Since the announcement of the retirement of five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser on February 2, 2021, one question has been on everyone’s lips: who will succeed in taking the “fittest on earth” title in 2021?
MAT FRASER: THE END OFANEPOQUE
5 years is the number of years that Fraser has completely dominated the CrossFit Games. Propelled to the forefront of the competitive CrossFit scene in 2014, he finished second at the Games behind four-time defending champion Rich Froning Jr. The following year, despite the latter’s departure from individual competition, Fraser failed to win the coveted “fittest on earth” title, being beaten by Ben Smith and once again only finishing second.
This failure will push Fraser to dedicate himself body and soul to Crossfit, and it is thanks to this unwavering dedication that he will manage to take the 1st place for 5 consecutive years from 2016. In 2020, he will become the only athlete in the history of CrossFit to have been crowned 5 times champion of the Games, breaking the record previously held by Rich Froning Jr. For this last edition, he will win with 545 points of advance (only that !) on Samuel Kwant, arrived second.
If the dedication he has shown over the past 5 years has paid off, it is also for this reason that Mat Fraser has decided to retire from the competitive scene this year. In a letter sent to the Morning Chalk Up website, he reveals the reasons that led him to make this decision. The athlete says he is tired of the demands of top-level sport and the daily grind he has experienced in recent years. What he wants to do from now on is make decisions based on how they will affect his family, friends, health and happiness, not just his performance.
The hard work paid off. But now, I’m ready to make decisions based on how they affect my family, friends, health, and happiness, not only my performance.
CROSSFIT GAMES 2021: WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
It is clear that the competition at the 2021 Games is going to be fiercer than ever, with the announcement of the departure of the man who had been monopolising the top spot in the men’s division for so many years. Here are 5 athletes who could claim the podium at the 2021 CrossFit Games.
American Samuel Kwant finished second at the 2020 CrossFit Games. A back and knee injury prevented him from showing his full potential in his previous appearances, but knee surgery in 2018 has seen him return stronger than ever.
Patrick Vellner, Noah Ohlsen and Brent Fikoswki are just a few of the athletes who have finished second in recent years, but failed to repeat their performance the following year. Will Kwant be able to reverse this trend ?
The 21-year-old rookie had an excellent performance last year. Having finished neck and neck with Fraser on the first event of the Finals, he will end up getting the3rd place on the podium of the CrossFit Games 2020. Although he does not have as much experience as some of his direct competitors, his drive and confidence are undeniable assets that will take him to the top.
Wellner has been a podium favorite for years now. A logical situation when you take a look at his record of achievements : 3 podiums at the Games, a victory at the Open 2020 and the title of winner of 2 sanctional events in 2020.
Although his performances in the last two Games were below what we were used to, his intentions are clear for 2021 after Fraser’s departure : ” We all wonder who will inherit the kingdom ” said Vellner, ” and I will definitely aim for the first position “.
Ohlsen is one of the few athletes who has been able to maintain his performances with consistency over the years. Aside from 2016 when he finished 15th at the Games, he has consistently hovered between 8th and second place since 2014. There is even a progression over his various participations : he notably managed to get the second place in 2019.
Willy Georges : a Frenchman on the podium ?
France’s best crossfitter in 2020, Willy Georges is the only Frenchman in ELITE to have appeared on the Games landscape in recent years. The former rugby player made a name for himself at the 2018 and 2019 Crossfit Games, finishing 9th the first time and 21st the second. He had notably distinguished himself by finishing first in the Bicouplet 2 event in 2018, beating Fraser himself by nearly 7 seconds. While due to the pandemic he was unable to participate in the 2020 Games, it is clear that he is looking forward to his return to competition.
Although he doesn’t yet have the track record of the aforementioned athletes, the Frenchman has already demonstrated his ability to surprise in the past. So we all hope to see him perform well in representing France at the Games this year, and take it to the top.
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