CrossFit Games

Mal O’Brien and Jeffrey Adler Officially Win The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open

March 9, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Enrique V. Media
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It’s official: Mal O’Brien and Jeffrey Adler have won the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open, as confirmed by CrossFit LLC on Saturday via Instagram.

This is both O’Brien’s and Adler’s second Open win. O’Brien also won the Open last year as an 18-year-old, while Adler, 12th last season, was the 2021 Open winner.

What they’re saying: With six-time champion Tia-Clair Toomey sitting out the season due to pregnancy, O’Brien has widely been considered the heir apparent to win the title this summer, and said that winning the Open is “a great sign that my training is working.”

  • “We trained through the Open this year because the focus is on the Games and I’m excited for the rest of the season,” she added. 

Meanwhile, Adler has been knocking on the door to finish on the podium in recent years, and his coach and romantic partner Caroline Lambray said he finally believes he can.

  • In the past, Adler—fifth in the world in both 2020 and 2022—struggled to believe he could reach the podium at the Games, and it has “taken him longer” to build that belief, as he needed “the factual data” in order to believe, Lambray explained. But heading into this season, he’s finally there. 
  • “He’s coming into the 2023 season with the confidence that he can perform at the level that he wants to be able to perform,” Lambray said. And the Open win “plays a big role in setting him up for success.”

Lambray also said winning the Open wasn’t necessarily their goal, but that “it’s a nice narrative” to start the season. That being said, they’re not getting ahead of themselves, as most athletes aren’t peaking right now and “everyone approaches the Open differently,” she said.

  • “But it does show things are moving in the right direction for him, and it’s a good start to the season…and a confidence booster…and it’s nice to start off the year with a little bit of cash going into the season,” she added. 

The big picture: We often hear people say “the Open doesn’t mean much,” or “it’s just the Open.”

They’re right. It is just the Open. It doesn’t have to mean much. But then again, it kind of can and does mean something. It’s the first step in the season, it sets the tone for what’s to come, and it can go a long way in letting athletes know if they’re on the right track.

And in the case of O’Brien and Adler, it has to let them know the CrossFit Games podium, and maybe even the top spot, is within their grasp this year.

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