CrossFit Games

2021 Snatch vs 2019 Clean Format Analysis

July 31, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Athlete’s Eye
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Similarly to 2019, this year’s CrossFit Games featured a heavy lift late in the weekend after the final round of cuts which gave the athletes who earned the right to be there, an opportunity to put their strength on display in front of the raucous Coliseum crowd on Saturday night. This year however, there were two major differences: 

  • First, it was a Snatch rather than a Clean.
  • Second, there were 20 athletes remaining this year as opposed to ten in 2019.

Women’s Results From Both Years: 

Noteworthy Data Points for the Women: 

  • In 2019 three women failed to lift the first bar, resulting in a three way tiebreaker.
  • In the remainder of the Clean event in 2019, there was only one other tiebreak on the women’s side and it ended up including an athlete who eventually failed a drug test.
  • In 2021 only one athlete of the 20 remaining failed to hit the first bar.
  • There ended up being a total of six tiebreaks in 2021.
    • Four of them were between at least three athletes.
  • 2019 had the epic back and forth battle between Barnhart and Toomey, but aside from that lacked drama.
  • In 2021, the drama was primarily centered around the tiebreaks after failed attempts.
  • The highlight of the 2021 lift was without a doubt Annie Thorisdottir who hit a 200 pound/90kg snatch and had an expression on her face indicative of a person who had absolutely no idea what she had just lifted; she later confirmed in a post-event interview that was exactly the case as she had not done the conversion to kilos.

Men’s Results From Both Years:

Noteworthy Data Points for the Men: 

  • In an opposite fashion to the women, three men missed the first bar on the Snatch this year, whereas only one man failed to lift the opening Clean bar in 2019.
  • In 2019 when there were only ten athletes we had a pair of two person tiebreakers, otherwise each man bowed out individually.
  • Similarly to the women in 2019 we saw a classic battle between two lifters in Mat Fraser and Scott Panchik.
  • In 2021 the men’s event featured a total of five tiebreak rounds, none of which was more critical than the four person tiebreaker for spots fourth through 7th in the event which will undoubtedly have massive points implications in the race between Medeiros, Vellner, and Fikowski for Fittest Man on Earth.

Big Picture: Both of these events resulted in CrossFit Games moments which will go down in history. It was nice that this year we got to see more athletes put their strength to the test in this type of environment. If you are a fan of the tiebreakers in addition to big lifts, you probably prefer the 2021 format. If you prefer the unforgettable one on one battles from 2019, perhaps you don’t mind. However, there’s always the potential that if 20 men and 20 women had still been around for the Clean in 2019, that the drama that year would have been even higher too. 

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