CrossFit Games

CrossFit Games Men’s Division Gets Tougher, Scott Panchik Returns to Individual Competition

January 22, 2021 by
Image Credit: Jon Payne
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The 2021 CrossFit Games men’s field just added a major player to the roster.

Thursday afternoon, eight-time individual Games athlete Scott Panchik announced via Instagram that he was returning to individual competition after a 2020 season spent in the team division. 

Remind me: Panchik is one of the most accomplished individuals in the sport, and after a career best finish of 4th at the 2019 Games, he transitioned over to the team competition, announcing that he was joining the Mayhem Freedom team during the 20.1 live announcement in Austin, TX.

  • Mayhem Freedom won Strength in Depth in dominant fashion to earn their spot at the CrossFit Games before going on to win Wodapalooza as well before the season came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent rulebook announcement and season changes meant the team competition was no longer an option for Panchik as the rules governing the newly reformed Affiliate Cup competition prevent any athlete outside of a 100 mile radius of the host gym to compete on that gym’s team. 

Panchik currently lives in Ohio, more than 500 miles away from CrossFit Mayhem.

Back in the saddle: The individual men’s competition now regains one of the most consistent performers at the Games in history and without a doubt the fittest individual ever without a career podium, a stat Panchik will look to change in 2021.

  • In 2012 Panchik burst onto the scene qualifying out of the hotly contested Central East Regional before finishing an impressive 4th place overall in Carson, earning his first career event win in the process. 
  • Over the next seven years Panchik was a perennial podium contender but he never quite managed to get over the hump despite finishing in 6th place overall or better an astounding seven times in eight years. 
  • Panchik’s closest call came in 2017 when he finished just eight measly points behind the 3rd place finisher that year, Patrick Vellner. On three separate occasions he finished just one spot shy of the podium at the Games. 

For the rest of the men’s division, the road to podium and the Games has gotten rockier because Panchik’s body of work all but guarantees he will be taking a qualifying spot away from up and coming athletes in the semifinals.

  • His track record at the Games places him as a gatekeeper for any athlete hoping for one of the premier spots on the leaderboard in the top-10, which has implications on prize money and media coverage.

A podium finish was all but guaranteed in 2020 with Mayhem Freedom, but the team competition was ultimately cut from the abbreviated season. In the 10th season of his career, Panchik’s first career podium will now have to come in his first full season as a father after he and his wife welcomed their daughter to the world this past fall. 

Maybe all Scott Panchik needs is a little “dad strength,” to finally get that CrossFit Games medal.

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