CrossFit Games

Masters Men We’ll Be Watching in Madison

July 21, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Kay Wiese
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After the masters division at the CrossFit Games was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the division on both the men and women’s side is stacked and ready to get back on the competition floor. With returning masters champions and former individual and team Games athletes making their masters debut, today we’re diving into the men on the masters field and giving you our top picks.

  • P.S. All age group divisions will be broadcast live. Here’s how to watch.

35-39: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • Kyle Kasperbauer: A ten time CrossFit Games athlete both in the individual and masters category, Kasperbauer is a living CrossFit legend. As he closes out his final year in the 35-39 division, he is a strong contender for a podium position and possibly the gold medal.
  • Adrian Conway: Former individual Games athlete Adrian Conway is also a two time affiliate cup champion. While he doesn’t have as much individual experience as some of the other former Games athletes in his division, he is still a potential contender for the podium.
  • Nick Bloch: Despite a stacked field of former Games athletes, one time individual CrossFit Games athlete Nick Bloch managed to pull off a win for the AGOQ. In his masters debut, Bloch comes into the Games sitting in a strong position to step onto the podium this year.

Wildcards

  • Dan Bailey: CrossFit superstar Dan Bailey is a five year individual CrossFit Games athlete. In his masters debut and his return to the CrossFit Games after several years, fans are expecting big things from Bailey, including a possible podium finish.
  • James Hobart: A two time affiliate cup champion and multi-year individual Games athlete, Hobart’s extensive experience on the competition floor gives him a strong chance at a podium spot this year.

40-44: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • Alexandre Jolivet: Frenchman Alexandre Jolivet already has one podium finish under his belt in 2018. When he returned to the Games in 2019, he finished just shy of a podium spot. This year, he stands as a strong contender to put himself back on the podium.
  • Heath Moody: Despite cancelled events and the chaos of 2020, Heath Moody still managed to have a great 2020 season, finishing first place overall at the Masters Fitness Collective. In his first appearances at the Games in 2019, he took 7th. This year, he is looking like he could improve on that and earn himself a spot on the podium.
  • Tony Kurz: Similar to Moody, Kurz took advantage of the alternative routes given to masters athletes in the 2020 season, finishing second overall in both Legends Masters Championship and the Masters Fitness Collective. This year, he took 6th in the AGOQ and is looking like a potential podium contender.

Wildcards:

  • David Johnston: In his first appearance in 2018, Johnston barely missed the podium in the 40-44 division. This year, he won the AGOQ by over 20 points and is looking like a strong contender to potentially upset the podium positions.
  • Nuno Costa: Not only is Nuno Costa a multi-year team veteran with CrossFit Invictus, he’s also 2019’s fourth fittest man in the 40-44 division. After barely missing the podium at his last Games appearance, Costa is looking like he could crack the top three this year.

45-49: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • Giulio Silvino: The 48-year-old Italian will be making his fourth appearance at the CrossFit Games and is looking to take home his first medal as well. While he came close in 2018 with a 6th place finish, his first place finish in the AGOQ puts him as a strong contender for a podium position this year.
  • Justin LaSala: In 2019, LaSala secured his first podium position and this year, he’s looking to do it again. This will be LaSala’s fourth appearance at the Games. 
  • Jason Grubb: The 2019 champion of the 40-44 division, Grubb will be making his first appearance in the 45-49 division this year and is a strong contender for a podium position in his third Games appearance.

Wildcard:

  • Mike Kern: This will be Kern’s 4th CrossFit Games. While he made the podium in 2016, he has yet to get back. However, his second place finish in the AGOQ this year indicates that he could be a good candidate to upset the podium.

50-54: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • James Grundler: This will be Grundler’s 5th CrossFit Games. Despite a 17th place finish last year, Grundler took a 6th place finish in the AGOQ and his years of experience competing bodes well for him earning a podium position this year.
  • Kevin Koester: The 2018 and 2019 champ is back this year after taking last year off from competing. He’s looking to make 2021 his third victory in the 50-54 division.
  • Brent Maier: While he took a 10th place finish in the AGOQ this year, Maier is not one to be overlooked. With five appearances and six qualifications (2020 Games did not feature a masters division due to Covid), Maier has never finished outside the top ten and has three podium finishes under his belt.

Wildcard:

  • Bob Ruano: After a first place finish in the AGOQ, Ruano is a strong contender to have his 5th CrossFit Games appearance end with him on the podium.

55-59: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • Ron Ortiz: Masters legend Ron Ortiz will be making his 9th CrossFit Games appearance this year. In his eight years competing as a master, he has made it onto the podium four times and won twice.
  • Rob Bernet: Though he only has one Games appearance under his belt, Bernet had a strong finish this year in the AGOQ. He also ended his 2019 season with an 8th place finish in the 55-59 division.
  • Stuart Swanson: This will be Swanson’s third appearance at the Games and with two finishes in the top ten in 2018 and 2019, he’s looking like he could potentially crack the podium this year.

Wildcard:

  • Patrick Sprague: Despite his 12th place finish in the AGOQ, Sprague has had a successful 2020 season, finishing third at the Masters Fitness Collective and tying for 4th at the Legends Masters Championship. With two near podium finishes and one Games appearance under his belt, Sprague could be the wildcard to upset the podium in this division.

60-64: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • Will Powell: Out of his seven appearances in the masters division at the CrossFit Games, Powell has won three and finished top ten in three others. This year, he took second in the AGOQ and is ready to step back on the podium again.
  • Christian Galy: The 60-year-old Frenchman already has one podium finish under his belt from 2016. As he steps foot into a new division this year, his standout performances in the Open and AGOQ put him as a solid contender for the podium once again.
  • Gus VanDerVoort: During the 2020 season, VanDerVoort tied in the 55-59 division for 4th place overall. This year, he finished 4th in the AGOQ and will be making his third appearance at the Games. While he has yet to crack the podium, his experience might just favor him and push him into a podium spot.

Wildcard:

  • Jeffrey Christy: The cardiothoracic surgeon from Springfield, Illinois took third in the AGOQ this year. With one Games appearance already under his belt, he might be a good candidate to upset the podium.

65+: Podium Contenders (in no particular order):

  • David Hippensteel: Masters superstar David Hippensteel will be making his 8th appearance at the Games and his first appearance in the 65+ division. He already has three gold medals under his belt and has only finished outside the top five once.
  • Thomas Ackerman: In 2014, Ackerman stood on the podium at the Crossfit Games in the 60+ division. This year, he’s looking to take that back after winning the AGOQ this year.
  • Clarke Holland: At 69-years-old, Holland will be making his seventh appearance this year. He already has four top ten finishes under his belt and is a strong contender to step on the podium this year.

Wildcard:

  • Walter Brown Russell: While Russell refers to himself as “the kid who was always last to be picked on a team” in school, he has certainly proved everyone wrong. This year will be his second appearance in the masters division and with a 6th place finish in the AGOQ, he is a strong candidate potentially upsetting the podium.
  • Ken Ogden: Despite only one Games appearance in 2018, Ogden has had a stand up 2021 season thus far. After finishing second at the masters fitness collective and second in the Open, Ogden stands to be a solid candidate for a potential podium position.

2021 not only brings the return of the masters, but also the return of live in person competition, complete with the addition of broadcast for the masters and age group divisions.

  • This year, the age group and adaptive divisions will be fully broadcast (with a few interruptions for scheduling conflicts between divisions) on the CrossFit Games livestream (YouTube, Games.crossfit.com, Twitch, and Facebook) with commentary provided by CrossFit’s studio team.

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