Fraser’s Top Five: The 2016 Suicide Sprint

February 2, 2021 by
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Yesterday afternoon, Mat Fraser dropped a major bomb on the CrossFit community, announcing that he was retiring from individual competition and putting an end to his five year reign at the top of the podium at the CrossFit Games. 

Over the past half-decade Fraser’s sheer dominance of the sport has provided us with a multitude of brilliant moments across all levels of the sport. He was a consummate champion whose mastery rewrote the record book a dozen times over before going out on top with his fifth straight CrossFit Games title. 

For the next five days we will be recapping  Fraser’s top five moments at the Games, one each from his five titles in order as we pay homage to the incredible individual career that has now come to a close. 

#5 — The 2016 Suicide Sprint

The final day of the 2016 CrossFit Games included a three-part test that was a trio of short, 50 point workouts done in succession after a quick reset during a single trip out to the competition floor at the soccer stadium of the StubHub Center. 

  • A handstand walk across the entire field was following by a suicide sprint foot race before pulling a weighted sled dubbed “the plow,” across the field as well. The three events combined for a total of 150 possible points.
  • One year prior, the two sprint events — Sprint Course 1 and Sprint Course 2 — kick started Fraser’s fall from the top spot on the leaderboard. Sprint Course 2 resulted in Fraser’s worst event finish ever at the CrossFit Games, and his 86 point lead coming into the event began to evaporate before eventually finishing 2nd overall for the second year in a row. 

Despite a monster 171 point lead after the handstand walk, the ghosts of 2015 still lingered over the impending sprint event and many were curious as to what extent had Fraser addressed his “weakness,” in training over the past year. 

Fraser answered the bell emphatically, turning on the jets during the final leg of the sprint to take 2nd in the event, a 35 place improvement from 2015. In passing Ben Smith during the sprint, Fraser hammered the proverbial final nail in the coffin of his first title run. 

  • Sean Woodland, Play by Play announcer: “It’s not very often that you can put your finger on the exact moment that an athlete establishes his or her dominance. For Mat Fraser that moment was undoubtedly the Suicide Sprint in 2016. I went into that event thinking that he would probably surrender some points to the field given how poorly he did in the Sprint Course events the year prior. He finished 24th and 37th in those two. I left the event thinking, ‘Nobody is going to touch this guy this year.’ To be able to eliminate a glaring weakness from your fitness that completely in just the span of a year is a testament to the maniacal drive that Mat Fraser has to be the best.”
  • Chris Hinshaw, Aerobic Capacity Coach: “In my opinion, this combination of workouts, was the greatest series of workouts ever written. The true test was hidden within the combination and intensity of movements, the accumulation of fatigue, and the limited rest between each event. This series of events was truly testing the athletes ability to recover.Throughout the training 2015/16 season, Mat focused on building his aerobic fitness and sprint speed. During the season, Mat’s mile time progressively dropped to just above 5 minutes. In parallel, Mat worked with his long time weightlifting as well as local high school sprint coach on his start, drive and acceleration skills. This proved to be the perfect combination of recovery and speed. This is what undoubtedly set the stage for his incredible, dominating performances.”

Mat Fraser’s first title would come on the back of a record setting 197 point margin of victory and in the process, ushered in a new era of the CrossFit Games competitively and geographically. The 2016 Games would be the final year in Carson, CA, and in 2017 Fraser and the rest of the sport set their eyes on Madison, WI as the new home of the sport of fitness. 

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