CrossFit Games

Jeffrey Adler, Mal O’Brien “Nowhere near their peak” as Quarterfinals Kick Off

March 8, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @samberiault_visuals
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“I’m absolutely not ready for CrossFit at this moment. I’m not at any peak.”

Those were the words of 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open winner Jeff Adler, who is coming off his second career Open win, at a virtual press conference hosted by CrossFit LLC on Thursday.

Also at the press conference, female winner Mal O’Brien had a similar take about her win.

“It’s been really exciting to be able to win the Open and not be in shape for it or preparing for it, (but) just kind of using it as training…It’s really exciting for what we can accomplish in the next couple months,” O’Brien said. 

And despite being happy about their wins, neither one spent a whole lot of time celebrating. 

“Yeah, it happened and I’m super happy it happened, but it’s also important to stay on track with training and just use it as a little test,” O’Brien said. 

Adler added: “I don’t focus on the competitions when they’re done. When they’re done, we’re going to the next one and the scoreboard is at zero…It makes me feel good, for sure, but it doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to win Quarterfinals or any other stage. I have to work hard to get my name at the top of the leaderboard.”

Three Other Press Conference Takeaways

O’Brien on the Pressure to Win this Season

With six-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey sitting out the season because she’s pregnant, O’Brien has been widely touted as the heir apparent to the crown. The 19-year-old admitted she does feel pressure, but that this feeling is nothing new to her.

“I kind of always feel that (pressure). It’s just part of our daily routine to feel some sort of pressure around training,” O’Brien said.

As for how she handles it, O’Brien said she just does her best to make sure she’s “staying in my own lane,” focusing on what she knows, keeping open communication with her team and “getting the help when I need it.”

Bozman Explains Starting the Open with a Repeat Workout

Although CrossFit’s Competition Director Adrian Bozman has been involved in Open programming for years, this was his first time leading the charge, and he chose to begin the whole competition with a legacy workout, one that Dave Castro first programmed in 2014. 

Bozman explained at the press conference that the 23.1 workout was originally going to come later in the Open, but that CrossFit’s competition team recommended kickstarting the Open with the repeat, and Bozman took their advice. 

That being said, Bozman also said he loves “the repeat element,” so it was important to him to ensure the Open featured a repeat workout as it has long been a tradition. Further, he particularly loves 23.1 because “it’s such a great classic test” that’s “got something for everybody.” 

And finally, Bozman thought it was important to honor the Castro legacy.

“It represents one of the awesome, old school tests from the Dave Castro era, and that’s a bit part of our history,” he added.

Bozman Explains why CrossFit Dropped the Occupational Games

After running an online Occupational Games for the last two seasons, CrossFit decided to drop it from its roster this season.

Remind me: The Occupational Games crowned the fittest athletes in various occupations, including active-duty military, military veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, first responders, medical professionals, educators and college students.

Bozman explained: “There wasn’t as much interest (in the Occupational Games) as maybe we had hoped for, and ultimately there were so many things on the calendar that we already had committed with the Quarterfinals and taking over the Semis again that we felt that we wouldn’t be able to give it the attention that (it needed) to do it right, and sometimes you have to make those hard decisions,” Bozman said. 

“There are only so many things we can support, and we want to be able to support the things that we can do correctly,” he continued.

CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport Justin Bergh mimicked this sentiment saying they’re hyper focused on delivery a great experience for the individuals, teams, masters and adaptive athletes this season, “as well as really delivering a top shelf experience for the Semifinals stage, which has gone through a lot of changes this season. It has been front and center for us.”

Bozman added: “That doesn’t mean that the door is closed (on the Occupational Games) forever.”

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