Two Weeks Out: Six Storylines We’re Paying Attention To
There are just under two weeks until the 2021 CrossFit Games kicks off, returning to in-person competition in Madison, WI. Barring any significant changes, all rosters across all divisions are set and we’re starting to get early glimpses of competition events trickling out.
Real quick, here’s how to stay up to date:
- Follow @morningchalkup on Instagram.
Storylines we’re paying attention to:
- The CrossFit moms take over: Five female CrossFit Games athletes with children will be competing this year, making up 12.5% of the individual womens field, the most ever.
- This includes two podium athletes: Annie Thorisdottir and Kara Saunders. Former two-time champion Annie Thorisdottir returns for the first time after sitting out 2020. Saunders hasn’t competed in-person at the Games since 2018 when she placed fourth. Last year, she completed Stage 1 of the Games from her home gym in Australia and finished 8th.
- Returning to individual competition are Mekenzie Riley and Regan Huckaby. Riley retired after placing 26th in 2019, giving birth to a son, but ended up qualifying by taking second at the Atlas Games. Huckaby returns to the Games as an individual for the first time since 2017. The mom of two previously competed in 2019 on Team Invictus, taking third at the Games.
- Making her Games debut is another mom, Arielle Loewen, who won the 2021 Granite Games. Loewen was a perennial Regionals athlete from 2014 to 2018. In fact, during the 2018 Regional where she placed 15th, she was unknowingly two-months pregnant.
- There will be a brand new Fittest Man on Earth: For the first time in more than a decade, there are no former male champions competing at the CrossFit Games, and 2021 will be the first time since 2016 that a new athlete will stand on-top of the podium. By the way, there’s only one former Games champion still competing as an individual in CrossFit, and that’s Ben Smith, but he failed to qualify this year.
- Short list of contenders: Noah Ohlsen, Patrick Vellner, Brent Fikowski, Bjorgin Karl Gudmundsson, Justin Medeiros, Scott Panchik, and a host of new faces making their Games debut. Keep an eye on Jayson Hopper, who captured the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge with three event wins.
- Can Tia-Clair Toomey match Fraser’s five championships? Toomey already holds the female record for most titles and most consecutive wins, but this is her chance to tie Fraser’s five Fittest on Earth title. And if she wins again, will she pursue a sixth title and the overall record, or hang up her laces?
- Failed drug tests changed the landscape of the team division: Two teams had their invitations revoked in the last week after testing positive for banned substances. Coincidentally, both Ocean State’s Finest and Move Fast Lift Heavy qualified at the Granite Games.
- Instead, 12 Labours Lions, the sixth-place finisher, and seventh-place finisher, Timberwolf CrossFit will take their spots.
- This brings the total tally of disqualified teams due to drug sanctions to three.
- Will Roman Khrennikov make it to Madison? The top athlete in the Last Chance Qualifier, Khrennikov qualified for the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games yet again. However, he still has to acquire a Visa to head to the United States, something that he has been unable to do in the past.
- Khrennikov has a major hurdle to overcome: According to an Instagram post by Anastasiya Kholodova, the next step in the process is setting up an interview at any US Embassy. He has until July 20 to do so.
- Dave Castro revealed the number of events: The CrossFit Games Instagram account kicked off the month of July by providing some crucial info. Castro’s whiteboard revealed that there will be 15 individual events in Madison. Will these be the only tests given to the athletes, or will Castro use his patented twist on the final day and add another?
Bottom line: The 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games will provide several athletes with the opportunity to put the world on notice. Toomey can continue to make history with her fifth title while a new male athlete can establish himself as a force in the individual field. Fans have no idea who will hold the oversized check at the end of the weekend, but they are ready to watch the battle in person after a year away.