“Plus Ones:” Who the Final Five Brought to the Ranch
When the ten finalists hit the competition floor tomorrow morning for the start of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games, they will face an entirely different competition environment than what they are used to. The pomp and circumstance, the large field of athletes, multiple divisions, the crowds, the controlled, familiar venues, will all be noticeably absent. What each athlete will have is one familiar face that they picked to join them as they conclude their 2020 season with hopes of being crowned the “Fittest on Earth.”
The big picture: As Tommy Marquez noted in his analysis of the COVID-19 Games bubble, each athlete is allowed one primary support person to join them in the bubble and throughout the Games week. That person must follow all of the same protocols as their athlete. Here is the list of each athlete’s “plus one” for this weekend’s Games.
Mathew Fraser | Matt O’Keefe
- Fraser’s longtime confidant, manager and friend, O’Keefe has been with the four-time “Fittest Man on Earth” since the beginning of his CrossFit career. O’Keefe is the president of Loud And Live Sports and also assists in the management of Toomey, Davidsdottir, Wells and Medeiros in the Games field. Just like in the online stage, Orr will coach Fraser when needed and O’Keefe will be instrumental in his recovery and media obligations.
Noah Ohlsen | Max El-Hag
- El-Hag is one of the founders of Training Think Tank and has been Ohlsen’s personal coach since 2017. Ohlsen has averaged a fourth place finish at the Games since El-Hag has taken over as his coach, including a career-best second place finish in 2019. A team athlete at the 2010 Games, his client list also includes Chandler Smith, Travis Mayer and Will Moorad.
Justin Medeiros | Adam Neiffer
- Neiffer has the distinction of coaching the lone rookie in this year’s Games but he is far from a rookie in terms of coaching Games athletes. He coached Team USA at the CrossFit Invitational in Melbourne, Australia in 2017. The owner of CrossFit Fort Vancouver has the distinction of being the only team athlete to have competed at the Games for ten consecutive years. He is credited with providing the 21-year old Medeiros the confidence of being a top-tier Games athlete. His commitment to Medeiros extends all the way to his hairstyle as Neiffer sports a mullet matching his athlete.
Samuel Kwant | Harry Palley
- Kwant switched from Misfit Athletics to CompTrain a year and half ago and Palley has been with him from the start. Kwant has credited Palley with his top-five performance this year in part for teaching him to train smarter and not necessarily harder. One of the head coaches at CrossFit New England, Palley will also have help and be available to help with the other two CompTrain athletes if needed.
Jeffrey Adler | Caroline Lambray
- Lambray is one of just two women who will be coaching at the Games and the only one coaching a male athlete. Her athlete just happens to be her boyfriend as well. The owner of CrossFit Wonderland in Montreal, Quebec with Adler, she has been his coach since 2015 when they first met.
Tia-Clair Toomey | Shane Orr
- It’s well-known that Orr has been Toomey’s coach from the start and part their success has been their ability to separate their personal relationship and their coaching/athlete relationship. Orr coached two Games champions last year and looks to do the same this year as he will also split his time coaching Fraser while helping Toomey to her fourth Games title.
Brooke Wells | Dan DeLomba
- DeLomba was sent to Nashville, TN by Bergeron during the online stage to coach Wells and their success garnered him the invite to the Games. His coaching and game-planning were instrumental in Wells second place showing during the first stage and he will help Bergeron and Palley in assisting with other CompTrain athletes.
Haley Adams | Tasia Percevecz
- The youngest athlete in the field brings a two-time champion to the Games in Percevecz, who has won two team titles with CrossFit Mayhem Freedom. Percevecz not only offers Adams coaching expertise she learned from Rich Froning but familiarity with the Ranch. She competed as an individual at the Ranch in 2017.
Katrin Davidsdottir | Ben Bergeron
- Bergeron will be a busy coach as usual at the Games, having coached multiple athletes on the biggest stage many times through the years. There are three CompTrain athletes in the field, but the primary athlete he will coach will be Davidsdottir. Since taking over as Davidsdottir’s full-time coach in 2015 he has helped her to two titles and six top-five finishes.
Kari Pearce | Justin Cotler
- This year Cotler has taken Pearce’s Games training to another level, especially the last month as they prepared for the live stage. He brought in a pair of 2019 top-ten Games athletes in Bethany Shadburne and Danielle Brandon to help Pearce crack the podium for the first time in her career.
The bottom line: With just ten athletes and a worldwide broadcast this weekend, these coaches and support staff, who are normally behind the scenes, will be front and center. The interaction that athletes have with their coaches will be more noticeable especially since the Games look to be set on a more intimate stage. These individuals will be crucial in not just coming up with strategies for the events but also key in recovery, fueling and guiding the mental state of their respected athletes. This year’s Games will no doubt shine light on the importance of these athlete’s support staff.