Four Individual Athletes Who Need to Make Some Moves Heading Into Friday
Several individual athletes impressed spectators on day one, including Jonne Koski, Brent Fikowski, Justin Medeiros, and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson. Others, however, struggled early and put themselves in a dangerous position, especially with cuts looming.
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Who we’re watching: Noah Ohlsen entered the season as one of the contenders for the title of Fittest Man on Earth. He took second during 2019, a career-best finish, and then finished 5th during the COVID-altered Games at The Ranch in Aromas. Ohlsen’s worst finish was 21st in Event 2, but he didn’t fight for event wins like he has in past seasons.
- Ohlsen started the day with a 17th place finish in Event 1. He finished his one-mile swim inside the top 10 but he moved back in the pack during the three-mile kayak paddle while Jonne Koski locked up the event win.
- Ohlsen improved over the final two events of the first day. He posted the 11th fastest time during the 550-yard sprint and then took 6th in Event 4. Ohlsen left the Coliseum in 11th place and needed to make some moves to get back into contention.
Kara Saunders entered the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games as a fan-favorite pick to win her first gold medal. She missed the cut during Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games but still finished 8th overall in her return to competition after giving birth to her first child. Saunders then dominated during the Torian Pro Semifinals event with three wins and six top five finishes overall.
- Saunders finished Event 1 in 20th place but did not create concern until Event 2. Once she encountered the combination of the Pig flip and the muscle-ups, she fell back in the pack. Saunders hit the time cap, ending the event in 29th.
- The runner-up from the 2017 CrossFit Games continued to surprise those in attendance. She finished the sprint event in 36th place with a time of 1:50.11. Saunders then hit the time cap for the second time during Event 4, dropping her to 34th on the leaderboard with three days of competition remaining.
A contender for the Granite Games win, Chandler Smith faced raised expectations in his return to the CrossFit Games. The 2021 season served as his opportunity to reach the podium for the first time in his career, but he started the competition with a 28th place finish in Event 1. He then continued to struggle as the men headed to the Coliseum.
- Smith turned in 24th and 25th place finishes during Events 2 and 3, respectively, further hurting his chances to contend for a podium finish. He also dropped to the first heat in the men’s division for the day’s final event.
- Smith did some damage control while completing a combination of wall-walks and heavy thrusters. He took 13th in the event and ended his day with some positivity. Smith sits in 28th place with three days remaining.
The fifth-place finisher in the 2020 CrossFit Games, Jeffrey Adler entered the competition with an opportunity to continue his rise to CrossFit elite. He finished second in the Atlas Games behind Patrick Vellner and then locked up a spot at Madison.
- Adler entered the weekend looking to make some noise, but he started the day with a 21st place finish in Event 1 before taking 25th in his battle with the Pig. Adler hung with the top five men of the second heat during the muscle-ups, but he fell back to the rear of the pack once it came time to flip the Pig and pull the sled to the finish line.
- The three-time Games competitor made some positive strides as the day progressed. He took 19th in the sprint with a time of 1:19.12 and then took 14th in Event 4 with the fifth-fastest time in the first heat.
Bottom line: Of the athletes needing to make some moves in the remaining days of competition, Ohlsen is in the best position. He can crack the top ten with some strong finishes on Friday or Saturday. The others, however, will have to make major strides to rise up the leaderboard, and they can not afford to have any mistakes.