CrossFit Games

2023 CrossFit Games Women’s Podium and Dark Horse Picks

July 30, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Enrique V.
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The women’s side of competition this year is probably the most exciting and unpredictable that it has been in many years, if not ever.

With an absolutely wild series of events for the top women so far this season, the 2023 CrossFit Games podium positions are completely up for grabs. A few things that happened so far this year on the women’s side:

  • 6x champ Tia-Clair Toomey withdraws due to pregnancy
  • 2022 7th place finisher Kara Saunders withdraws due to pregnancy
  • 2022 9th place finisher Haley Adams withdraws due to mental health
  • 2022 13th place finisher Kristi Eramo O’Connell retires from competition
  • 2022 2nd place finisher Mal O’Brien withdraws due to mental health
  • 2022 5th place finisher Brooke Wells fails to qualify for the 2023 Games

This has left the door wide open for many athletes to get their best placing ever at the CrossFit Games as well as for a new female champion to be crowned for the first time in 7 years.

Who is most likely to take advantage?

2023 Podium Picks

1st Place: Laura Horvath

The 2023 CrossFit Games are Laura Horvath’s to lose. No athlete is in a better position to win this year’s Games than her and after 3 years on the podium without a championship, now is her time to take over.

With her biggest competition (Toomey & O’Brien) out of the way it would be a rather big surprise if Horvath didn’t win this year. Technically all she has to do is repeat what she did last year and she would automatically become champion.

At the recent European Semifinal Horvath put on a show on the final day, winning back to back events, missing the world record for both events by less than 5 seconds. Although she finished 3rd overall I don’t think anyone doubts her abilities to win the Games this year.

Horvath has 6 total event wins at the CrossFit Games and now that Toomey is out of the way, she will likely add a handful more event wins this year alone.

Laura Horvath also happens to be the #1 strongest overall woman in the field based on max strength events tested this year (23.2B Thruster, Semifinals Max Snatch).

Barring any serious mistakes at the Games, Horvath should be our 2023 champion.

2nd Place: Gabriela Migala

Next on the podium is likely to be Laura Horvath’s best friend and training partner Gabi Migala from Poland.

At the recent European Semifinal Migala went head-to-head against 2 of her toughest competitors (Annie Thorisdottir, Laura Horvath) and ended up winning the whole thing outright, making a statement to the CrossFit world that she is coming for the podium.

She has finished inside the top 10 at the Games for the past 2 years (2022: 8th, 2021: 6th) and now she has the perfect opportunity to take 2nd overall.

Migala also has the unique competitive advantage of training with Laura Horvath everyday, which allows her to directly compare her performance against the potential future champion each and every workout. 

Migala will however, have to fight off a handful of other hungry athletes that smell blood in the water, including: 

  • Danielle Brandon
  • Annie Thorisdottir
  • Emma Lawson
  • Emma Cary
  • Katrin Davidsdottir

Coming out of Semifinals Gabi Migala looked to be in the best shape out of any of these athletes, which is why we have her predicted to take 2nd at the 2023 Games.

3rd Place: Danielle Brandon

Danielle Brandon is probably the best chance that American women have to land on the podium this year, and based on her recent performances we think she’s going to succeed.

Brandon has consistently gotten better over the past 3 years going 15th in 2020, 11th in 2021, and 4th in 2022, just 44 points behind Laura Horvath. 

She is in the same position as Horvath in the sense that she simply has to repeat what she did last year in order to stand on the podium thanks to the absence of Toomey and O’Brien.

Brandon not only has the strength and aerobic capacity needed to place in the top 3, but she is also perhaps the best in the entire field when it comes to handstand movements, especially handstand walks.

Brandon handstand/handstand walk events:

  • 2022 Skill Speed Medley: 1st
  • 2021 Event 8: 1st
  • 2021 Event 14: 4th
  • 2020 Handstand Hold: 3rd

If Brandon can steal a few events away from Gabi Migala, she may even be able to propel herself into 2nd rather than settle for 3rd overall.

Dark Horses

This year the women’s field is so stacked with potential podium athletes that it may not even be right to call the following athletes Dark Horses. These 2 women below have a chance at breaking into the top 3, but are just slightly less likely to do so than the women already listed above.

Annie Thorisdottir

Honestly it was difficult putting Annie here rather than in 3rd, but we just think Danielle Brandon has the slightest edge over her this year, however we would not be surprised if Annie did what she did in 2021.

In case anyone forgot, after taking the year off in 2020 due to pregnancy she came back with a vengeance and took 3rd place overall at the Games in 2021. After foregoing individual and going team last year will she have the same type of comeback to individual competition this year?

So far she has looked phenomenal in 2023, especially at the recent European Semifinal where she battled Gabi Migala all weekend for 1st place. Throughout all 7 events she had no finishes worse than 8th and she even beat Laura Horvath in 3/7 events.

She may be 33, but she says she feels as fit as ever and has her eyes on another championship.

Katrin Davidsdottir

Although Davidsdottir missed out on qualifying for the 2022 Games by just 6 points, it would be a mistake to think that she has lost her edge.

Let’s not forget that from 2015-2021 she had 7 straight finishes at the Games in 10th or better, including 6 inside the top 5 as well as two championships. And just like Annie Thorisdottir, Katrin is also known for her remarkable comeback in 2015 when she first became champion right after missing out on qualifying in 2014.

Throughout the season this year she has looked like the usual Katrin we expect to see, especially at the recent North America West Semifinal where she just narrowly fell short of winning the whole thing.

Past champions like Davidsdottir know what it takes to win at the highest level and now that Toomey has given everyone a chance this year, athletes like Katrin have even more motivation than ever.

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