Jeffrey Adler Proves He Belongs with the Elite

November 11, 2020 by
Photo courtesy of CrossFit LLC.
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Though he finished last amongst the five finalists of stage two at the Reebok CrossFit Games, Jeffrey Adler was able to prove not only to himself but to the world that he belongs amongst the best CrossFit athletes. The Games was a continuation of his five year ascent into the upper echelons of the men’s division.

One big thing: The native of Montreal, Canada was still a relative unknown athlete heading into the final stage. What was known about the 26-year old is that he was considered one of the strongest athletes in the Games field. 

More insight: If an event featured a heavy barbell more than likely it would play to his favor. He also thrived in traditional CrossFit workouts that featured low volume gymnastics. Those two strengths helped him in the Open where he paced fifth overall and actually was the Canadian national champion, finishing ahead of well-known countrymen like Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowski. What the Games showed us was the flaws in his game and what he needs to work on to continue his rise and to challenge consistently for a podium spot.

Remind me: Adler’s CrossFit journey started with the 2016 Open as a 22-year old, finishing 2,709th worldwide. The following year he improved to 410th before making some noise during the 2018 season.

  • During the 2018 season, Adler once again continued to progress, finishing 98th worldwide and earning an invitation to the East Regionals. In his first large-scale competition, Adler flashed moments of brilliance specifically finishing fifth in the Triple 3 event which featured a 3,000 meter row, 300 double unders and a 3-mile run. He placed 18th overall in a field that featured countrymen and perennial Games podium contender Patrick Vellner.
  • The 2019 season was when he finally made his mark as he qualified for his first Games after once again improving his Open finish. He placed 26th in the Open and parlayed that into a 33rd placing at the Games.
  • Where the 2019 season was groundbreaking for Adler, the 2020 season was the year he realized his potential and continued his evolution into one of the best athletes in the world. He earned his ticket to the Games through his Open finish, before competing in two Sanctionals where he placed eighth in a stacked Dubai CrossFit Championship field and third at the Mayhem Classic.
  • By the time the 2020 Games started with the online stage, Adler was admittedly fatigued from training while he along with all his fellow athletes awaited word on the continuation of the season after the COVID-19 pandemic put the season on a six-month hiatus.
  • Adler’s path through the online stage to qualify for the final stage in Aromas, Calif. hinged on his final event finish. Sitting in seventh place, two spots behind a qualifying spot, he was able to record his fourth top-ten finish to secure his invitation to the final stage of the Games by two points.

The 2020 Games: Adler had redemption on his mind after what he perceived was a poor 2019 Games performance. After getting cut after just four events last year and just making the cut this year, Adler felt he had something to prove.

  • He struggled through the first two events of the Games, recording fourth place finishes in both of them. He just missed a last place finish in event two, the Corn Sack Sprint, by sneaking past Games rookie Justin Medeiros at the finish line.
  • Event three was Adler’s coming out party for the millions of fans watching. The French-Candian showed his strength and his personality off in the benchmark workout, the CrossFit Total. He set personal records in all three lifts as he finished with 1,244 lbs lifted and an event win. The highlight was the back and forth he and five-time CrossFit Games champion Mathew Fraser had during the event. Adler was having fun throughout, flexing after his 207 lb strict press and smiling and screaming out in french during his 567 lb deadlift.
  • Unfortunately he again suffered disappointing finishes in the final two events of the day to put him in fourth place after day one.
  • Day two started off with another fifth place finish in the Toes-to-bar/Lunge event but then he went on a run of top-three finishes as he attempted to challenge Fraser’s dominance.
  • Adler and Fraser went toe-to-toe during the Snatch Speed Triple with the champ edging out the Canadian and then doing the same in the Bike Repeater, an event that Adler admiitingly had little experience in and surprised himself in.
  • Adler became the only athlete to record back-to-back second place finishes during the final stage of the Games with his runner-up finishes in the Snatch Speed Triple and the Bike Repeater.
  • On the final event of the day, Adler once again went after the champ but ultimately finished third, which put him in second place in the overall leaderboard heading into the final day of competition.
  • However Adler struggled in the final three events as they exposed weaknesses in his fitness, specifically longer, cardio-based workouts and he fell out of medal contention after two fifth place finishes and a fourth. 
  • Adler’s final placing was fifth despite four top-three finishes in 12 events.

One big thing: What his final finish overshadowed at that point what was a spirited run, as he not only challenged Fraser but famously called upon his other competitors to challenge Fraser as well. Adler showed he was the strongest athlete in the field but he admittingly knows he has more to work on specifically working on his distance running and his engine. He also needs to work on his gymnastics skills, specifically being on his hands whether walking or high-volume handstand push-ups. These are all skills that he knew he needed to work on but now understands at what lengths he needs to improve on them after competing at the highest level. The bar has been set and looking at his history of improving as an athlete every year he has competed there is little reason to doubt that he will continue to evolve. Along with his partner and coach Caroline Lambray, Adler will look back at his 2020 season and build upon it and has to be considered an early favorite to challenge for a podium spot in 2021.

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