CrossFit Games

“Girls” at the Games: A Short History

July 18, 2023 by and
Photo Credit: Crispy Dudes
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In an Instagram post this week, the CrossFit Games team announced that “all Individual, Age Group and Adaptive athletes will do a version of the benchmark workout Helen at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.” 

So, we decided to review all of the “Girl” workouts that have been featured at the Games in the past.

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First let’s take a quick look at “Helen,” as written:

3 Rounds:
400m Run
21 KB Swings (50/35 pounds)
12 Pull-Ups

Remind me: If you’re unfamiliar with “Girl WODs” they are measurable benchmark CrossFit workouts that are performed every so often in order to evaluate the progress of an athlete’s fitness. Each “Girl WOD” is associated with the name of a woman.

  • The original “Girls” were released in 2003 and included “Angie,” “Barbara,” “Chelsea,” “Diane,” “Elizabeth” and “Fran.” Since then, more “Girl WODs” have been created, most recently in 2021, when CrossFit introduced seven new “Girls.”
  • “Helen” was first programmed on on August 9, 2003, but was called “The CrossFit Challenge.” In November of that year, it was renamed “Helen” and retested on the mainsite.
  • This August is the 20th anniversary of the creation of “Helen.”
  • One of the best ever times on the standard version of “Helen” is held by CrossFit OG, James Fitzgerald (“OPT”), the winner of the first ever CrossFit Games in 2007. Check out the video of OPT breaking seven minutes, with a finishing time of 6:59.41 in 2007.

As we know, these benchmarks have been a staple of CrossFit and have thus been an integral part of every affiliate’s monthly training. These workouts however, aren’t just for the average Crossfitter as at least one or two “Girl” workouts have also been featured at the CrossFit Games almost every year as a part of a balanced test to determine the Fittest on Earth.

A history lesson: Below we have compiled a list of all “Girl WODs” that have been tested at the Games, along with their winners. Keep in mind that the workouts were modified at the Games in order to make the test adequate for the elite level athletes. Also, note that there have been “Girl WODs” programming at half of the CrossFit Games–2023 will tip the scale. The years where there were no “Girl WODs” were 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021.

2022 – 2 Girl WODs

Elizabeth Elevated

21-15-9-9-9 reps for time of:
Squat cleans
Dips with parallel bar traverses

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Patrick Vellner: 8:42
  • Arielle Loewen: 10:17

Jackie Pro

For time:

1,000-m row
50 thrusters
30 bar muscle-ups

Women: 65 pounds
Men: 95 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Lazar Dukic: 7:59
  • Lucy Campell: 8:29

2020 – 4 Girl WODs

Friendly Fran

3 rounds:
21 thrusters
21 chest-to-bar pull-ups

Women: 85 pounds
Men: 115 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Mat Fraser: 3:08
  • Tia-Clair Toomey: 3:40

Damn Diane

3 rounds:
15 deadlifts
15 strict deficit handstand push-ups

Women: 205 pounds, 2-inch deficit
Men: 315 pounds, 3.5-inch deficit

Event Winners:

  • Mat Fraser: 2:44
  • Tia-Clair Toomey: 2:28

Nasty Nancy

5 rounds:
500-m run
15 overhead squats
15 bar-facing burpees

Women: 125 pounds
Men: 185 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Mat Fraser: 17:50
  • Katrin Davidsdottir: 18:16

Awful Annie

For time:
GHD sit-up

Women: 185 pounds
Men: 275 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Mat Fraser: 8:46
  • Tia-Clair Toomey: 8:01

2019 – 3 Girl WODs

The Standard

30 Clean and Jerks (Grace)
30 Muscle ups
30 Snatches (Isabel) 

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Mat Fraser: 8:05
  • Tia-Clair Toomey: 8:25


20-minute AMRAP:
10 pistols
15 pull-ups

Event Winners:

  • Noah Ohlsen: 677 reps
  • Kari Pearce: 695 reps

2017 – 1 Girl Wod

Amanda .45

13-11-9-7-5 reps for time of:
Squat Snatches

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Dakota Rager: 8:01
  • Jamie Greene: 8:51

2014 – 1 Girl Wod

Double Grace

For time:
60 clean and jerks 

Time Cap: 7 minutes

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Rich Froning: 5:05
  • Annie Thorisdottir: 5:17

2013 – 1 Girl Wod

Naughty Nancy

Four rounds for time of:

Run 600 meters up and over berm

25 Overhead squats 

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 140 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Josh Bridges: 16:31
  • Kaleena Ladeairous: 16:46

2012 – 3 Girl WODs


21-15-9 reps for time of:
Ring dips

Time Cap: 6 minutes

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Rich Froning: 2:33
  • Deborah Carson: 3:35


21-15-9 reps for time of:
Thruster (95 / 65 lbs)

Time Cap: 6 minutes

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Scott Panchik: 2:41
  • Camille Leblanc-Bazinet: 2:35


For time:
30 Snatch

Time Cap: 6 minutes

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Rich Froning: 1:20
  • Annie Thorisdottir: 1:29

2010 – 2 Girl WODs


For time:



Squat Snatches

Women: 95 pounds
Men: 135 pounds

Event Winners:

  • Chris Spealler: 3:29
  • Kristan Clever: 5:04

Pyramid Double Helen

For time (22-min. cap):
Run 1,200 meters
63 kettlebell swings (1.5 pood) 
36 pull-ups
Run 800 meters
42 kettlebell swings
24 pull-ups
Run 400 meters
21 kettlebell swings
12 pull-ups

Event Winners:

  • Austin Malleolo and Rich Froning: 242 reps
  • Annie Thorisdottir: 234 reps

The big picture: In total there have been 17 “Girl WODs” at the CrossFit Games with 2020 having the most, likely because the first stage of the competition was done entirely online due to COVID and these workouts were easier to program in a typical CrossFit box.

Most frequently programmed “Girls” at the Games:

  • Amanda: 2
  • Nancy: 2
  • Fran: 2
  • Diane: 2
  • Elizabeth: 2
  • Grace: 2
  • Isabel: 2
  • Jackie: 1
  • Helen: 1 (2023 will be the 2nd)
  • Mat Fraser has won the most “Girl WODs” out of any athlete with 5 total wins, while Tia-Clair Toomey has 4 wins.

What to expect: We are very unlikely to see “Helen” performed at the Games this year as it was originally written and we are almost guaranteed to see a much more difficult version of it with some possible variations below.

Instead of a 400-meter run we may see:

  • Longer run
  • Run with sandbag or weight vest
  • Run on an Assault Runner

Instead of 21 KB Swings at 53/35 pounds we may see:

  • 100l/70 pound KB swings
  • KB Snatches
  • Unbroken requirement 

Instead of 12 pull-ups we may see:

  • Muscle ups
  • Strict pull-ups
  • Unbroken requirement
  • Burpee pull-ups

With so many possible combinations we’ll just have to wait to find out. The 2023 CrossFit Games begin in less than two weeks.

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