CrossFit Games: Top Stories of 2019

The CrossFit Games 2019 season has hit a mid-point with the close of the CrossFit Open. We’re looking forward to the top stories of the Games and athletes to watch as we close out the remaining sanctional events of the year.

Mat Fraser

It’s no surprise Fraser tops the stories to watch after the CrossFit Open. This year, he nailed down two workout wins (19.3 and 19.5), a second (19.4), and a third (19.2) place finish. This is his fourth CrossFit Open win, and his third in three years.

Jacob Heppner

At the 2019 CrossFit Open, Heppner placed fourth. He took third, fifth, and fourth in 19.3, 19.4, and 19.5. Why is this significant? This is Heppner’s return to the Games after missing 2017 due to an injury. He then missed the CrossFit Games in 2018 due to unfavorable workout standards. This four-time Games athlete is a serious competitor. Check out our featured athlete bio on Heppner.

Rich Froning

Froning had some post-season work done on his knee and still took tenth. His record is immaculate, with seven first-place finishes in the games in eight years. The breakdown is four individual and three team “Fittest on Earth” crowns. His CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team also finished second in 2017. Froning’s reputation in the Open is competitive. He never placed outside the top-two spots between 2012 to 2016. After dropping to 11th in 2017, he’s climbed back to 10th both 2018 and 2019.

Ben Smith

Renown as the most longevitous athlete in the CrossFit Games, Ben Smith has competed ten years in a row. Smith had knee surgery only four weeks before the CrossFit Open. The surgery was to repair a torn meniscus, remove a cyst, and repair some cartilage damage under the knee cap. Even with the short recovery time, he rallied and managed to climb his way to 4771. Smith could set a record eleven-straight Games appearances if he qualifies before August. He’s slated to attend the Rogue Invitational. All invitees have qualified, except for Patrick Vellner, Noah Ohlsen, and Josh Bridges.

Iceland (Again)

Three of Iceland’s CrossFit ‘Dottirs’ have qualified for the Games. Sarah, Annie, and Katrin placed first, second, and 14th. Sara Sigmundsdottir looks in raw form. She won the Open by 32 points over Annie Thorisdottir. Katrin Davidsdottir’s qualification caps her dominant performance at the Fittest in Cape Town.

Dani Speegle

If you haven’t heard the name, you should learn it. Speegle has been tearing up the 2019 sanctional circuit. Her season started with a fifth-place finish in Dubai and Wodapalooza. Speegle then earned third at Strength in Depth and second at the Mid-Atlantic Crossfit Challenge. Her schedule includes the Brazil and Reykjavik CrossFit Championships later this year. In the Open, her 5th-place finish makes her the fittest woman in America. Even with this work ethic, she’s never made it to the Games before. Her competitive ceiling has been at the Atlantic regional, placing eight in 2018. Her team, King’s Point, also placed tenth in 2017.

Brooke Wells

Here’s another name you may hear more of this year. Brook is co-coached with 2015 and 2016 Games champ Katrin Davidsdottir. Their home gym is in Boston at CrossFit New England, under coach Ben Bergeron. This will be Brooke’s fifth year at the games, but she’s never finished above sixth place. Her highest Open finish was in 2018 (sixth) and she won her first Open workout this year, during 19.2.

Sam Briggs

At the age of 37, Briggs is defying CrossFit’s standards for Masters athletes. In 2019, she has won both the Dubai and Australian CrossFit Championships. Her 22nd-place CrossFit Open finish returns Briggs to the Games for her sixth year. There, she’ll compete again for Fittest Woman on Earth, a title she claimed in 2013. Her Open finish also makes her the fittest woman in the United Kingdom.

Waleed Al Maskari and Zaida Amade

Oh, so you haven’t been following the fittest man in Tanzania and the fittest woman in Mozambique? Al Maskari, 35-year old from Tanzania, placed 89,082th and is the fittest man in Tanzania. Amade is 41, and the fittest woman from Mozambique.

Tie Starter: Froning and Fraser

It’s been the story we’ve heard about since Mat Fraser and Rich Froning went head-to-head in 2014. Froning won the matchup, capping four consecutive years as the Fittest Man on Earth. Fraser took second in 2015 and found footing in 2016, dominating every year since. In 2019, Mat Fraser is on the verge of tying Froning’s four-straight record. Keep in mind, Froning also has three Fittest Team on Earth finishes.

Tie Breaker: Annie, Katrin, and Tia-Clair

Annie Thorisdottir became the first woman to win two CrossFit Games in 2010 and 2011. Katrin Davidsdottir followed with two wins in 2015 and 2016, then Tia-Clair Toomey in 2017 and 2018. This means all three women, tied with two Fittest on Earth titles, are going head-to-head this year. Will one of them take the title a third time and pull ahead?

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.

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