CrossFit Games

Five American Women Who Could Get On The Podium

July 25, 2021 by
Photo Credit: South China Morning Post
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Last year, the United States saw a woman on the podium for the first time since Julie Foucher took third in 2014. As Kari Pearce crossed the finish line in the final event of the 2020 CrossFit Games, Atalanta, it was an epic win to lock in her third place finish. And the US women’s podium drought came to an end.

One big thing: Now the question is, which women from the United States can hold onto that sacred podium spot. Despite the chaos of 2020, the 2021 CrossFit Games season has brought forth several American women who could be podium contenders.

1.) Brooke Wells: Fan favorite Brooke Wells is long overdue for a podium position. A six time individual CrossFit Games athlete, Wells first qualified for the Games at just 19-years-old after taking first in the Central Regional in 2015.

  • Last year, Wells finished 5th overall at the Games at the Ranch.
  • Wells’ career has been full of ups and downs. In her second year at the Games in 2016, she would go on to improve her placing by ten points finishing in 6th overall, just three spots off the podium.
  • In the years that followed, she would struggle to get back to trying to crack that top five position, finishing 14th, 8th, and 15th in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.
  • However, during the unconventional season of 2020, Wells had an outstanding year, finishing 11th worldwide in the Open and going on to finish 5th overall at the Games, well within striking distance of a podium position.
  • If she can soak up the confidence that 2020 brought her with a top five finish, she has the potential to stand on the podium.

2.) Haley Adams: Last year, 19-year-old Haley Adams sat just 25 points out of a podium position at the 2020 CrossFit Games. The former teenage superstar now turned individual phenom, wowed fans in 2020 with her ability to compete against women five to ten years her senior. 

  • Despite not standing on the podium in 2020, Adams has returned to the 2021 season ready to fight for that position.
  • Back in May, she placed second in the Mid Atlantic CrossFit Challenge behind four-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey.
  • Beyond her in-person season, she also placed 10th worldwide in the Open this year.
  • This will be her third trip back to the Games. In 2019 she finished 6th overall and in 2020 she finished 4th overall. If she continues to improve by two spots every year, there is no doubt that we will see Adams on the podium holding the American flag this year.

3.) Kari Pearce: The first American woman to stand on the podium since 2014. This year, Pearce finished second at the West Coast Classic.

  • This will be Pearce’s 7th trip to the Games having qualified every year since 2015.
  • Pearce has spent the year with an unparalleled training crew that bodes well for her athletic improvement.
  • Training partners Bethany Shadburne and Danielle Brandon also qualified for the Games this year as the three ladies of Underdogs Athletics swept the podium at the 2021 West Coast Classic.

4.) Bethany Shadburne: This year will be Shadburne’s 5th Games, but her 4th Games in-person, as in 2020 she did not move on beyond the online phase of competition. Nevertheless, Shadburne has had an exceptional season thus far going into the 2021 CrossFit Games.

  • Shadburne spent the first two years of her career low on the radar, finishing 22nd and 16th respectively at the 2017 and 2018 CrossFit Games.
  • However, in 2019, she was finally able to crack the top ten with an 8th place finish.
  • While she didn’t make the final five for 2020’s unconventional Covid season finishing 20th on phase one, her 2021 season has proved that 2020 was truly just a fluke.
  • This year, Shadburne has placed 11th in North America during the Individual Quarterfinals and went on to win the 2021 West Coast Classic, beating training partner and 2020’s third fittest woman on earth, Kari Pearce.
  • If Shadburne can hold onto the steam that she’s gained this season going into the Games, she has a legitimate shot at standing on the podium at the end of the weekend.

5.) Amanda Barnhart: For the past two years, Barnhart has finished in 7th place at the Games. This season, she’s looking to change that.

  • After moving to Massachusetts to train at CrossFit New England with Coach Ben Bergeron and training partner Katrin Davidsdottir, Barnhart went on to win the Individual Quarterfinals. 
  • While she took 4th overall at the MidAtlantic CrossFit Challenge, she still remains a strong contender for a potential podium spot for the American women.
  • Similar to Pearce and Shadburne, Barnharts new training environment seems to have given her a push and confidence that might just propel her onto the podium.

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