Since its inception in 2011 — on both the men’s and women’s side — the CrossFit Games Open has always been won by a Games athlete. Except for 2016.
- In 2016, an unknown Kiwi living in Abu Dhabi named Jamie Greene (now Simmonds) took everyone by surprise when she topped the leaderboard.
Skeptics arose: The community immediately started asking, “Who is Jamie Greene?” “Is she legitimate?” “Is she just a good Open athlete, or can she contend at Regionals and at the Games?”
These questions remained unanswered though, as Simmonds competed and placed third at the Games with her CrossFit Yas team in 2016.
Answering the skeptics:
- 2017: Simmonds proved 2016 wasn’t a fluke when she placed fourth in the Open and went on to not just qualify to the Games, but to become the top rookie that year with an eighth place finish.
- 2018: Once again, Simmonds solidified herself as one of the best CrossFit athletes in the world, finishing 11th at the Games and second at the Dubai CrossFit Championship, only six points behind the winner, Samantha Briggs.
- 2019: While nobody doubted her talent by 2019, Simmonds continued her rise through the ranks, this time breaking through to the podium by placing third at the Games.
- 2020: So far this season, Simmonds has had three top-five finishes at big competitions: fifth in the Open, fifth at the Dubai CrossFit Championship and fourth at the recent online Rogue Invitational.
One big thing: Considering Simmonds’ track record in online competitions, she might be one of the safest bets for a top five finish in this year’s online Games format. She hasn’t been outside of the top 10 in the Open since 2016, and has found herself in the top five, four out of the last five years.
- After working hard on her strength this season, the last two weeks have been all about “winding down” her training in preparation for next weekend and “regathering and trying to make sure that I’m not tired and my body’s ready to go,” Simmonds said in a forthcoming interview segment with Wykie Etsebeth for The Morning Chalk Up.
Should she break into the top five next weekend, Simmonds said she expects competing against just four other athletes at the Finals will be a completely new kind of challenge, namely because each mistake will be that much more costly.
- “It (will) come down to those little inches…One little mistake and you could muck it up quite a lot,” she said.
Regardless of how stage one of the Games goes next weekend, Simmonds said she’s excited just to have the opportunity to compete in the face of the pandemic.
- Considering so many other sports have been canceled, “I think it’s pretty cool that we still get that opportunity to do something,” she said.
One more key thing: Due to COVID-19 travel bans, some international athletes may have trouble getting into the United States should they qualify to the CrossFit Games Finals in Aromas, CA, but — as things stand right now — Simmonds shouldn’t have any trouble traveling to the United States through Dubai.
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