footing: Mat Fraser, Noah Ohlsen, Justin Medeiros, Samuel Kwant, and Jeffrey Adler.
Noah Ohlsen’s 2020 CrossFit Games Performance
In the video above, we cover the following topics:
- 00:00 Noah Ohlsen’s qualification for this year’s Finals
- 00:37 Noah’s performance in Stage 1
- 01:26 Going back and forth with Fraser during Stage 1
- 03:12 Winning the Handstand Hold
- 04:30 What kind of shape is Noah in right now?
- 05:10 Comparing Noah to the other finalists
Noah Ohlsen’s Finals Performance
Noah came into the Finals as the 2019 runner-up.
Event One — 2007 Reloaded
- 1,500-meter row
Then five rounds of:
- 10 bar muscle-ups
- 7 shoulder-to-overheads — 235 pounds
Ohlsen looked steady in the row with the fastest pace in the field and was the first to advance to the second stage of the event. However, it was all downhill from there. Long breaks at the barbell throughout the event allowed for the rest of the field to surge past Ohlsen. He struggled with the heavy barbell lifts and was nearly a full round behind by the time the other four men completed the event. Ohlsen started his Finals with a last-place finish.
Event Two — Corn Sack Sprint
320-meter hill sprint with a corn sack — 50 pounds
Ohlsen was smooth through this event. He didn’t make any moves to catch up to Fraser and Kwant after they broke away from the group, but also didn’t let up any ground to Adler and Medeiros who would bring up the rear. A third-place finish in event two bounced him back up after a lackluster performance in 2007 reloaded.
Event Three — CrossFit Total
For total load:
1-rep-max back squat
1-rep-max shoulder press
Ohlsen was posting some big numbers and was his own cheerleader during the event audibly saying “Yeah, baby!” when he knew he had a successful squat. He was pushing his limits in this event as he failed to hit a 212-pound shoulder press, but otherwise performed only successful lifts. Here were the lifts he posted on his way to a 1,200-pound total for a third-place finish:
- Squat — 455 pounds
- Shoulder Press — 205 pounds
- Deadlift — 532 pounds
Event Four — Handstand Sprint
100-yard handstand walk
The commentary team made note of how Ohlsen has historically excelled in gymnastics events and that this was potentially a spot where he could make up some ground on the leaderboard. He was not able to outpace Fraser or Medeiros, but did manage to snag a third-place finish with a time of 1:39.45.
Event Five — Ranch Loop
Run along 3-mile± course through varying terrain
Had the run been what the competitors expected — one lap around the ranch — Ohlsen would have landed a fourth-place finish after battling back and forth with Adler for the middle position. When the twist was revealed that there was an entire reverse lap back around the ranch tacked on to the event, Ohlsen was able to capitalize and seize third place.
Event Six — Toes-To-Bar/Lunge
30-20-10 reps for time:
- Kettlebell lunge (yards) — 32 kilogram kettlebells
This opening event of Day Two looked like it was going to be Ohlsen’s first win, but a tactical placement of the kettlebells on the toes-to-bars frame rather than at the line that signaled the starting point for each length by Fraser was the difference maker. It saved Fraser enough time to overtake Ohlsen’s lead and score the win leaving Ohlsen to finish second.
Event Seven — Snatch Speed Triple
One snatch at each bar
- Quarterfinal — 225-235-245 pounds
- Semifinal — 245-255-265 pounds
- Final — 265-275-285 pounds
The strength events are not as strong for Ohlsen historically as the gymnastic events and that showed here. He was able to best Medeiros to sneak into the semifinals, but didn’t have the speed to get into the finals which left him with a fourth-place finish.
Event Eight — Bike Repeater
- 440-meter bike sprint
- One legless rope climb — 15 feet
Ohlsen started out strong in this event, but slowed down as the event went on. By the time all 10 rounds were complete, he had fallen to the back of the pack. His official time of 14:20.82 put him in last place.
Event Nine — Happy Star
200- to 300-meter hill run
5-7-9-11 reps of:
- Thruster — 135-145-155-165-pounds
The strength events favored Fraser, Kwant, and Adler in this particular field and that was on display in this event. Ohlsen posted a solid time of 8:54.53, but it was only good enough for fourth place.
Event Ten — Swim ‘N’ Stuff
Four rounds, each for time:
- Air bike calories (10 | 15)
- 50-meter swim
- 10 GHD sit-ups
- 10 ball slams — 60 pounds
Begin a new round every four minutes
*Rounds two and four performed in reverse
As was the case with many prior events, Ohlsen came out of the gate fast and was the first in the pool in the first round. As the event went on, his times slowed and he finished in fourth place with a time that was 45 seconds slower than Kwant, who won the event.
Event Eleven — Sprint Sled Sprint
100-yard sled push — 105-pound sled
In a blisteringly fast event that came down to a photo finish between Fraser and Kwant, Ohlsen was left behind to a fourth-place finish despite a fast time of 1:03.89.
Event Twelve — Atalanta
For time while wearing a 20-pound vest:
- One-mile run
- 100 handstand push-ups
- 200 pistol squats
- 300 pull-ups
- One-mile run
In what Dave Castro deemed the toughest event of the Finals, Ohlsen excelled. He was the first of the men to finish the pull-ups and start the final mile. However, the gas in the tank ran low and Fraser was able to overtake him and score the win. A second-place finish was good, but not quite enough to place him on the podium. Hindsight is 20/20, but had Ohlsen been able to close out a win in this event, he would have bumped Medeiros off the podium by the narrow margin of five points.
What did you think of Ohlsen’s CrossFit Games performance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!