Katrin Davidsdottir’s Path To The Podium
The 2020 CrossFit Games season has taught us many lessons, one of which is most certainly to never count Katrin Davidsdottir out.
The two-time CrossFIt Games champion has built an all-time great career around her ability to bounce back from adversity and perform at her best when her back is against the wall, and her 2nd place finish at this year’s Games might be one of the most stirring examples of this lesson to date given what transpired throughout the season.
Remind me: Back in 2014, Davidsdottir’s hopes of a third straight appearance at the CrossFit Games were dashed by some legless rope climbs that she was unable to complete during the Europe Regional that year. Largely overshadowed by reigning champion Sam Brigg’s missed qualification, the result was the first major bump in the road for the then 21 year-old Davidsdottir.
- The next year Davidsdottir blew everyone away by not only returning to the Games, but winning them ahead of rookie sensations Tia-Clair Toomey, and Sara Sigmundsdottir. She would repeat the feat the following year after a heated battle with Toomey during the final two days of competition.
Fast forward to 2019 and going into the Sprint event that would serve as the final cut to ten athletes for the remainder of the competition, Davidsdottir was on the bubble and desperately needed a strong finish. She responded with a 9th place finish, her best placing ever in a run-specific sprint event, to extend her weekend.
2020 enters the chat: With very little time to rest and reload, Davidsdottir initially secured her spot for the 2020 CrossFit Games through the Open with a 23rd place finish worldwide once the backfill process for national champions and team athlete declines took hold. Just over a month after the Open concluded she made the trip to the Dubai CrossFit Championship.
- Trouble brewing: The first sign of injury for Davidsdottir came at the start line for Dubai, when she sat out of the first event and ultimately withdrew due to a back injury sustained during training shortly before.
- Sitting with Davidsdottir after the announcement, it was clear that both the injury and her competitive drive were serious business as she had a difficult time sitting and watching the competition unfold at the Jumeirah Mina Al Salam beach.
Little did we know, but the short lived appearance in Dubai would be the last time we’d see Katrin in a competition setting for another seven months, as restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic cancelled every event on the calendar except for the Rogue Invitational.
- Not quite right: Davidsdottir clearly was not at full strength at the Rogue Invitational, and lingering issues with her back appeared to hamper her as she struggled towards a 13th place finish out of 17 athletes. It was the first time Davidsdottir had finished outside of the top-10 at a competition other than the Open since 2013.
Heading into stage one, Davidsdottir’s health and ability to prepare fully was a big question mark for the community, as word about her lingering back injury spread in conjunction with her rough showing at Rogue. It looked as if her season might not end in Aromas.
- Day one added fuel to that fire and after the first four events of the weekend Davidsdottir was outside of top five, and her day included only one finish inside the top ten as well a 27th place finish in the front squat.
- In true Davidsdottir fashion, “the sled dog,” came charging into day two with back-to-back event wins, and by weekend’s end she was firmly entrenched inside the top five after closing the competition with an average finish of 3rd on the final four events.
- The comeback was a quintessential Katrin Davidsdottir performance and guaranteed her a sixth straight finish inside the top five at the Games.
By the time things moved to California for stage two Davidsdottir was hovering outside of a podium position heading into the Ranch Loop event that was the finale for day one, and one that included a massive twist of a second loop in reverse at what the athletes thought was the finish line.
- Davidsdottir reached the turnaround in 3rd place, and with a breath of new life after the twist was revealed, she made a huge push during the second loop to overtake Tia-Clair Toomey and Haley Adams to win the event and move into a podium position.
- It was just the boost she needed and she never left the top three overall the rest of the weekend en route her fourth podium finish in six seasons, and with the silver medal she completed the sweep of the podium for her career.
The big picture: At nearly every step along the way it appeared that Katrin Davidsdottir was potentially in danger of a disappointing finish to her season, and in every instance she knuckled down, and showed the championship mentality that earned her two gold medals. Her current run at the Games is one of the best ever in the history of the women’s division, second only to Toomey’s current dominance, and her ability to rally throughout the 2020 season deserves some acclaim.