CrossFit Games

Susan Clarke’s Historic Victory Headlines Final Day of the Age Divisions

July 29, 2021 by
Photo Credit: John Newby
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Several age group athletes gave impressive shows as they fought for points on the field and in the Coliseum on their final day of competition. But none came close to Susan Clarke. The 62-year-old perennial contender dominated the field and remained perfect in her CrossFit Games career. 

Remind me: Clarke has been possibly the most dominant force in the Masters division during her career. She has finished first in every Games appearance walking away with the gold in 2014 (55-59), 2015 (55-59), 2017 (55-59), and 2019 (60-plus).

  • Clarke continued her run in Madison, making history in the process. She won her 5th gold medal in five appearances and locked up the $10,000 prize purse. No other athlete in the history of the CrossFit Games has managed to never finish below first place. 
  • The 62-year-old showcased her skills as a well-rounded athlete, starting with the very first event. She won Events 1 and 2 and took second in Event 3 to lock up the top spot on the leaderboard after one day. Clarke continued her weekend with three more wins in Events 4, 7, and 9. Her only finish outside the top two was 6th in Event 5.

For comparison, the most dominant individual athletes in Games history had their own stumbling points. Tia-Clair Toomey and Mat Fraser both finished second two consecutive times before starting their respective reigns. The same goes for Rich Froning, who finished second in 2010 before winning four straight titles. These three athletes stand as the greatest athletes in the sport, but Clarke deserves a spot next to them in the spotlight. 

One for the fans: The Masters respective divisions had no shortage of big names on the competition floor, providing fans with ample opportunities to cheer for their favorite athletes. Two, in particular, finished on the podium yet again in front of the roaring crowd. 

  • Annie Sakamoto, one of the CrossFit OGs, entered the weekend with the opportunity to lock up her third podium finish as a Masters athlete. She secured the silver in 2016 and the bronze in 2017 (40-44) but had yet to win the gold. Sakamoto changed this with another strong performance in a stellar career. She won two events and posted five total top-five finishes en route to 550 points, securing the first title of her career (45-49).
  • The most consistent athlete in CrossFit Games history, Rebecca Voigt Miller made her 13th appearance at the Games and put on a show. The perennial competitor did not win an event in Madison, but she finished top ten in every single one, adding five top fives. 
  • Voigt Miller capped off her competition by taking second in the brutal wall walk/heavy thrusters event. This performance was enough to lock up second place in the 40-44 division, the third podium finish of her career.

The female Masters athletes dominated the conversation, but there were a multitude of big names on the men’s side including Ron Ortiz (55-59) and Jason Grubb (45-49). One of the biggest names is possibly the most dominant athlete next to Clarke — Will Powell. 

  • The 61-year-old is a three-time champion after winning the 55-59 division in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He also took third place in 2018 (55-59) to build on his legacy. 
  • Powell started the competition slowly — relatively speaking — with a 7th place finish in Event 1. However, he hit the gas and racked up three straight wins to get himself back into contention.
  • Powell stumbled slightly with a 17th place finish in Event 5, but he capped off the competition with third and second place finishes on the final day. Powell ended the competition 80 points ahead of runner-up Christian Galy and cemented his status as one of the greatest Masters athletes. 

Bottom line: The Masters did not compete in the 2020 CrossFit Games due to COVID-19, but the athletes made a glorious return to Madison, WI. They took on the most difficult tests that Director of Sport Dave Castro threw in their direction and came out victorious while some legends of the sport only added to their jaw-dropping resumes. 

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