CrossFit Games

Top Ten Athlete Payouts for the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games Season

August 9, 2021 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC
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The conclusion of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games painted a full picture of what the new season format would look like — in particular, cash prizes for the athletes. While they may have lost out on money-making opportunities throughout the season, the Games yield the largest prize purse in history.

We have compiled, to the best of our knowledge, the 2021 season final payout list. This list factors in prize money awarded for the Games, the Open, Semifinals and event win bonuses from both the Games and the Open. 

One big thing: For the second-straight year, the total individual athlete payout for the Games season decreased. Last season, the total prize purse earned by individual athletes totalled $2,918,604 which was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic taking away money-making opportunities. 

  • This year the total individual prize purse for the Games season was $2,323,168, a decrease of 20% from the previous year.
  • $3,072,856: The total prize money earned by individual athletes during the 2018-2019 season. To date, that is the high-water mark for prize money earned during a Games season.
  • The list does not include athlete sponsorship deals that may include monetary compensation.
  • You can access the full payout breakdown on our payout tracker.

Men

  1. Justin Medeiros – $323,000
  2. Patrick Vellner – $138,000
  3. Brent Fikowski – $87,000
  4. Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson – $64,000
  5. Saxon Panchik – $54,000
  6. Jonne Koski – $46,021
  7. Guilherme Malheiros – $44,000
  8. Scott Panchik – $41,000
  9. Jeffrey Adler – $39,000
  10. Lazar Đukić – $38,000
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC

Inside the numbers of the men’s payouts:

  • Justin Medeiros tops the list with all but the $3,000 he received for finishing third at the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge earned at the Games. 
  • Medeiros saw a 312% increase made this season from last year when he finished 4th on the money list with $101,000 earned.
  • Medeiros made more this season than the second (Vellner) and third (Fikowski) biggest money earners combined.
  • Medeiros made $10,000 on event bonuses alone, second behind Vellner.
  • If Medeiros’ winnings are broken down based on the 30 workouts he participated in during the season, he made $10,766.67 each time he lined up for a workout in a Games competition.
  • Medeiros’ total earned this season ranks 6th on the all-time season money list.
  • For the 6th-straight year Vellner makes the top ten list, despite not finishing in the top five at the Games in both 2019 and 2020. 
  • Patrick Vellner earned the most event bonus money on the men’s side at the Games with $13,000. 
  • Brent Fikowski makes the list for the second-straight year, last year he was 5th on the list with $79,500 earned with none of those earnings coming from the Games.
  • BKG makes the list for the 7th straight year, cracking the top five for the 5th time.
  • Saxon Panchik and Jonne Koski joined Scott Panchik and Jeffrey Adler as the only men’s athletes to earn money through every stage of the 2021 Games season (Open, Semifinals and Games). All four also earned Games event bonuses.
  • At 21-years-old Guilherme Malheiros is the youngest man in the top ten.
  • Malheiros was third behind Medeiros and Vellner in Games event bonus money earned with $9,000.
  • Scott Panchik and Adler each cracked the top ten thanks to the money they earned through the Open. Adler won the Open and with it $15,000, Panchik placed second and earned $10,000.
  • Adler’s Open winnings matched how much he made for his 13th finish at the Games. He made an additional $9,000 this season from Games event bonuses ($5,000) and his runner-up finish at the Atlas Games Semifinal ($4,000).
  • Alex Vigneault and Noah Ohlsen were the only two athletes who finished in the top ten at the Games and did not make the list. Vigneault finished 11th with $35,000 and Ohlsen 12th at $29,000.
  • Noah Ohlsen, Mathew Fraser (retirement), Samuel Kwant (failed to qualify), Chandler Smith and Roman Khrennikov all fell out of the top ten from last year’s list.
  • Only three athletes outside the top 20 at the Games earned money, Smith (21st), Samuel Cournoyer (23rd) and Uldis Upenieks (25th) received Games event bonus money for top three finishes. 
  • Roman Khrennikov was 8th last year with $55,500 earned, this year he was tied for 33rd with $3,000 earned.
  • Smith was 9th last year with $46,500 earned, this year he earned $5,000 (tied for 23rd) with just $1,000 earned at the Games for his third place finish in Event 9.
  • Not factored in the final list is the $96,000 Reebok paid as a bonus for individual men’s athletes. The company offered $10,000 for event wins and $2,000 for second place finishers if the athletes wore the Company’s shoes in that particular event.
  • Vellner earned an additional $32,000 from Reebok for his three event wins and one runner-up finish at the Games.
  • Malheiros earned an additional $20,000 in Reebok bonus money for two of his event wins. He would have won more but wore Nikes for his win in event 3 before making the switch to Reeboks.
  • Fikowski, Adler and Lazar Đukić each made an additional $12,000 from the Reebok bonus.
  • Samuel Cournoyer was able to double what he made at the Games for his second place finish in Event 2 by wearing Reeboks earning a combined $4,000 for his performance.
  • Alexandre Caron, who finished 24th at the Games, is the only athlete in this year’s field who did not make any money from any Games competition. The Canadian actually lost money this season, in registration fees alone he paid CrossFit $670 to participate in the Open, Quarterfinal, Semifinals, Last Chance Qualifier and the Games.
  • Conversely Dakota Rager and Graciano Rubio each earned $2,021 for winning Open workouts 21.2 and 21.4 respectively. Rager finished 47,500 and Rubio 25,298 in the Open, Caron finished 67th.
  • Travis Mead finished 21st on the list, the only men’s athlete to crack the top 25 who did not qualify for the Games. He earned $7,500 from his third place finish in the Open.
  • Rich Froning finished tied for 23rd on the individual athlete money list with $5,000 earned for his 5th place finish in this year’s Open. His Mayhem Freedom team made $105,000 this season based on their wins at the Games and the MACC. Mayhem Freedom also earned an additional $74,000 from Reebok at the Games for their event finishes which included $70,000 alone in event wins.
  • Only five athletes from last year’s list repeated this year; Medeiros (1st), Vellner (2nd), Fikowski (3rd), Guðmundsson (4th) and Adler (9th).
  • Only two men’s athletes broke six figures in money earned from the Games season, the lowest number since the 2018 season.
  • In total, 47 men received a monetary payout from a CrossFit Games event this season.
  • Last year the top ten combined to earn $1,082,662, this year that number dropped to $874,021 a decrease of 19.3%.
  • The top ten made up 75% of the total money earned from the Games season.

Women

  1. Tia-Clair Toomey – $362,021
  2. Laura Horvath – $135,000
  3. Annie Thorisdottir – $91,000
  4. Kristin Holte – $63,000
  5. Haley Adams – $49,000
  6. Mallory O’Brien – $43,000
  7. Gabriela Migała – $42,000
  8. Kristi Eramo O’Connell – $41,000
  9. Amanda Barnhart – $32,000
  10. Emma Cary – $28,021

Inside the numbers of the women’s payouts:

  • For the second-straight year Toomey tops all athletes, male or female, this year in total earnings during the Games season.
  • Last year, Toomey made $415,080, the second highest earnings total in the history of CrossFit. This year her total earnings of $362,021 ranks 4th on the all-time season payouts list.
  • Toomey has five of the top ten seasons on the money list including the second, third and 4th spots.
  • Toomey’s earnings this season saw a drop of 12.8% from what she earned last year.
  • Breaking down Toomey’s winnings based on the 30 workouts she participated in during the 2021 season, she made $12,067.37 per workout.
  • Toomey made $30,000 in Games event bonuses, $27,000 of which came from her nine event wins.
  • Toomey’s $30,000 in Games event bonuses alone would have placed her 10th on the list.
  • Toomey makes the top ten list for the 7th consecutive year and 5th at the top of the list.
  • Toomey’s total payout includes the $15,000 she earned for winning the Open and the $2,021 she received for winning 21.3. Her Open winnings alone put her ahead of 31 other women on the final payout list.
  • Laura Horvath makes the money list for the second time in her career, each time after her second place finish at the Games.
  • For the second time in her career Horvath placed second on the money list.
  • In 2018 Horvath made $116,000 through her winnings from Regionals and the Games which ranked second behind Toomey.
  • Toomey and teenagers Mal O’Brien and Emma Cary are the only women to win money in each stage of the Games this season.
  • Annie Thorisdottir makes her 8th appearance in the top ten. She was the top-earner during the 2011 and 2012 seasons after winning the Games titles.
  • Kristi Eramo O’Connell reappears in the top ten. She last appeared in 2018 where she finished 8th, the same spot she finished this season.
  • Eramo O’Connell is the only athlete in the top ten who did receive a payout from a Semifinal. She earned her ticket to Madison via the Last Chance Qualifier which did not offer a payout.
  • Only four athletes from last year’s list repeated this year; Toomey (1st), Kristin Holte (4th), Haley Adams (5th), and Amanda Barnhart (9th).
  • Three athletes, all alumni of the teen division, made their debut in the top-10 with O’Brien (6th) leading the way followed closely by Gabriela Migała at 7th and Cary at 10th.
  • According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income of an American 16-19 year old female is $24,048 annually. O’Brien ($43,000) and Cary ($28,021) are both 17-years-old.
  • Cary finished 10th ahead of Katrin Davidsdottir and Danielle Brandon by $21.00 thanks to her Open win in 21.2.
  • Reebok paid out $38,000 in bonus money to the women’s division.
  • Thorisdottir cracks the six figure amount ($105,000) if you factor in her Reebok bonus of $14,000 for her event win and two runner-up finishes.
  • Only five women athletes capitalized on the Reebok bonus with Thorisdottir earning the most followed by Barnhart and Emily Rolfe each earning $10,000.
  • Kara Saunders finished 20th on the list despite not earning any money at the Games. She earned $12,500 this season due to her third place finish in the Open and winning the Torian Pro Semifinal.
  • Kara Saunders was the only athlete in the Top 20 who did not make the final cut to 20 athletes at the Games. She edged out Emma Tall who earned $10,000 this season, all from the Games.
  • Brooke Wells tied Baylee Rayl for 18th on the money list with $14,000 earned. Wells did this despite injuring herself during Event 12 and withdrawing from the competition. That caused her to drop to 20th place. She was in 8th place prior to the injury.
  • Kari Pearce was 4th on the money list last year, earning $110,020. This year she earned $4,000, ranking 30th on this year’s list.
  • Samantha Briggs earned $44,520 last year to rank 9th after earning $107,083 in 2019. This year she earned just $1,000 from the Games season.
  • Johanna Julia Juliusdottir and Christine Middleton each earned a total of $2,021 this season from winning an Open event, out-earning Games veterans Samantha Briggs, Dani Speegle, Alessandra Pichelli, Jessica Griffith and Regan Huckaby.
  • Five of the women in the top ten are from outside the United States.
  • Two women broke six figures in money earned from the Games season, down from four women in both 2020 and 2019.
  • 25 women who received a payout totaled $5,000 or less earned this season.
  • In total, 46 women received a monetary payout from a CrossFit Games event this season.
  • Last year the top ten combined to earn $1,090,162, this year that number dropped to $886,042 a decrease of 18.7%.
  • The top ten made up 76% of the total money earned from the Games season.
  • The top ten women out-earned the top-ten men by $12,021, the third year in a row that the women made more money than their male counterparts.

The bottom line: Athlete payouts have been a huge topic of discussion in the sport this season as they were all faced with the fact that only a few could actually make a living in this sport with the current payout structure. The decline of earning potential from the CrossFit Games season is alarming but with “off-season” competitions like the Rogue Invitational, which has a prize purse that is currently over $1,250,000, Wodapalooza and many more to come, athletes might be looking elsewhere to earn a living. Simply put, the current Games season cannot sustain athletes outside the top ten who wish to become full-time, true professional athletes which is necessary for the sport to grow.

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