August 6, 2021
Has Kristin "Kriger" Holte Peaked?
By Melissa Yinger, With Chad Schroeder
While many athletes wait for their performance to flag before retiring, not so for the 35-year-old athlete from Oslo.
While many athletes wait for their performance to flag before retiring, not so for the 35-year-old athlete from Oslo.

Eight Games appearances. 

One podium finish.

An undefeated record as the fittest woman in Norway.

Kristin Holte waves the flag of Norway with her compatriots during the opening ceremony at the 2018 Games. (Photo by Adam Bow)
Kristin Holte waves the flag of Norway with her compatriots during the opening ceremony at the 2018 Games. (Photo by Adam Bow) 

Fans of Kristin Holte will be familiar with one of her favorite hashtags on social media: Kriger, which is Norwegian for “warrior,” appears on many of the athlete’s posts. 

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, Holte, the CrossFit kriger, announced her retirement from the Sport of Fitness. While many athletes wait for their performance to flag before retiring, not so for the 35-year-old athlete from Oslo. After earning the all-time best placement for any masters-level athlete in the individual competition at the CrossFit Games this year, Holte may be bowing out at the top of her game. 

Fitness Runs in Her Family

The whole Holte family has a whole lot of fitness. Holte’s father, Geir, represented Norway in cross-country skiing at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. 

Her brother, Thomas, and mother, Frøydis Lislevatn, both train CrossFit. Thomas often joins Holte in local triathlons.

When Holte Runs Away With It

If you’re a CrossFit Games competitor waiting on the starting line for a sprint event, you don’t want to look over and see Holte in a nearby lane. The likelihood that you’d be able to count her cleats as she pulls away is pretty high.

Holte during Event 6 at the Europe Regional (Photo by Ruby Wolff)
Holte during Event 6 at the Europe Regional (Photo by Ruby Wolff)

Holte honed her skills on the track and turf while competing in heptathlon, javelin, pole vaulting, and 400-m hurdles at the national level in Norway.

It’s no wonder she always placed toward the top in sprint events at the Games, taking the W in 2019’s Sprint and 2015’s Sprint Course 2 (she took third in Sprint Course 1 the same year). 

Slower and steadier runs also happen to be in her wheelhouse, as was evident when she kicked off the 2016 Games with a second-place finish in Ranch Trail Run.

It turns out she’s not so bad on a bike either. She started the 2018 Games with an event win in Crit — maybe she just likes to make an entrance — and she won Cyclocross in 2017 as well.

Holte in a league of her own during Cyclocross (Photo by Dave Re)
Holte in a league of her own during Cyclocross (Photo by Dave Re)

Has She Peaked?

This year marked Holte’s eighth consecutive trip to the CrossFit Games. Of those eight appearances, she’s placed in the top seven five times — all within the last five years, and all after she had turned 30. Here’s a look at her Games trajectory:

Holte Records
* Stage 1 - Holte did not advance to Stage 2 of the CrossFit Games in 2020.

Holte clearly had her best competition year in 2019, when she defended her title as Norway’s National Champion, won the Asia CrossFit Championship, and took the silver medal at the Games.

She experienced a slight dip last year — and I do mean slight — perhaps due to a few nagging injuries. She started 2020 with carpal tunnel surgery and then spent part of the year recovering from a herniated disc at L5/S1. Even with the body woes, she still managed to take third in the Open and win Open Workout 20.2 (a 20-minute AMRAP of thrusters, toes-to-bars, and double-unders). She narrowly missed the cut for Stage 2 of the CrossFit Games.

Holte during Madison Triplus at the 2018 Games (Photo by Thomas Campitelli)
Holte during Madison Triplus at the 2018 Games (Photo by Thomas Campitelli)

In 2021, she appeared to be on an upswing. Qualifying for the Games after taking first place in the German Throwdown, she landed just one step off the Games podium in fourth place. One has to wonder whether, following this trajectory, Holte could have returned to the podium in 2022. 

One thing’s for sure: She appears to have gotten better with age. Here’s how she compares to two other well-known athletes who continued to compete in the individual division after aging into the masters age group:

Holte-Briggs-Voigt comparison

For those of us who have similarly advanced into the masters echelons, 35-year-old Holte’s ability to take the floor with a formidable athlete like 20-year-old Haley Adams and come out on top is a gift. 

Think you can justify slowing down on your 5K row or taking two extra chalk breaks during Helen just because you’re 35? Think again. Think like Holte.

Holte draws energy from the crowd after Battleground at the 2018 Games. (Photo by Adam Bow)
Holte draws energy from the crowd after Battleground at the 2018 Games. (Photo by Adam Bow) 

The 2022 season starts Feb. 24. Get a reminder. Join the best in the Game.

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