November 4, 2020
Athletes Reflect on Most Difficult CrossFit Games in History
By CrossFit
Athletes share post-Games thoughts as 2020 season wraps.
Athletes share post-Games thoughts as 2020 season wraps.

The 2020 CrossFit Games almost didn't happen. After an incredibly tumultuous season full of unknowns and uncertainty, it seemed CrossFit might need to accept defeat and look ahead to 2021. But that wasn't an option for the CrossFit community. Through much perseverance and determination, the 2020 season culminated in CrossFit's most unique event to date.

The final five men and women who emerged from Stage 1 of the Games had an opportunity to be part of something truly special. In a Games like no other, the event settings were intimate and simple. With no crowd, no music, and no bright lights, athletes' limits were truly tested — physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

After experiencing the 2020 Games, the participating athletes expressed gratitude and recognition of how impactful this sport is. Keep reading as the final five reflect on their 2020 CrossFit Games season. 

Mat Fraser: First Place

Mat Fraser made history in 2020. He became the first and only man to win five consecutive CrossFit Games championships, and he surpassed Rich Froning's record for most Games event wins, totaling 29 event victories after the final stage of the 2020 Games.

In the video below, Tommy Marquez of Morning Chalk Up chats with Fraser about his post-Games reflections. During the discussion, Fraser shares info on his pre-Games prep, post-Games recovery, how he deals with doubters, and more. 

"I've had a couple moments throughout my career where ... someone who's trying to make a name (is) kinda throwing up a hail Mary," Fraser says, "and I see it and I smile, and I'll go, 'All right, motherfucker, you wanna try to make a name? Let's go toe to toe. You put the pedal down, I'll put the pedal down, we'll see who can hang on longer.'"

Samuel Kwant: Second Place

Samuel Kwant is not new to CrossFit competition. But he often has been overlooked. Not anymore. The 24-year-old stood on the 2020 Games podium in second place. In the post below, Kwant reflects on Swim 'N' Stuff, his sole event win of the weekend.

"All we knew going into this event was that we were headed to the pool," he writes. "I was excited. I hadn’t been able to test myself for swimming since 2017, and I felt like I had worked on my swimming quite a bit." His work definitely paid off.

Scroll through the rest of Kwant's Instagram for reflections on the other 2020 Games events.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Event number 10 All we knew going into this event was that we were headed to the pool. I was excited. I hadn’t been able to test myself for swimming since 2017 and I felt like I had worked on my swimming quite a bit. When we walked into the pool area I saw there were GHDs, Assualt bike, and small med ball and I thought to myself what the heck are we going to be doing?! When Dave told us what was going down I honestly had no idea how it was going to go. Round 1 went pretty well. I think I was right behind Ohlsen and I knew he was a solid swimmer. Round 2 I was able to make up a ton of ground on the AB and think I finished neck and neck with Fraser for the lead. This is when I knew everyone was starting to really feel the fatigue and I had to keep pushing! Round 3 this is when the workout started to hurt really bad but I was able to finish quite a bit in front of everyone and knew I just had to keep it close on the last round to win the event. During the rest I was getting super nauseous and was trying to find where I was going to throw up. Luckily all I needed was a burp.😂 Round 4 I was able to hang on and keep it close and finished the round about 1 sec behind Fraser to secure my first event win and a good size lead over 3rd place. PC: @crossfitgames

A post shared by Sam Kwant (@samuelkwant) on

 

Justin Medeiros: Third Place

Justin Medeiros picked a heck of a year to qualify for his rookie debut. Competing at the Ranch next to some of the top men in the sport was undoubtedly an inspiring experience for the young athlete, and he certainly doled out his own share of inspiring moments as well. 

In the post below, Medeiros expresses gratitude for all who made this year's event possible. "Thank you, CrossFit Games team for overcoming all the odds to make this whole thing happen this year," he writes. "Words can’t even express our appreciation."

Keep your eye on Medeiros to do big things in 2021. 

 

Noah Ohlsen: Fourth Place

Games veteran Noah Ohlsen started the final stage of the 2020 Games as the favorite to challenge reigning champion Fraser. But his weekend didn't go as planned, and he found himself just outside of a podium spot when the leaderboard shook out. 

Ohlsen reflects on each event on his Instagram account, and below are his thoughts on Event 1: 2007 Reload. "'I’m about to start my Games off in last place,'" he remembers as the thought that went through his head during the event.

"I took a second to hang my head but quickly forced myself to let it go and move on to the next one," he adds. "It was going to be a long weekend that’d only just begun."

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Event 1⁣ Sheesh. I did NOT expect to start the @crossfitgames off with a fifth place finish! When this workout was first announced, I was excited by the prospect of high volume gymnastics. When the weight was announced to be 235# however, my excitement was dampened a bit because I knew it’d be all about that.⁣ ⁣ Simply put, it just got real heavy for me! I was holding my own until round three when I missed a rep that seemed to be the beginning of the end. Push jerks are not one of my stronger movements and the pressing fatigue from the 50 bar muscle ups made them even tougher to lock out. I had a backup plan of resorting to split jerks on the last few reps of each set if I needed to, but the turf strip we were required to complete the reps on was too narrow for that to be possible.⁣ ⁣ On the final round it occurred to me that “I’m about to start my Games off in last place”, but I tried to push that thought aside because I needed to finish it either way. Once that’d become a reality, I took a second to hang my head but quickly forced myself to let it go and move on to the next one. It was going to be a long weekend that’d only just begun.

A post shared by Noah Ohlsen (@nohlsen) on

 

Jeffrey Adler: Fifth Place

Jeffrey Adler came into the 2020 Games as the underdog. Although he had competed at the Games before in 2019, his quiet demeanor and unassuming stature left many thinking he squeezed into the top five by a stroke of luck. But Adler proved he could hang with the big dogs when he challenged Fraser in the CrossFit Total, besting him by 7 lb. for the event win. 

Adler also showed up in a big way during Snatch Speed Triple and Bike Repeater when he finished in second just behind the champ. Despite missing out on a podium spot, Adler says he has few regrets about the weekend. "I learned so much about my fitness during those 3 days," he writes, "and now it's time to put another year of hard work and aim higher!"

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What a ride! My 2020 CrossFit Games experience was one of a kind and I loved it. Highs and lows just like every other competition. I am happy about where my 2020 season brought me, but disappointed about how it ended. Day 3 was my worst day and I dropped all the way to last. I don’t have many regrets about my performance because I truly think I gave it my best. I learned so much about my fitness during those 3 days and now its time to put another year of hard work and aim higher! #earnit Thanks to everyone who supported me from close or far. All of this wouldn’t be possible without my support system: My everything @lambrayliving My coach @lambrayliving My @crossfitwonderland fam And my amazing sponsors @gowod_mobilityfirst @timebirdstimers @nxtgphysio @sharkletics 📷 @crossfitgames 2021.... • • #crossfit #crossfitgames #lfg

A post shared by Jeffrey Adler (@adlerjeff) on

 

Tia-Clair Toomey: First Place

Reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Tia-Clair Toomey came into the 2020 Games ready to defend her title and become the four-time Games champion. And she did just that.

Toomey made a statement from the start as she kicked off the weekend with three consecutive first-place event finishes. She logged another six event wins before the end of the weekend, claiming victory in dominant fashion with a 360-point lead over second place. 

In the post below, Toomey expresses her gratitude and shares some nice words about this year's Games experience. "This Games was so different to the past years," she writes, "but it was so incredible and will go down as one of my favorites for so many reasons."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Just like that the season has finished for the year & I’M SO GRATEFUL THAT WE GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO FINISH IT. The world got flipped upside down, Crossfit exploded and there was a few months where I didn’t know if we were ever going to be able to recover from all the heartache. However, after so much hard work from so many good people the Crossfit Games actually happened and I couldn’t be more thankful. All our hard work and everything we all went through this year wasn’t for nothing. SO, here is the biggest THANK-YOU from the bottom of my heart to EVERYONE that was involved. This games was so different to the past years but it was so incredible and will go down as one of my favorites for so many reasons. But it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for everyone that volunteered their time into turning the impossible into the possible. Thank-you once again, you all know who you are. 😘😍🥰 #community 📸 @crossfit

A post shared by Tia-Clair Toomey (@tiaclair1) on

 

Katrin Davidsdottir: Second Place

Just call her the comeback queen. Katrin Davidsdottir fought hard in Stage 1 to bounce back from a slow start and earn her spot in the top five and in the finals. She brought that comeback fire to the finals as she fought tooth and nail for her spot on the podium. 

After a few disappointing event finishes, Davidsdottir proved why she's a two-time Games champion, finishing in the top three in all but one of the remaining events. In Ranch Loop, she finished first. Her mental grit was on display during that event as she didn't bat an eye when CrossFit Director of Sport Dave Castro surprised athletes with the news that once they'd reached the perceived finish of the event, they'd have to turn around and run the trail in reverse. She arguably even looked excited for the added twist.

She looks at the 2020 season as a challenge she conquered and says, "It’s been one of my most challenging years to date, but I truly wouldn’t change it for the world."

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2nd Fittest in the world ✨🤍🥈☺️ I am a little at loss for words right now & going to take some time to process it all, but for now the words that come to my mind are THANKFUL & PROUD. - What a way to end this season - It’s been one of my most challenging years to date, but I truly wouldn’t change it for the world. Every journey brings it’s own meaning & this one brought me a wider PERSPECTIVE & a whole new sense of gratitude & awareness for the present moment - it’s really taught me to soak in each moment & it got me to appreciate every second I had out there on the competition floor. ✨🌟 - More than just this Games week itself it’s THE JOURNEY we took to get there & a very very very big focus on the “WE” that it took to get here. This has been a crazy but woooooonderful journey & my favorite part about it is the people I have along with me in it. EVERY year is a team effort but this one I swear, it was more than ever. Feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have the people that I do in my life. - Thank YOU to all of you for all the sweet wishes & messages. They mean the world to me ❤️ 2020 goes down in the books an one to remember. ✨🥂 xxx (PS guess I wasn’t THAAAAAT lost for words at all hehe 😉)

A post shared by Katrín Tanja Davíðsdóttir (@katrintanja) on

 

Kari Pearce: Third Place

Kari Pearce put on an impressive showing at the 2020 CrossFit Games Finals, most notably when she won Atalanta at the end of a grueling weekend. As someone who openly shares her disdain for running, Pearce showcased pure perseverance as she finished the brutal event that was sandwiched by two one-mile runs with a smile on her face and an event win in her pocket. 

In the Morning Chalk Up segment below, Pearce talks about her Games experience, recovery, nutrition during the Games, and what her plans are for 2021.

Haley Adams: Fourth Place

Haley Adams is only 19 years old. If she chooses it, she's got a long, promising CrossFit career ahead of her. We've known Adams since her teenage years when she stood on the podium for three years in a row, finishing first in the Teenage Girls 16-17 Division in 2018. In 2019, she made her individual rookie debut and took an impressive sixth place at the Games.

Looking stronger and fitter than ever, Adams came into the 2020 CrossFit Games Finals ready to throw down, and she did just that, hanging with overall leader Toomey in events like 2007 Reload, Bike Repeater, and Swim 'N' Stuff. Now, Adams looks ahead to the 2021 season.

"I know I can only continue growing from here," she writes. "I’ve never felt so much support from the CrossFit world."  

Brooke Wells: Fifth Place

Brooke Wells has been a staple at the CrossFit Games since her debut in 2015 when she took 16th overall. Wells has been to the Games every year since, her best finish landing her in sixth in 2016 — until this year, that is, when she finished in fifth. Notable performances include second place in the CrossFit Total when Wells tallied just 6 lb. less than Toomey, and Handstand Sprint when she took the event win after literally running on her hands for 100 yards. 

Post-Games, Wells is taking time to rest and recover and get ready for 2021.