A Brief History of Winning and the CrossFit Open

March 27, 2018 by

Background. 

The CrossFit Games started in 2007 in Aromas, CA as more of a back yard BBQ than anything else, but the goal was still the same: find the fittest man and woman. Back then, you just needed to register to compete.

In 2009, they introduced Regionals. Then in 2010, they added Sectionals to determine who’d compete at Regionals.

As the competition continued to explode globally, CrossFit replaced Sectionals with the CrossFit Open in 2011, which allowed any athlete in the world to compete. Since then, the three-stage format has largely remained the same. The Open is now in its eighth year.

Fascinating. So who’s won it the most?

It’s actually a tie. Both Rich Froning and Mathew Fraser have won the Open three times. Samantha Briggs and Annie Thorisdottir both have two wins. While winning the CrossFit Open is never the ultimate goal for these athletes, there’s a direct correlation between winning the Open and performance at the CrossFit Games.

If we remove 2018 from the equation, overall Open champions have gone on to win the CrossFit Games six times and finished in the top 10, ten of 13 appearances. The only outliers are Noah Ohlsen’s 2017 15th place finish, Annie Thorisdottir’s 2015 38th place finish where heat stroke during Murph caused her to withdraw a few events later, and Samantha Briggs’ 2014 failure to qualify after taking fourth at Regionals. In 2016, Jamie Greene competed on a team so we have no data to compare.

All in all, only ten different athletes have won the CrossFit Open, out of a possible 16.

Overall Open Wins

1
YEARDIVISIONATHLETEGAMES FINISH
2
2018MENMathew FraserNA
3
WOMEN
Cassidy Lance-Mcwherter
NA
4
2017MENMathew Fraser1
5
WOMENSara Sigmundsdottir4
6
2016MENNoah Ohlsen15
7
WOMENJamie GreeneTeam
8
2015MENMathew Fraser2
9
WOMENAnnie Thorisdottir38
10
2014MENRich Froning1
11
WOMENSamantha BriggsDidn’t Qualify
12
2013MENRich Froning1
13
WOMENSamantha Briggs1
14
2012MENRich Froning1
15
WOMENKristan Clever4
16
2011MENDan Bailey6
17
WOMENAnnie Thorisdottir1

What about individual Open events? 

Samantha Briggs has won more individual Open events than any other athlete, male or female. She has 11 wins under her belt and has won at least one event in every Open since 2013, include three in 2014. In fact, only five women have won more than one Open event: Samantha Briggs, Kristan Clever, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Kara Saunders and Annie Thorisdottir.

Among the men, the story is largely the same. Josh Bridges has seven wins followed closely by Rich Froning with six. And only seven male athletes have won more than one Open event: Josh Bridges, Rich Froning, Ben Smith, Mathew Fraser, Austin Malleolo, Neal Maddox and Nicolai Duus.

Here’s another crazy stat for you: CrossFit Games champions combine for 36 total Open event wins out of 83. That’s roughly 43 percent of the time.

Individual Open Wins: Females

1
YEAR
2
ATHLETETOTAL1817161514131211
3
Samantha Briggs1118.117.2, 17.416.3, 16.515.414.1, 14.4, 14.513.3, 13.4
4
Kristan Clever513.112.1, 12.3, 12.411.4
5
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet315.214.212.5
6
Kara Saunders318.517.316.2
7
Annie Thorisdottir312.211.1, 11.5
8
Becca Day115.1a
9
Colleen Fotsch115.5
10
Danielle Sidell114.3
11
Emily Bridgers116.1
12
Fortune Santos111.6
13
Helen Harding115.1
14
Julie Abildgaard116.4
15
Kristin King115.4
16
Lindsay Bourdon113.5
17
Lindsey Cascarina113.2
18
Madison Miller117.5
19
Sara Armanius117.1
20
Sarah Maas111.3
21
Chelsea Sellers118.2a
22
Tia-Clair Toomey118.3
23
Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault
118.4
24
Ashleigh Corby118.2

Individual Open Wins: Males

1
YEAR
2
ATHLETETOTAL1817161514131211
3
Josh Bridges716.1, 16.515.214.513.511.4, 11.6
4
Rich Froning616.414.412.2, 12.311.1, 11.3
5
Ben Smith417.316.215.313.3
6
Mathew Fraser418.517.4, 17.515.5
7
Austin Malleolo318.415.114.3
8
Neal Maddox213.112.4
9
Nicolai Duus218.1, 18.2
10
Andrew Ciancio115.1a
11
Dan Bailey114.1
12
Chad Augustin115.1
13
Danny Henry112.5
14
Jacob Anderson115.4
15
Irving Hernandez114.2
16
Jason Khalipa113.4
17
Jean-Claude Jardim111.2
18
Jonne Koski117.2
19
Kyle Frankenfield116.3
20
Patrick Gallagher113.2
21
Preston Austin111.5
22
Sam Henderson115.1
23
Scott Cottrill117.1
24
Simon Paquette115.5
25
Ioannis Papadopoulos
118.2a
26
Dakota Rager118.3