Among the All-Time Greats, Where Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey Measure Up

November 1, 2020 by
Photo Credit: Tia-Clair Toomey (instagram.com/tiaclair1)

What the CrossFit community witnessed during stage two of the 2020 CrossFit Games was two all-time greats of the sport operating at peak capacity. Tia-Clair Toomey and Mat Fraser blew away the field with a level of dominance that will likely never be seen again in tandem. 

It begs the question of how their weekend spent at the Ranch and Morgan Hill Outdoor Sport Complex stacks up numbers- and impact-wise against some of the all time great sports performances across history.

The big picture: For many of these performances, the lore and implications of their dominance are amplified by the full resumes of the competitor, and stand as the gold star moments in careers that helped redefine their sport. It should also be noted that all the performances below involved multiple events or days and fall more in line with the nature of the CrossFit Games than a single game or outing.

  • Tiger Woods, 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach: Woods won the U.S. Open by an almost unfathomable 15 strokes at one of the most iconic golf courses in the world. He carded a 12-under par score for the weekend and no other golfer even managed to break par that weekend, meanwhile Woods became the first golfer to break the double digit under par barrier in the U.S. Open. The win was the first of four consecutive wins that spanned all four of golf’s “major” tournaments between the 2000, 2001 seasons, a feat dubbed “the Tiger Slam.” Most courses began “Tiger proofing,” their layouts to make their course significantly harder in attempts to prevent similar dominance from Woods.
  • Michael Phelps, 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: Phelps broke arguably one of the greatest sporting records by winning 8 gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and in the process set seven world records, two of which still stand over a decade later, and two more he still holds after breaking them again a year later. Even more impressive is the fact that he was swimming qualifying heats, semi-final heats, and finals heats multiple times a day for multiple events for a total of 20 races across the entire week of his performance. The gold medal Phelps won alongside Jason Lezak, Garret Weber-Gale, and Cullen Jones in the 400m freestyle relay is considered one of the greatest races in recent history. Phelps medal count alone was more than 61 different countries that earned a medal during that olympic games.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics: A 32 year-old record that still stands to this day is Joyner-Kersee’s world record heptathlon performance at the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The heptathlon tests athletes in the 100m hurdles, long jump, 200m, high jump, shot put, javelin, and 800m. Her 7,291 points scored across the seven scored events secured her the first of two olympic gold medals in the heptathlon and to this day is still 259 points clear of the next athlete on the list. That same year she also won the gold medal in the long jump event — setting the olympic record in the process — and still holds the top marks ever recorded by a heptathlete in the long jump and 200m sprint. Her points scored in the long jump also still stand as the single highest point total ever scored in a single event for the heptathlon. Joyner-Kersee in her career owns the top six scores all-time in the heptathlon, a true testament to her dominance. 
  • Usain Bolt, 2009 World Track And Field Championships: The fastest man on the planet cemented his status yet again at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, Germany. In the 100m dash, Bolt ran the race in a track scalding 9.58 seconds that bested his own world record previously set at the olympics by .11 seconds, the largest margin of improvement for the 100m world record since 1977 when electronic timing was officially introduced. Later on in the meet he set another world record in the 200m, running it in 19.19 seconds to also beat his old world record by .11 seconds as well. His win in the 200m was the largest margin of victory ever for the race at the world championships. Just for kicks Bolt and his teammates on the Jamaican 4x100m relay team won the world championship in that race as well with a time of 37.31 which was the second fastest time in history at the time (the first being the world record they had set a year prior). To this day his world records in the three races still stand, and as an eight time gold medalist at the olympics, and an 11-time world champion he’s easily the greatest sprinter of all time. 

Toomey by the numbers: Through the 12 scored events of stage 2, Toomey’s 360 point margin of victory is the largest ever at the CrossFit Games, a stark contrast to her two point victory in 2017 which was the smallest margin of victory as well. 

  • Her nine event wins are the most ever in the women’s division for a single competition stage, and her six consecutive event wins starting with the Toes-to-bar/Lunge and ending with the Sprint Sled Sprint ties her training partner for a record as well. 
  • Rule the day: Toomey’s perfect day two performance, winning all four of the Saturday events make her the only other athlete in history alongside Fraser to sweep an entire day of competition containing four or more events.
  • Points galore: Toomey’s 1,025 points means she took home 85.4% of all the points available to her, a record for the women’s division, and when paired head to head with each of the remaining final five athlete in stage two, her record against them across the weekend is 40-8. It’s a mark that’s representative of the greatest female CrossFitter in history with double the amount of titles as her next closest competitor.

Fraser by the numbers: After turning in a dominant stage one performance to earn his way to California, it was hard to imagine how Mat Fraser could possibly improve upon his performance in stage two, but as he has continually done across his career, Fraser reset the game board and turned it what was without a doubt the greatest statistical CrossFit Games performance ever. 

  • All I do is win: Fraser won 10 of the 12 events across the weekend, and only conceded two placings total across the entire weekend, extending his record for most career event wins at the CrossFit Games. His 545 point margin of victory breaks his own previous record of 220 points set in 2018. 
  • Side by side: Alongside his training partner Tia-Clair Toomey, Fraser simultaneously became the only other athlete to sweep an entire day of CrossFit Games competition containing four or more events. He also tied Toomey for the consecutive event wins record by winning six straight starting with the Handstand Sprint on Friday, and ending with Saturday’s Happy Star.
  • Stats revisited: During our recap of stage one, I revealed that when matching Fraser head to head with the rest of the top five athletes heading to stage two in the stage one workouts, his record stood at a ridiculous 25-3. In stage two his record in the 48 head-to-head matchups against his peers actually improved to 46-2, making him a combined 71-5 against the next four fittest athletes in the world during  both stages of the Games. Samuel Kwant was the only athlete to beat him twice in the 19 different tests across both stages.
  • Most impressive is the fact that Fraser took home an absolutely mind-boggling 95.8% of all the points available to him in stage two, and the only two blemishes were two second place finishes in the CrossFit Total and Swim “N Stuff. I am willing to be wrong about this, but I am willing to bet we’ll never see a higher percentage of points taken home by an individual athlete at the CrossFit Games in another 20 years.

The bottom line: Both Fraser and Toomey’s performances will likely stand in the record books for quite some time, which immediately draws a common thread between them and the four performances also listed in this piece. All of the four previous athletes are the best ever in their respective disciplines, and all have had records stand for decades on end. Seeing as that both Toomey and Fraser are alone in history now as the best to ever do it with a combined nine CrossFit Games titles between them, father time will only further solidify their 2020 performances in the top of the history books. 

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