Brent Fikowski Overcomes Rough Start and “Virtual Weakness” at the Atlas Games, Punches Ticket to Madison
The last week of Semifinals came to a close with one in-person competition and two virtual. Brent Fikowski started slowly during the virtual Atlas Games, but he mounted an impressive comeback over the final two days and locked up the final qualifying spot. The Professor will now head back to Madison to fight for the second podium finish of his career.
Remind me: A five-time Games athlete, Fikowski burst onto the scene in 2016. He won four events as a rookie and finished fourth overall after an exciting battle with Patrick Vellner. He headed to Madison in 2017 while facing increased expectations and captured second place. Fikowski took fourth again in 2018 but finished 23rd during the 2019 Games after falling victim to the infamous cuts throughout the weekend.
Fikowski set himself up for a return trip to Madison in 2020 by winning the Dubai Fitness Championship. However, COVID-19 disrupted the season and forced all of the athletes to compete virtually during Stage 1. Fikowski took 15th and missed out on a trip to Aromas, later discussing on his website mistakes he made during Friendly Fran and other workouts.
A potential stumbling point: When Fikowski finished 37th in the North American Quarterfinals, he set himself up for one of the Semifinals events. His goal was to head to West Coast Classic, Granite Games, or the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge and fight for a trip to Madison in person. However, CrossFit did not provide this opportunity, instead putting Fikowski into the virtual Atlas Games.
- “When I wasn’t selected to one of those events, and was instead put in an online virtual event I was pretty bummed,” Fikowski explained in a recent Instagram post. “For those that know my history in the sport; online events historically haven’t always been favourable for me!”
- “So I was pretty frustrated, I just really didn’t want my season to end at my house after such a long offseason. My mindset changed when I chatted with my wife and she helped me find the words ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way.’ Even wrote it on the gym wall for a couple weeks.”
A rough start: While Fikowski saw the virtual competition as a way to overcome a weakness in his game, he didn’t start the weekend in the best possible way. He finished 19th in Friendly Fran and then 12th in Event 2, relegating him to a spot outside the top 10. A return trip to the Games appeared to be out of reach, but then Fikowski started making some major moves.
- The perennial Games contender finished 10th in Event 3, further raising questions about his ability to perform in virtual competitions. However, Fikowski shut the conversation down with the final event of the day.
- The Professor posted his first win of the weekend in Event 4. He recorded 50 snatches during the event, the most of any Atlas Games competitor, and locked up 100 points. He jumped into seventh place to close out the second day.
A strong finish: Fresh off his win in Event 4, Fikowski kept the momentum going into the final day. He won Event 5 and then capped off his weekend with a fourth-place finish in Grettel. This effort on Sunday helped him rack up 422 total points and lock up the final qualifying spot of the Atlas Games.
Moving on with gold on his mind: Now that Fikowski has his spot in the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games, he will finally have the opportunity to compete in a live setting once again. He will face off with a stacked list of male athletes, including Sean Sweeney, Travis Mayer, Patrick Vellner, and Justin Medeiros among others. Whether he returns to the podium remains to be seen, but Fikowski will enter the competition mentally stronger after overcoming his virtual “weakness.”