After a particularly long season, the final day of the 2020 CrossFit Games kicked off at 10 a.m. PT, on Sunday, Oct. 25. By the end of the day we’d crown the Fittest on Earth.
The 10th event of the competition, Swim ‘N’ Stuff, challenged athletes to four rounds, each for time, of (10/15) calories on the Air Bike, a 50-meter swim, 10 GHD sit-ups, and 10 ball slams (40/60 lb.). Athletes began a new round every 4 minutes — and in an interesting twist, Rounds 2 and 4 were performed in reverse.
Also on the menu was Sprint Sled Sprint: a 100-yard sled push sandwiched between two 100-yard sprints.
The final event remained unknown, and athletes and fans were left to decipher what Atalanta could possibly hold in store. All we knew was that CrossFit Director of Sport Dave Castro said it would be “the most difficult final of any Games, if not the most difficult event, to date.”
Reigning and defending Games champions Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey entered the day with comfortable cushions, boasting 435-point and 290-point leads, respectively, over the rest of the field.
The point spread for second through fifth on both the men’s and women’s sides, though, was tight, and podium spots were still up for grabs. The points breakdown this year made for a volatile leaderboard with places shifting after each event throughout the weekend.
Swim ‘N’ Stuff
Athletes took to the pool for the first event of Sunday. Once considered a separator, swim events have become staples of the CrossFit Games.
The men hopped into the water first at the Morgan Hill Aquatics Center.
Wet hands made for slippery slam balls. Overall leader Fraser had a few missteps with the ball, costing him precious seconds, and Samuel Kwant held the best cumulative time through three rounds.
In Round 4, the battle was between Fraser and Kwant. Fraser beat Kwant by 2 seconds that round but it wasn’t enough to knock him out of first for the event, and Kwant earned his first 2020 CrossFit Games event win.
“I think I was just able to hold on a little longer than everybody else,” Kwant said after the win. “At this point I’m just trying to keep my breakfast down,” he added.
@samuelkwant 🇺🇸 after winning Event 10, Swim ‘N’ Stuff: “I honestly wasn’t sure, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be my event or not. I think I was just able to hold on a little longer than everyone else. It was all about the assault bike. And that hurt really bad … . At this point, I’m just trying to keep my breakfast down. It was pretty gnarly.” On getting to test out all the modalities so far: “I think @thedavecastro nailed it so far. And it’s definitely been a good test so far. It’s been gnarly.” There are three different movement modalities in CrossFit: monostructural metabolic conditioning or “cardio” (“M”), gymnastics or body weight (“G”), and weightlifting (“W”). Categorizing movements by modality is one way to look at the balance we find in a WOD. A big part of the magic in @CrossFit programming is the way these modalities are combined. — #CrossFitGames #CrossFit #Fitness #workout #sports #FittestonEarth #Swimwod #CrossFitTraining Images by @flsportsguy
The women were up next and the swim made the difference. Overall leader Toomey is known for being a beast in the water so all eyes were on Haley Adams as she sailed to victory in the first interval. From there, though, Toomey settled in to take intervals two through four, sealing up yet another event win.
Even when she wasn’t the first in the water, more often than not, Toomey was the first to finish the 50 meters as her strokes seemed to propel her body at warp speed through the clear pool water.
“This is what we train all year for — especially this year,” Toomey said after the win. “We have trained for the CrossFit Games for over 12 months now as the Open was last October. I’m just thankful to be able to compete this year with everything that’s going on.”
On whether her mindset has changed after having a great day yesterday: “New day. In my eyes, the leaderboard is back at zero and we’re all fighting for the same spot. It’s just go all out until the very last workout.” @tiaclair1 🇦🇺 rises to the challenges of a new day at the CrossFit Games with her seventh event win in Swim ‘N’ Stuff. Her time of 8:26.48 was just ahead of @haleyadamssss 🇺🇸 at 8:40.41 and @katrintanja 🇮🇸 at 8:47.62. — #CrossFitGames #swimwod #fitness #CrossFit #CrossFitTraining #sports Images by @doooker
Sprint Sled Sprint
Athletes moved to the field at the Morgan Hill Sports Complex for Event 11: Sprint Sled Sprint. The event, which featured two 100-yard sprints on either end of a 100-yard sled push, was a quick one.
The women were up first and it looked as if they had been shot out of a cannon. But by the time they reached the sled, Wells and Toomey separated themselves from the rest of the field. Wells implored an upright sled-pushing position, while Toomey pushed more with the legs leaning hard into the sled with bent arms.
Toomey would outsprint Wells on the final push to win the event with a time of 1:05.23. Wells came in just behind her (1:07.81), followed by Davidsdottir in third (1:12.57), Adams in fourth (1:14.93), and Pearce in fifth (1:24.51).
When asked about her propensity to give 100 percent effort even when she’s so far ahead in the overall standings, Toomey said, “I think it comes down to me not being satisfied if I don’t give it my absolute best.”
The men took the field next and Ohlsen was the first to finish the initial sprint and reach the sled. But Kwant and Fraser overtook Ohlsen shortly thereafter. Once they ditched the sleds, a sprint-off between Kwant and Fraser ensued. Fraser edged out Kwant by less than a second, taking the win. Medeiros wrapped up third (1:01.97), while Ohlsen and Adler took fourth (1:03.89) and fifth (1:05.64), respectively.
At 2 p.m. PT, back at the Ranch in Aromas, California, CrossFit Director of Sport Dave Castro let athletes in on the details of Atalanta, the final event of the 2020 CrossFit Games.
The athletes looked on as Castro unfolded what he considers the most difficult final of any Games: a 1-mile run, followed by 100 handstand push-ups, 200 single-leg squats, and 300 pull-ups, and another 1-mile run — all while wearing a weight vest (14/20 lb.)
The hardest finale in CrossFit Games history is live right now. WATCH LIVE. Link in bio. — @jb_crossfit, General Manager of the CrossFit Games, on why it was important to have the Games: “We decided it was important for our community. That includes athletes, affiliates, fans, people that work out on a daily basis … . This event was too important to quit just because it was hard. As the CrossFit community, we are the kind of people that don’t quit because it’s hard. There’s lots of good reasons to quit, and difficulty is not one of them. And we decided early on that we were not going to just focus on what we couldn’t do. We were going to focus and we were challenged by our new leadership to actually find out what could we do this year that would be unique and that would raise the bar for future competitions. The first priority was to bring it home to the Ranch, where we had a lot of control but also where we could honor our history and at the same time we could do something that was launching the sport forward in a really positive direction.” #CrossFitGames @CrossFitRanch #CrossFit #Fitness
Heading into the final event, Fraser and Toomey had locked up the gold with 460- and 380-point leads, respectively, over the rest of the field. But with a tight point spread from second to fifth in both divisions, there was still a lot of competition left.
For the first time in CrossFit Games history, the final event featured one big heat of men and women.
On the women’s side, the favorite to win the final event was Pearce. In an impressive performance at the 2019 Games, Pearce won Mary by a landslide, completing 695 reps of handstand push-ups, single-leg squats, and pull-ups in the 20-minute workout. Pearce, who sat in fifth place overall coming into the final, needed to beat Adams by at least two places to guarantee herself a spot on the podium.
Pearce did just that, winning the event with a time of 47:56.68, and becoming the first American woman to stand on the podium since 2014 (third). She was followed closely by Davidsdottir in second, who locked up a podium spot as well (second). Toomey finished third in the event (51:46.72), and Adams came fourth (52:56.60). Wells rounded out the top five finishing the final with a time of 1:00:19.01.
Fraser and Toomey — who are training partners — worked in sync throughout the event. Both crossed the finish line at the same and gave each other a big hug, smiles of relief and satisfaction on their faces.
A worldwide challenge was issued. The competition was Open to all. All have been measured. Scores have been submitted. The hardest test in CrossFit Games history is complete. There are no more questions. For the fourth-consecutive time, @tiaclair1 🇦🇺 is the Fittest Woman on Earth. And for the fifth-consecutive time, @MathewFras 🇺🇸 is the Fittest Man on Earth. Name a better duo. You can’t. Toomey and Fraser are the #FittestinHistory. — The 2021 CrossFit Open begins Feb. 18. — #CrossFit #CrossFitGames #Sports #Workout #FitnessMotivation #trainingpartners #Fitness #TestofFitness — 📷 @flsportsguy • @reebok @roguefitness @whoop @romwod @goruck @purespectrumhemp @goarmy @fitaid
Fraser took the event win for the men (51:46.66), followed by Ohlsen in second (52:24.75). In his rookie debut, Medeiros finished third in the final event (53:18.87), while Adler took fourth (57:28.45).
Kwant had clinched a spot in the top three coming into the final. Despite a fifth-place finish in Atalanta (1:05:39.80), he held onto second place overall and realized his dreams of standing on the podium.
When the Aromas dust settled on the final event, Castro held up the hands of the champions, and shouted, “Your 2020 Fittest on Earth are Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey!”
- Mat Fraser (1,150 points)
- Samuel Kwant (605 points)
- Justin Medeiros (560 points)
- Noah Ohlsen (540 points)
- Jeffrey Adler (505 points)
- Tia-Clair Toomey (1,025 points)
- Katrin Davidsdottir (665 points)
- Kari Pearce (585 points)
- Haley Adams (560 points)
- Brooke Wells (525 points)
Read more coverage here.