California Masters Athlete Dies Fighting Wildfires

August 21, 2020 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit ( Credit: CrossFit (
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

2013 CrossFit Games Masters podium finisher Mike Fournier died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday while fighting a wildfire near Fresno, California. Fournier placed third in the 45-49 Masters Division in his lone Games appearance.

A family man, a hero: Fournier was piloting a helicopter performing water drops over a brush fire for CAL FIRE when it crashed with just him aboard in the central California hills. It took search and rescue teams six and a half hours to recover his remains from the rough terrain. The crews removed his body from the crash site wrapped in an American flag. The cause of the crash is unknown.

He will be remembered by his fellow CrossFitters as a family man. A husband and father of two daughters competed alongside Patrick Sprague and Ron Ortiz. Both athletes heard of the news while competing at the Masters Fitness Collective Championships in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“Words can’t do justice to describe the type of person he was,” said Sprague. “He was a super human being, a gentle beast. I’ve met so many people in this sport and he stands out amongst them all. All of us who knew him, loved him and thought he was an amazing man.”

Ortiz first met Fournier at the 2013 Games as they both battled for the 45-49 title. Ortiz would finish atop the podium but gained a friend that day according to him.

“He could always count on Mike for a hug and to genuinely ask how you were,” said Ortiz. “He’s an everyday hero. He walked through life knowing that at any time he could be called to do something that put his life on the line. He did it freely without hesitation. My heart goes out to his family, his daughters who he spoke so highly of. We are going to miss Mike. We lost a good soul.”

The organizers of the MFCC renamed the final workout on Sunday after Fournier in honor of him.

A GoFundMe page was established to help the family.

“I know where you are Mike and you’re looking down on us looking over your amazing wife, beautiful daughters and us,” said Sprague.

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.