Tommy’s Takeaways: The Live Five

September 19, 2020 by
Photo Credit: Mat Fraser, Buttery Bros (instagram.com/mathewfras)

The first chapter of the 2020 CrossFit Games has officially come to a close and we now have the “Live Five” men and five women who will make the trip to the Ranch in Aromas to compete for the CrossFit Games title.

Seven tests across two days, and no shortage of leaderboard drama gave us razor thin margins separating athletes on the bubble inside the top 10.

Final Leaderboard:

  1. Mathew Fraser – 656 points | Tia-Clair Toomey – 611 points
  2. Noah Ohlsen – 488 points | Brooke Wells – 580 points
  3. Justin Medeiros – 480 points | Haley Adams – 497 points
  4. Samuel Kwant – 449 points | Katrin Davidsdottir – 490 points
  5. Jeffrey Adler – 420 points | Kari Pearce – 451 points
  6. Chandler Smith – 418 points | Kristin Holte – 449 points
  7. Jonne Koski – 410 points | Amanda Barnhart – 446 points
  8. Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson – 406 points | Kara Saunders – 444 points
  9. Patrick Vellner  – 405 points | Kristi Eramo O’Connell – 402 points
  10. Samuel Cornoyer – 395 points | Andrea Nisler – 394 points

Top Women

Tia-Clair Toomey: No surprises here with Toomey’s performance. Three event wins, two more finishes in the top three overall, and really her only “slip ups,” came in the single modality tests of the handstand hold and 1,000 meter row where the margins between finishes were miniscule.

  • Toomey finished 6th in the row, just 0.7 seconds behind 4th in that event, and she finished tied for 16th in the handstand, only 12 seconds from 10th place.
  • At this point there’s no stopping Toomey, who has now won nine consecutive CrossFit competitions and stages outside of the Open. She’s only going to get better now that significantly more running, high skill gymnastics, and swimming have the potential of entering the fold at the Ranch.

Brooke Wells: One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the bounce back Wells has had in shaking out the demons from getting cut at last year’s Games due to a penalty for stepping on the line during the sprint.

  • Ms. Consistency: Wells has the distinction of being the only female athlete to finish every one of the seven events inside the top 10. No matter what, she’ll have a career best finish at the CrossFit Games in 2020 now as a result
  • Last year the only time Wells was outside of the top 10 at the Games after an event was unfortunately after the Sprint when the field was cut to 10. Considering that a minor execution error was the culprit, it’s possible this version of Brooke Wells has been waiting to fully be unleashed since last season, and some unfortunate format changes simply delayed it.

Haley Adams: She may only be 19 years old, but Haley Adams is no longer the future of the sport, today’s finish guaranteeing her a top five spot and potential podium at the Games in 2020 means she’s already part of the present.

  • Adams managed to overcome a bottom five finish in the front squat with five finishes of 6th or better and closed the competition with a trio of 4th place finishes amongst women more than a decade older than her. Her poise and execution speak to the maturity of an athlete well beyond her years.
  • Record breaker: If Adams manages to podium at the Games in October, she’ll break Annie Thorisdottir’s record for the youngest podium finisher ever at the Games, a mark set by Annie a decade ago at the 2010 Games in Carson.

Katrin Davidsdottir: Don’t ever count the women nicknamed “the sled dog,” down or out. Davidsdottir turned in the biggest comeback of the weekend, rallying from a 22nd place finish after block 1 to earn herself a top five finish at the Games for a 6th consecutive year.

  • Medal hunt: The former two-time champion has an opportunity now to earn her fourth podium finish at the CrossFit Games, which would place her 3rd all time in the women’s division, just one medal shy of her friend and fellow Icelandic “Dottir,” Annie Thorisdottir.
  • Full send: Katrin’s comeback was solidified by her back to back event win’s in Nasty Nancy and the Max Handstand Hold, and she closed the competition better than anyone – her 364 points in the final four events were more than any women in the field.

Kari Pearce: After a slow start to the competition, the reigning fittest woman in the United States rebounded nicely to score some massive points when things turned upside down. She scored 184 combined points between Damn Diane and the Max Handstand Hold, the best total in the women’s field.

  • Red, White, and Blue: Pearce has been the fittest woman in the United states based on Games finish three times in her career, more than any woman in CrossFit Games history. The only thing missing from her resume is a medal and if she manages to make the podium in 2020, she has a strong case for the greatest American woman crossfitter of all-time.

Top Men

Mat Fraser: What else is there to say at this point? Mat Fraser showed up to a competition and won like he has done practically every time he’s competed for the last six seasons. Even still, he finds ways to destroy the men’s field in new and exciting ways.

  • By the numbers: Fraser finished every single event in 8th place or better, including four event wins in every one of the named girl workouts. His score of 656 points meant he took home a ridiculous 93.7% of all points available to him.
  • What’s really scary is how he fared head-to-head with the athletes who will be joining him at the Ranch. In 28 different opportunities, his peers only managed to beat him 3 times total. No one managed to beat him more than once — Ohlsen, Medeiros, and Kwant each got him in one event — and the margins of their victories is insanely small. Combined, their three wins over Fraser equate to only 12-lbs in the front squat, and 3.9 seconds in the remaining workouts. In Nasty Nancy alone Fraser beat them by over five minutes combined.

Noah Ohlsen: Any questions about Ohlsen’s podium run can easily be put to rest after he backed his 2nd place finish up with another 2nd place finish behind Fraser in part one. After struggling to make the podium for so long, he has an excellent chance at back-to-back podiums.

  • Podium worthy: Ohlsen was able to cruise in the final workout thanks in part to three top-three finishes in the first six events, which guaranteed him a spot in the top five overall so long as he simply finished the final workout.
  • Ranch redemption: The only time Ohlsen has competed in Aromas was in 2016, his worst finish ever at the Games. His average finish in the three events at the Ranch that year was 20th, which means he’ll get to write a new, brighter chapter in his career book about his time at the Ranch.

Justin Medeiros: Holy cow, what an impressive weekend performance by the youngster from Modesto, California. The 21-year-old Medeiros showed zero signs of inexperience or ill-effect from his rookie debut that also involved poor air quality from the wildfires raging on the West Coast.

  • Dublin to Aromas: Medeiros was the lone athlete in the top five to earn his Games berth through a Sanctional when he won the 2019 CrossFit Filthy 150 out in Ireland nearly 10 months ago.
  • Home cookin’: The rookie won’t have to travel far for the finals in October, the Ranch sits only a 100 miles away from his hometown in California, which means he’ll be right at home on the competition floor like he was this weekend when he was the only other male athlete besides Mat Fraser to have a finish of 20th or below.

Samuel Kwant: When we picked Kwant as one of our Dark Horses to make it through to Aromas, a lot of people were skeptical about his chances to upset some of the bigger names in the sport, but that skepticism has definitely dissipated after Kwant closed the weekend with an average finish of 5th in the final three events.

  • Kwant has battled his way back from injury and navigated this training around parenthood after recently becoming a father for the first time. He’ll be able to justify a few extra training sessions in the home gym now that he’s guaranteed a career-best finish at the Games.
  • A sign of things to come: Kwant made his Rookie debut at the Games in 2016, turning some heads by winning the grueling Double DT event in front of thousands of fans in the tennis stadium. It seems fitting then that three more brutal variations of benchmark workouts would be the catapult for him this weekend.

Jeffrey Adler: Sometimes an athlete shows up and does something that catches your attention in such a way that you just know they are about to accomplish something great. That was the case with Jeffrey Adler back in October of last year when he won Open workout 20.4 worldwide.

  • Adler finished first in Canada in the Open, which prompted us to travel to Dubai to dedicate a video series covering his competition performance at the Dubai CrossFit Championships.
  • Nine months later, Adler is headed to Aromas with a top-five finish in his back pocket after four top 10 event finishes this weekend, which was enough to beat out Chandler Smith by just two points and make Adler the lone Canadian crashing the party alongside four Americans.