The Fittest Head to London for Strength in Depth
The four-time defending Fittest Man on Earth Mathew Fraser and two-time defending Fittest Team on Earth CrossFit Mayhem Freedom are set to make their 2019-2020 Sanctional season debut this weekend across the pond in London, England. Strength in Depth will play host to those champions from January 24-26 as well as those looking to unseat them.
What’s on the line: 2020 CrossFit Games invitations are awaiting the top finishers from the elite individuals and team divisions. A prize purse of over $37,500 will await the top finishers in the individual and team divisions.
- 5,000 GBP
- 3,000 GBP
- 1,500 GBP
Who to watch: The men’s and women’s divisions feature a combined 67 athletes competing for a Games berth. Nineteen teams will face off for the fifth team invite to the Games.
- Fraser will compete in the first of his two confirmed Sanctionals this season. The nearly six month lay-off is Fraser’s longest away from live competition since the layoff between his win in the 2017 Games and the 2018 Central Regional.
- Mayhem Freedom debuts their new team featuring Scott Panchik replacing the retired Dre Strohm, a member of last year’s dominant championship team. For Rich Froning this will be the seventh different roster he has put together for the team he has captained since leaving individual competition. Tasia Percevecz and Chyna Cho return from last year’s team.
- Also competing and making her debut from the Mayhem stable is Haley Adams. Adams finished sixth in the Games as a rookie last year. The college freshman has already secured her Games invite through the Worldwide Open after finishing 32nd.
- 2018 Games runner-up Laura Horvath also makes her Sanctional debut. Horvath has her Games invite secured after repeating as the national champion for Hungary.
Speaking of national champions, Strength in Depth will have ten competing in the individual divisions. Joining Horvath are Camilla Salomonsson Hellman (Sweden), Gabriela Migala (Poland), Lisa Eble (Germany) and Nicole Pettel (Israel). On the men’s side Fraser (USA), Eleftherios Theofanidis (Greece), Nicolay Billaudel (Norway), Ram Dover (Israel) and Zack George (United Kingdom) have all punched their tickets as national champions.
- Greece’s Giorgos Karavis is looking for the Games invite perhaps more than anyone in the men’s field after coming up short to Theofanidis as national champion and also one spot short of top 20 invite from the Open after finishing 34th.
- Bronislaw Olenkowicz won the 2019 Strength in Depth title to punch his ticket to Madison. He looks to do the same this year as he missed out through the Open.
- Lukas Hogberg hopes to become the first male athlete ever to earn an invitation to the Games without participating in the Open. Last season seven women accomplished that feat. Hogberg talked with the Morning Chalk Up about his decision to forgo the Open.
- For three female athletes, it’s a quick turnaround between Sanctionals. Stephanie Chung, Nicole Chovan and Paige Powers competed at the Mayhem Classic two weeks ago. For Chung, this will be her third Sanctional of the season as she looks to earn a Games invite.
- Will Moorad also competed at the Mayhem Classic but withdrew after the third event due to an injury. The 10th Fittest Man on Earth is confirmed to compete in London.
- Seventeen countries will be represented in the individual divisions.
- Team Whey’d will try to push Mayhem Freedom in the team division. The team consists of two-time Irish national champion Emma McQuaid, Lithuanian national champion Arminas Balevicius, 2018 men’s Irish national champion Michael Smith and Helena Collins from the UK.
What to watch for: Strength in Depth has grown in popularity in England since becoming a Sanctional last season. After expanding the seating to accommodate ticket demands by more than 1,300 seats at the London ExCel, they again sold out of all spectator tickets for the three-day event.
- The Sanctional will broadcast live on its YouTube channel.
- Check back with the Morning Chalk Up daily for updates, recaps and analysis. You can follow our coverage on the Strength in Depth Sanctional page.