After four grueling weeks, the CrossFit Semifinal season is over. With the conclusion of the CrossFit Atlas Games in Montreal, Québec, Canada; CrossFit Strength in Depth in London, England; and CrossFit Copa Sur in Vitória, Brazil, the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games roster is all but complete — only the Last-Chance Qualifier remains to determine the final athletes competing in Madison, Wisconsin, in August.
CrossFit Atlas Games
- CrossFit Omnia Black - 525 pts
- CrossFit Pro1 Montreal - 510 pts
- CrossFit Taranis LifeTree - 500 pts
- CrossFit Milford Team Conquer - 470 pts
- CrossFit East Woodbridge - 420 pts
- Jeffrey Adler - 564 pts
- Patrick Vellner - 556 pts
- Alexandre Caron - 480 pts
- Alex Vigneault - 440 pts
- Nycolas Joyal - 432 pts
- Emma Lawson - 568 pts
- Paige Powers - 560 pts
- Caroline Conners - 477 pts
- Freya Moosbrugger - 468 pts
- Carolyne Prevost - 441 pts
It has been four years since the Atlas Games were held live and in person. In 2020, as athletes and equipment were getting set up and ready to go, Atlas suffered a heartbreaking last-minute cancellation due to the local government’s ban on large gatherings moments before the start of competition. The next year, the Semifinal moved online. This year marks the first time Atlas’ athletes have competed in front of a live crowd since the start of the pandemic.
A full field of some of the best athletes in North America checked in at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, on June 10. Event organizers handed out wristbands with the year 2020 on them — remnants of the pandemic’s lost year.
Even with the two-year hiatus, athletes showed the return to competition was as easy as riding a bike — or in this case, performing strict handstand push-ups and front squats.
The teams kicked off Day 1. CrossFit Le Repere ProgFAL started Workout 1 strong and stayed that way, finishing first and over 40 seconds ahead of its closest competition. After a fifth-place finish in the first workout, CrossFit Omnia Black came back to win Workout 2, crossing the finish line just seconds ahead of CrossFit Pro1 Montreal.
CrossFit Le Repere ProgFAL during Event 1 | Photo by @namastevo
On the men’s side, Nycolas Joyal, known well to CrossFit fans in Canada, used Day 1 to show that the rest of CrossFit’s international community better start paying attention. Joyal has been to Regionals twice in his career (2017 and 2018) and the Semifinals once (2021), but he’s never competed at the CrossFit Games. After two workout wins on the first day at Atlas, the 28-year-old put himself on track to appear in Madison for the first time. He finished the day with a 12-point lead over seven-time CrossFit Games athlete Pat Vellner.
While the men’s side was chockablock full of athletes hovering around the age of 30, the women’s side was much closer to the 20-year mark.
“If you’ve been to college, the women’s division is not for you,” Joel Godett said during the Day 1 live broadcast.
Seven of the 30 women at the Atlas Games were under the age of 21, and the women in this younger cohort began to establish themselves at the top of the leaderboard from Day 1. Nineteen-year-old Paige Powers from CrossFit Mayhem took first in the first workout with a score of 10:09.12 — 17-year-old Emma Lawson was close behind in second. Lawson went on to win Workout 2 and finish out the first day of competition atop the women’s leaderboard.
Nycolas Joyal during Event 1 | Photo by @namastevo
CrossFit Omnia Black and CrossFit Pro1 Montreal were tied for first with 180 points each heading into Day 2. It was a fight for first straight out of the gate in Workout 3. In the very last handstand walk, Chloe Gauvin-David from Pro1 Montreal’s team sprinted to beat out the final male competitor for Omnia Black, taking first in the event. Different teams rose to the top in Workout 4, with CrossFit Milford Team Conquer taking first place, followed by CrossFit Taranis Lifetree and Flower City CrossFit tied for second.
After climbing to the top of the leaderboard with back-to-back event wins on Day 1, Joyal took a hit in Workout 3 with a 24th-place finish. Vellner swept in to take his first workout win of the competition in Workout 3, finishing his ring muscle-ups, burpees over the box, and squat snatches in a time of 6:56.86 — a mere six seconds ahead of Jeffrey Adler in second. In the next workout — the fan-favorite Barbell Complex that has been performed at every Semifinal this season — 2019 CrossFit Games teen athlete Jack Farlow lifted an incredible 347.5 lb (approximately 158 kg) to take the win.
On the women’s side, Lawson added another event win to the start of her day, beating out Powers by six seconds in Workout 3. But then in Workout 4, a new challenger added her name to the top of the leaderboard to close out Day 2. Gabrielle Ocker — who qualified out of the Open for the first time last year and closed out her 2021 season at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge — lifted 230 lb (104 kg) in Barbell Complex to take first place in the event.
Emma Lawson during Day 2 | Photo by @namastevo
The last day of the Atlas Games was a chance to give it all or take a fall out of Games contention.
CrossFit Pro 1 Montreal established itself at the top of the leaderboard at the close of Day 2, but the team knew better than to let its guard down. It added another event win to its resume with Workout 5, besting second-place finisher Omnia Black by almost 20 seconds. CrossFit 1855 slid into fourth in the event, which moved the team into a tie for the fifth and final Games-qualifying spot along with East Woodbridge heading into the finale.
CrossFit PSC took the win for Event 6, with Pro1 Montreal taking second, followed by Taranis LifeTree. As the points were calculated, it was CrossFit Omnia Black who took home the gold, snatching first place from Pro1 Montreal with only 15 points separating the two teams.
On the men’s side, Adler and Vellner were engaged in a fierce fight for first. At the start of Day 3, Adler sat in second place, just four points behind Vellner in first. After taking the win in Workout 5, Adler put an exclamation mark on the victory and won again in Workout 6. All top-five finishers proudly held the Canadian flag, with Vellner in second, Alexandre Caron in third, Alex Vigneault in fourth, and Joyal in fifth.
Lawson had been on top of the women’s leaderboard every day of competition, and all eyes were on the 17-year-old heading into the final day. Powers pulled away from the field on the GHD sit-ups in Workout 5 to take the win, followed by Alaina Savage in second and Lawson in third. The finale was a head-to-head race between Powers and Lawson. But, Lawson ended the Semifinal strong with another first-place finish, 15 full seconds ahead of Powers. Lawson took the win for the weekend, a spread of 127 points and 13 years of age separating her from Carolyne Prevost in fifth. Lawson is now the fourth-youngest individual to qualify for the CrossFit Games.
Atlas Games team podium ceremony | Photo by @namastevo
CrossFit Strength in Depth
- CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue - 600 pts
- CrossFit Sarpsborg - 480 pts
- CrossFit 8020 - 460 pts
- CrossFit Trondheim - 430 pts
- CrossFit Aylesbury Team Tap - 430 pts
- Willy Georges - 520 pts
- Henrik Haapalainen - 465 pts
- André Houdet - 462 pts
- Giorgos Karavis - 430 pts
- Guillaume Briant - 430 pts
- Jacqueline Dahlstrøm - 532 pts
- Emma McQuaid - 508 pts
- Thuridur Erla Helgadottir - 501 pts
- Solveig Sigurdardottir - 447 pts
- Elisa Fuliano - 420 pts
The aim of CrossFit Strength in Depth out of London, England, was to send another group of the fittest men, women, and teams to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games — but that doesn’t mean it was all brawn and no brains. Each of the six individual events were named for a work or character by classical English author Charles Dickens; meanwhile, three of the team workouts took their namesakes from Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy.”
According to event organizer Ollie Mansbridge, he and co-directors Gavin Heselton and Iain Barbour wanted the workout names to represent a piece of the athletes’ cultural heritage. Mansbridge said the literary names also harken back to “the early days of CrossFit,” when named workouts helped “create that culture and a common language.”
The first workout up for the teams was a journey through cardio hell in Inferno: Workout 1’s lengthy slog of running, rowing, and double-undering. After, they tackled The Goat Pen, another event with a nod to ancient lore. 2021’s second-fittest team, CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue, won both — the second by almost a minute — ending Day 1 in first with a 25-point lead over CrossFit Sarpsborg in second.
CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue during Event 2 | Photo by @shutterwod
It’s never easy to make it to the CrossFit Games. But try getting there when you’ve got six multiyear Games veterans — including two CrossFit Games champions — all vying for one of five qualifying spots.
That was the challenge set before the women. Though 20 of the 29 athletes entered the weekend with prior Semifinal or Regional experience, they faced the likes of eight-time Games athlete (six individual, two team) Thuridur Erla Helgadottir, 10-time Games vet and 2013 champion Samantha Briggs, and two-time champ, nine-time competitor Katrin Davidsdottir.
And indeed, by the end of Day 1, the top spots were claimed by past Games athletes — but not by the most decorated ones. First- and second-place finishes by Emma McQuaid and Jacqueline Dahlstrøm paired with respectable seventh- and sixth-place finishes on the first day put the pair in the top two spots after two events.
Davidsdottir, a favorite expected to dazzle, opened strong with a fourth-place Workout 1 finish but startled fans with 18th in Workout 2. Though she took the early lead in Havisham — she was the first to start the second of three rounds of muscle-ups, single-leg squats, and hang power snatches — Davidsdottir fatigued on the rings, ceding the race to McQuaid and Dahlstrøm, who finished first and second in the event.
Emma McQuaid during Event 2 | Photo by @shutterwod
The men’s field had some Games experience, too, but with the exception of seven-time Games veteran Jonne Koski, it was considerably less — leaving room for new blood to stake claims and make names.
Willy Georges isn’t exactly new — he competed at the Games in 2018 and 2019, taking eighth and 21st, respectively. But after missing the cutoff in 2020 and taking the season off in 2021 due to injury, he came out hot on Day 1 with two top-four finishes for the overall lead.
Meanwhile, the day’s workout wins went to 2021 Games rookies Henrik Haapalainen (Workout 1) and Giorgos Karavis (Workout 2).
One win, two wins; three wins, (CrossFit Oslo Navy) blue wins. As the stable filled with team athletes ready to take the floor for Workout 3’s snatch ladder, most stood with their heads down, eyes focused. Meanwhile, the men of Oslo Navy Blue were smiling and apparently relaxed as they practiced their dance moves to floor DJ Zakk Wild’s psy trance beats.
While the dominant team — stacked with three of its 2021 Games team members plus Norway’s 2019 individual champion — continued to dominate with another day of back-to-back wins, the scramble for the next four spots was afoot.
CrossFit Sarpsborg held steady in second with respectable eighth- and fourth-place finishes; meanwhile, CrossFit Trondheim jumped from fourth to third and CrossFit Aylesbury Team Tap fell from third to sixth, just five points behind CrossFit Mayflower in fifth. After four events, CrossFit Butcher’s Lab BL — whose affiliate has sent a team to the Games four times — has yet to crack the top five.
Oslo Navy Blue during Event 3 | Photo by @shutterwod
It seems Friday’s Workout 1 race between McQuaid and Dahlstrøm was mere foreshadow, as the pair continued to dance around one another on Day 2. Neither won the day’s two workouts, but their close, high finishes (Dahlstrøm took back-to-back fourths; McQuaid took a fourth and a fifth) allowed the two athletes to hold onto their spots in the top two, though the two had traded places since Friday.
Meanwhile, two Dottirs lived up to the reputation of the name. Solveig Sigurdardottir won Carol Complex (that’s Barbell Complex to the rest of the world) with 227 lb (103 kg), and Helgadottir took Workout 4’s Curiosity Shop, a down-and-back chipper of kettlebell deadlifts, handstand walks, box jump-overs, and toes-to-bars.
Sigurdardottir during Event 3 | Photo by @shutterwod
Saturday was André Houdet’s day to shine. The 28-year-old gave an impressive debut Games performance last year with a 15th-place finish, and with consecutive top-two finishes on Day 2 of the Strength in Depth Semifinal, he showed he’s an up-and-comer not to be dismissed. After tying Kristóf Horváth — brother to Laura Horváth, who won the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown in May and was on site to cheer her sibling on — for first in Workout 3 with a 330-lb (150-kg) complex, Houdet took second in Workout 4, earning a spot in the top five and the final heat for the last day of competition.
Houdet during Event 4 | Photo by @shutterwod
Six events, six event wins, 600 points. With 120 points over its nearest competitor, CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue proved it’s got the stuff to get back on the podium in Madison, matching the Semifinal sweeps set by teams CrossFit Mayhem Freedom and CrossFit Reykjavík.
The rest of the point spread, however, left far less room for error. Going into the final event, just 10 points separated CrossFit 8020 in third from Sarpsborg in second; five points made the difference between CrossFit Nordic Original in fifth and CrossFit Mayflower in fourth; and though Aylesbury sat on the bubble in sixth, a paltry five points was all that stood between the team and a return to the CrossFit Games (the team took 26th in Madison last year).
After the Hard Times were over — hard indeed, a 21-15-9 of some of CrossFit’s least-liked movements: Echo Bike calories, bar-facing burpees, and thrusters — it came down to the calculators. Oslo won the final and Sarpsborg took third, solidifying the top-two spots they’d held all weekend. But Nordic’s and Mayflower’s sixth- and 10th-place finishes upset the leaderboard one last time, and the two teams dropped to sixth and seventh overall while CrossFit Trondheim and Aylesbury took their places.
CrossFit Trondheim | Photo by @shutterwod
On the morning of the final day of Strength in Depth, three of the five women’s Games-qualifying spots were held by prior individual Games athletes (Sigurdardottir, who started the day in fourth, competed on a Games team in 2016 and 2017).
Yet none were held by the two former champs — Briggs (2013) and Davidsdottir (2015-2016). Briggs’ 27th- and 7th-place finishes on Day 2 knocked her to ninth overall. Briggs’ 27th-place finish in Carol Complex was the result of a calculated effort on behalf of her coach to protect Briggs’ knee. After nailing her first lift, Briggs sat out the second round — “one of the hardest things she’s ever done,” she said after. Meanwhile, though Davidsdottir managed to gain two spots on Saturday, she went into Workout 5 in sixth place — just nine points behind Elisa Fuliano in fifth.
Unfortunately, the two-time champ matched her worst event finish of the weekend in the penultimate event, taking another 18th-place finish. What’s worse, it happened in Twist — Strength in Depth’s moniker for the CrossFit-programmed near-repeat of 2014 Regional Event 5, 10 rounds of legless rope climbs and a 170-ft sprint. Back then, Davidsdottir lost a Games ticket on the rope, her strength failing inches from the top. She fared better this time, but still relied on big kips while her competitors scurried up strict. And while 18th is better than the 24th-place finish she took in 2014, the event cost her four spots — ground not even a Workout 6 win could make up for.
Neither could Briggs sneak into the top five — and though she and Davidsdottir will receive invitations to compete in the Last-Chance Qualifier (LCQ) later this month, Briggs hung up her shoes after the final workout, a gesture that symbolizes retirement from competition. She said she’s unlikely to accept the LCQ invitation, though she did accept a standing ovation as the venue celebrated her career following the event.
“I am a proud mom,” Briggs’ mother, Ellen, said from the sidelines.
After the celebration, the final scores were tallied for the women, and it was announced that joining Games vets Dahlstrøm, McQuaid, and Helgadottir in Madison this summer will be Sigurdardottir and Fuliano, each making their individual Games debuts.
Dahlstrøm | Photo by @shutterwod
Like Davidsdottir, Koski gave a valiant effort in the Semifinal final, taking third in Workout 6, his best finish of the weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to nudge him over the line, and if the Games veteran wants to turn seven Games appearances into eight, he’ll have to put it all on the line in the LCQ.
We will, however, be seeing Georges back at the Games for the first time since 2019. Though he failed to win a single event, he won the win that matters most, taking the top podium spot with five top-four finishes and just one outside the top 10.
Willy Georges | Photo by @shutterwod
CrossFit Copa Sur
- Q21 CrossFit - 580 pts
- CrossFit Ribeirao Preto - 465 pts
- CrossFit Berrini Team Treta - 445 pts
- Kingbull CrossFit Paraguay - 445 pts
- CrossFit Tuluka - 425 pts
- Guilherme Malheiros - 544 pts
- Pedro Martins - 464 pts
- Agustin Richelme - 443 pts
- Nicolas Bidarte - 390 pts
- Lucas Da Rose - 380 pts
- Victoria Campos - 516 pts
- Julia Kato - 460 pts
- Claudia Espinosa - 444 pts
- Amanda Fusuma - 440 pts
- Luiza Marques - 436 pts
The weekend started off with a bang when teams competed in a modified version of Diane in Workout 1, using a fat bar and synchronized handstand push-ups. Cavaleiros CrossFit set a great time of 4:51 in the first heat, which was untouchable until Heat 3, when CrossFit Ribeirao Preto clocked in at 4:37. But in the final heat, Q21 CrossFit finished almost a minute faster — and unbroken to boot.
Based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Q21 CrossFit made its debut at the 2021 CrossFit Games, finishing in 36th. This year, the team is back with a vengeance, dominating both workouts on Day 1 for the overall lead and leaving no question that it’s a team to watch.
Q21 CrossFit competing in Event 1 | Photography: @joy_image
Guilherme Malheiros put on quite a show during the men’s barbell complex in Workout 3. With 356 lb (162 kg) on the bar, Malheiros made the weight look easy, going touch-and-go on the squat cleans followed by two seamless front squats and a confident jerk. It was the heaviest lift of the Semifinal season.
A three-time CrossFit Games athlete (one teen, two individual), Malheiros made his Games debut in the Boys 16-17 division in 2017 with a second-place finish. Last year, he took seventh as an individual. Although he is a native of Brazil, Malheiros trains full time out of CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Gui Malheiros running into the crowd after Workout 3 | Photography: @joy_image
With a mid-event cutline, Copa Sur’s final event was a spectacle to behold. After completing a couplet of rowing for calories and handstand walks, only the top 10 athletes advanced to Part II of the event (more rowing and handstand walks) for a total of five elimination rounds.
In Part II of the workout, Victoria Campos got off the rower first with Julia Kato right on her heels popping off the row swiftly. Both athletes advanced and put themselves in qualification range for the Games. Only six athletes advanced to Part III of the workout, with Julia Kato and Victoria Campos staying neck and neck the entire time. Kato got off the row first this time, quickly followed by Campos.
Both Campos and Kato missed the 2021 Games after making one final effort at the LCQ last year, but this both have proven their place on the competition field at the 2022 Games, taking the top two spots on the podium at CrossFit Copa Sur to seal the deal. Although both athletes represent Brazil, the women trained in two separate countries this year, Campos in the U.S. at CrossFit Mayhem and Kato in the United Arab Emirates at UAE CrossFit.
Julia Kato and Victoria Campos | Photography: @joy_image
It’s Not Over Yet
Semifinals may be done and dusted, but athletes finishing just outside of Games qualification have one more shot at a 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games ticket: the Last-Chance Qualifier goes down June 29-July 1.
Catch up on all the action from the weekend and rewatch the best moments from Week 4 of the 2022 CrossFit Games Semifinals at Games.CrossFit.com and in the CrossFit Games app.
Cover photo by @namastevo