CrossFit Games

CrossFit Open Announcement 24.1 Head-to-Head Matchups: First Look and Predictions

February 11, 2024 by
Credit: instagram.com/crossfitgames/
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The first live 2024 Open announcement and matchups were announced last week and we are getting spoiled with four athletes who finished inside the top six at the 2023 CrossFit Games, including champion Jeffrey Adler.

The four athletes competing will be:

  • Jeffrey Adler – 2023 CrossFit Games champion 
  • Brent Fikowski – 4th place 2023 CrossFit Games
  • Alex Gazan – 5th place 2023 CrossFit Games
  • Alexis Raptis – 6th place 2023 CrossFit Games

Although we don’t yet know what workout they will be doing, below we have given some insights on each of their strengths and weaknesses, based on historical performances.

By looking to the past we may be able to predict the winners of 24.1.

All four athletes may be competing against each other or they may separate them into men’s and women’s heats, but for the sake of this article, we will be comparing the men against each other and the women against each other separately.

We will be focusing our attention primarily on what they have done in the past three years.

Jeffrey Adler vs. Brent Fikowski

Jeffrey Adler is not only coming off of his best year ever at the CrossFit Games, but in 2023 he also won the worldwide Open for the second time in the past three years.

Brent Fikowski is coming off of his fifth-ever top-five finish at the Games, but as with all tall CrossFit athletes, Fikowski is notoriously bad in the Open, where range of motion and specific programming tends to favor shorter athletes.

Of the past 11 Open workouts from 2021-2023, Adler has beaten Fikowski in all but one workout (21.1), which included wall walks and double unders.

To see just how differently these two typically perform during the Open, here are their worldwide placings over the past three years:

2023 Open

  • Jeffrey Adler: 1st Overall
  • Brent Fikowski: 389th Overall (Fikowski had an arm injury that affected performance.)

2022 Open

  • Jeffrey Adler: 12th Overall
  • Brent Fikowski: 992nd Overall

2021 Open

  • Jeffrey Adler: 1st Overall
  • Brent Fikowski: 22nd Overall

If we look at their average workout finish from the past three years, we get Adler with an average of 29th and Fikowski with an average of 1,008th.

This will be Adler’s first-ever live Open announcement workout and Brent Fikowski’s second. In his first appearance, Fikowski took on Patrick Vellner in 17.1. Vellner won that face-off.

Having already won the Open multiple times and coming off a Games championship, Adler will be the heavy favorite to win the battle between these two, and with no surprise.

Fikowski is still one of the top four Fittest Men on Earth and has a chance to win any workout, but he will likely need one or multiple of the following:

  • Longer duration, chipper-style workout
  • Rowing
  • Wall Balls
  • A brand new movement, which requires quick adaptability
  • Limited or no burpees, or high-rep gymnastics

It is unlikely that Boz and Dave will include a heavy lift in the first workout of the year, especially considering that they have never done it in the history of the sport, but if they do and they choose a heavy snatch, Fikowski may also have a chance there.

Barring any of those movements, Jeffrey Adler should be your 24.1 winner.

Alex Gazan vs. Alexis Raptis

Both Gazan and Raptis are coming off their best CrossFit Games finishes ever and they finished only 15 points apart from each other.

They also have similar strengths and weaknesses, meaning either of them has a 50/50 chance to take this workout.

Gazan placed in the top five in the worldwide Open last year, but the year before that it was Raptis who placed in the top 10, while Gazan (Willis at the time) was 193rd. 

Of the past 11 Open workouts, Raptis has beaten Gazan in seven of them.

Before we go on, let’s take a look at these two from 2021-2023.

2023 Open

  • Alex Gazan: 5th Overall
  • Alexis Raptis: 75th Overall

2022 Open

  • Alex Gazan: 193rd Overall
  • Alexis Raptis: 7th Overall

2021 Open

  • Alex Gazan: 317th Overall
  • Alexis Raptis: 95th Overall

If we look at their average workout finish from the past three years we get Gazan with an average of 407th and Raptis with an average of 223rd.

But, when we say they have similar skill sets, we really mean it. Take this fun fact for example: of the 12 total events at the 2023 CrossFit Games, Gazan and Raptis finished within five places of each other in seven of them.

The biggest separator for Gazan was in “Ski Bag,” which had a ski-erg and sandbag squats, neither of which will likely be in the Open.

The biggest separator for Raptis was in “Cross Country 5K,” which may mean Raptis could have a slight advantage in a longer steady-pace workout, especially if it has shuttle sprints to incorporate running. Raptis also did very well in “Inverted Medley” where Gazan did not, but a handstand walking event is very unlikely here for the year’s first workout.

This workout will most likely come down to a handful of reps or seconds, but if I had to pick a winner I would give the slight edge to Raptis.

Some Final Thoughts

If we do see a battle between all four athletes I have the following ranking:

  1. Jeffrey Adler
  2. Alexis Raptis
  3. Alex Gazan
  4. Brent Fikowski

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