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Our 2023 CrossFit Games Men’s Podium and Dark Horse Picks

Morning Chalk Up

July 28   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Austin Heaton lays out our men’s podium picks and dark horses
  • How do the top-40 women stack up across the entire 2023 Games season?
  • What can we learn from the CrossFit Games competition schedule?
  • The next installment of our series of onsite guides for spectators at the CrossFit Games is below; best places to get caffeinated in Madison
  • Picsil: The history behind the brand that dominated Europe and is setting their sights on the US
  • LSKD’s men’s mental health awareness documentary, “Don’t Wait,” features Khan Porter and Matt Dlugos
  • And, Kalyan Souza’s Workout of the Week

The countdown is on: There are only 5 days until the 2023 CrossFit Games begin in Madison, WI.

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“The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special.” - Eddie Reese

  2023 CrossFit Games Men’s Podium and Dark Horse Picks  

2023 CrossFit Games Men’s Podium and Dark Horse Picks

It’s finally time to make some of our most anticipated predictions of the year as the 2023 CrossFit Games are now officially just a few days away.

Below we have outlined 3 men we believe have the best chance to finish on the podium as well as 2 men who could possibly surprise us and steal one of those 3 coveted spots at the top.

Before we highlight these specific athletes, let’s take a look at how the men’s podium has looked since 2014.

Podium Appearances Since 2014

  • Mat Fraser: 6
  • Patrick Vellner: 4
  • Justin Medeiros: 3
  • Ben Smith: 2
  • Brent Fikowski: 2
  • Bjorgvin Gudmundsson: 2
  • Noah Ohlsen: 1
  • Roman Khrennikov: 1
  • Lukas Hogberg: 1
  • Ricky Garard: 1
  • Samuel Kwant: 1

Fun Fact: Since 2019 there have been 2 new athletes on the podium each year that weren’t on the podium the year before.

Now let’s dive into our podium picks for this year, making our decisions based on past performances at the Games as well as events from this year’s Quarterfinals and Semifinals.

Podium Picks

1st Place: Justin Medeiros

It’s never wise to bet against the reigning champ in any sport, and CrossFit is no different. From his first year at the CrossFit Games just 3 years ago Justin Medeiros showed that he was not there to merely compete, but to win.

After going head-to-head against Mat Fraser in his final year of competition, Medeiros immediately took over as the new man to beat, while many of us were expecting a veteran like Patrick Vellner or Brent Fikowski to move into that top spot.

Medeiros and his coach, Adam Neiffer have obviously figured out the key to winning and the rest of the field is still desperately trying to catch up. There’s no reason to suspect that will change this year.

There are however 2 recent observations we would like to mention that could possibly mean Medeiros doesn’t win his third straight championship.

  1. He didn’t have the best Semifinal performance, finishing 5th at the North America West Semifinal. Of course, he likely was not peaking for Semifinals, but he did have four event finishes in 10th or worse, including a 24th place finish.
  2. One of his main rivals for the throne, Patrick Vellner looked dominant at Semifinals, beating Medeiros by 93 total points.

Regardless of his Semifinals scores Justin Medeiros is still our overall favorite to win this year’s Games and it would likely require any other athlete to have an average event finish of 3rd or better in order to beat him.

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🐷 🐖 The Pig is back! Individual Test 2 at the 2023 CrossFit Games was announced yesterday, called the “Pig Chipper.” Based on the schedule that CrossFit released, it looks like the test will take place in the North Park on Thursday, starting with the women at 11:15 AM, followed by the men at 12:15 PM. Here’s what the test looks like:

  • “IT2: Pig Chipper”For time: 
    10 Pig Flips
    25 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
    50 Toes-to-Bar
    100 Wall-Ball Shots
    50 Toes-to-Bar
    25 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
    10 Pig Flips
    Time Cap: 18 Minutes

📰 📰 Jack Farlow Profiled in School Newspaper: Second-year engineering student at the University of Waterloo and 2023 CrossFit Games rookie qualifier, Jack Farlow was featured in his University’s newspaper. Check it out.

Mom Strong: Last month, 40 athletes from across British Columbia took on the “Battle in the North,” the first ever CrossFit competition held in Prince George. Here’s a super cool profile of four of them, all moms who are priorizing health and fitness along side parenting young children.

CrossFit CEO Don Faul appeared on the Jocko Willink podcast to discuss leadership in the Marines, at tech companies like Google and Facebook and at CrossFit. Listen now.

ICYMI: Check out our definitive spectator’s guide to the 2023 CrossFit Games.

  What if the CrossFit Games Had a Running Leaderboard through the Entire Season?: Women's Division  


What if the CrossFit Games Had a Running Leaderboard through the Entire Season?: Women's Division

Just as we did with the Men’s Division earlier this week, we are going to repeat the process and compare each of our 40 Women’s Division Games qualifiers’ scores throughout the season against each other.

This means all women will be compared against each other in 16 total workouts:

  • 4 Open Tests
  • 5 Quarterfinals Tests
  • 7 Semifinals Tests

Below we have taken the results of all 40 female Games athletes in their Open, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals workouts and compared them all to each other (i.e. only against other individual Games qualifiers in the field). We then awarded them points based on their placing in the field using the CrossFit Games scoring system.

Total points: Total number of points awarded on a 1st-40th scoring system in relation to the other 2023 Games athletes

Average event placing: Avg. placing among other 2023 Games athletes

By doing this we are able to see which women have consistently been performing the best throughout the season, and which of them will likely carry that success into the Games.

Below we have included the list, and some of the rankings may surprise you.

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  Major Pieces of 2023 CrossFit Games Puzzle Come Together with Schedule Release  

Major Pieces of 2023 CrossFit Games Puzzle Come Together with Schedule Release

Late Wednesday night—11 PM ET late—CrossFit released the first public edition of the 2023 Games schedule. It didn’t take long for the buzz to spread among night owls, and the hunt was on to find any clues the timetables provide about the week-long season-pinnacle event.

When attempting to glean information from these schedules, it’s best to think like an event planner. The puzzle must fit. Using the shell of what we know, and plugging in the new information, an early picture of the 2023 CrossFit Games begins to develop. Let’s dive in.

Starting with What We Know

We know Age Group and Adaptive athletes compete Tuesday through Thursday. The leaderboard is showing 8 tests for these divisions. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be more or less, but it is noteworthy.

Individuals and Teams compete Thursday through Sunday. The leaderboard is showing 12 tests for Individuals, and 11 tests for teams.

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  The Best Places to Get Coffee in Madison During the CrossFit Games  

The Best Places to Get Coffee in Madison During the CrossFit Games

Spectating at The CrossFit Games is a marathon, not a sprint, so you better caffeinate if you want to take it all in. Here is a list of some of the best local coffee roasters to visit while you are in town for The CrossFit Games.

  • Bradbury’s (127 N Hamilton St, Madison, WI 53703)*Opens at 7 AM

Bradbury’s is located just off Capitol Square on Hamilton Street, and they only use organic coffee beans and milk from a local farmstead creamery in Wisconsin. They have a small food menu, baking their own scones, crepes, and muffins in-house, as well as additional rotating food specials. You can even order online! They are closed on Mondays, so be aware.

  • Finca Coffee (2500 Rimrock Rd #105, Madison, WI 53713)*Opens at 7:30 AM

Located a stone’s throw from the Alliant Energy Center, Finca Coffee is a Latinx-owned coffee shop whose goal was to bring the taste of El Salvador to Madison. The Valle family who opened Finca wanted it to represent the local Salvadoran coffee farmers they buy their beans from. The beans are shipped in from El Salvador every three weeks to ensure freshness. Food-wise, they serve burritos, tacos, pupusas, and more. They are closed on Sundays.

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  LSKD Premiers Men’s Mental Health Documentary Featuring Khan Porter, Matt Dlugos  

LSKD Premiers Men’s Mental Health Documentary Featuring Khan Porter, Matt Dlugos

The latest in their series highlighting athletes and their stories and as part of an ongoing project to bring awareness to mental health, specifically for men, LSKD released a new documentary featuring CrossFit athletes Khan Porter and Matt Dlugos entitled “Don’t Wait” on July 17.

The details: The four men featured in the film–all LSKD athletes–describe their personal experiences with mental health and one common thread emerged: they each had trouble expressing their challenges.

  • Along with Porter and Dlugos, former professional rugby player Jordan Kahu and gymnast Health Thorpe also shared their perspectives.
  • The men discussed isolation and how lost they had felt in the past, and what the journey was like to get to where they are now.

What LSKD is saying: LSKD’s Visual Production Lead, Elliott Sauvage, aimed to create a safe, open environment for people to explore mental health. Sauvage said that as someone who has struggled with mental health before, he was glad to have ambassadors like Porter, Dlugos, Kahu, and Thorpe representing the brand and sharing their experiences.

  • “The one thing we want to give people here is the understanding that it’s okay to be vulnerable with others and speak up,” Sauvage said. “If this campaign inspires even just one person to speak up, then it’s a mission success for us.”

Porter: “You’re not just thinking the worst, you’re feeling it.”

  • Both Porter and Dlugos opened up about their specific experiences, including Porter’s struggle with anxiety, never feeling like enough, and his eating disorder. What got both of them through it, eventually, was being upfront and asking for help.
  • “I think there’s a lot that needs to happen around how we have conversations around mental health, but we need to have those conversations,” Porter said. “We need to have those conversations that allow people to find someplace to speak up sooner.”
  • Dlugos said that a lot of why he felt stifled from expressing his feelings was because of his gender. He said that because he was expected to be “manly” and not have any emotions, it hindered his mental health.
  • Dlugos: “As men, we should have each other’s back and I don’t know why we don’t. I don’t know why so many men are equipped to say, ‘Man up, you shouldn’t feel that way, it’s silly that you’re feeling emotional,’ like, everybody is feeling emotional whether you want to accept it or not. everybody feels these emotions.”

You can watch the full documentary.

  Picsil: The History Behind the Brand That Dominated Europe and Is Setting Their Sights on the US  

Picsil: The History Behind the Brand That Dominated Europe and Is Setting Their Sights on the US

CrossFit athletes are constantly looking for those accessories that will aid them in fitness, all while protecting themselves at the same time. Picsil is one of the brands doing just that. With a full list of fitness equipment and accouterment available to every level of athlete, the company prides itself the most on its hero products: their grips, belts, knee sleeves, wristbands, and jump ropes.

After dominating the European market, Picsil continues to expand the brand in the US. Picsil was founded in 2012 by brothers Pablo and Jesús Miguel Silva Picón. It all started when a relative asked Pablo to search for a hand protection product that would allow this functional sport to be carried out with the greatest possible protection for the hands. While researching, Pablo sensed a gap in the market and began to create his own hand grips. They took on quickly, and relatively soon, his brother Jesús left his job to help his brother full time as the two aimed to create this new fitness brand.

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  Kalyan Souza’s Workout of the Week  

Kalyan Souza’s Workout of the Week

Today’s workout is programmed by 2023 CrossFit Games rookie, Kalyan Souza. The “Brazilian CrossFit Cowboy” is a PRVN Fitness athlete and took second place at the 2023 Copa Sur, the South America Semifinal.

Kalyan Souza

3 Rounds for Time:

  • 40 GHD Sit-Ups
  • 30/24 Calorie Ski
  • 20-meter Handstand Walk
  • 15 Strict Handstand Push-Ups

Time Cap: 22 Minutes

Scaling Options: Athletes can adjust the GHD sit-ups to V-ups or regular abmat sit-ups, keeping the rep scheme the same. If a SkiErg is now available, athletes can substitute a rower with the same calories. The handstand walk can be adjusted to 6 wall walks per round and athletes can adjust to kipping handstand push-ups, if necessary.

Advice from Kalyan: “This is a lot of midline and shoulder strength / endurance, so make sure to pace yourself accordingly based on your strengths and weaknesses and choose the right scaling if needed. This is also a long workout (20+ minutes for most) so don’t go into the first round with a sprint mentality. Break early and often on the handstand walk and handstand push-ups if you need to so you don’t blow up your shoulders. And have fun!”

To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.

  Shopping Guide: Getting Ready for the Games  

Shopping Guide: Getting Ready for the Games

Are you gearing up to go watch your favorite athletes compete in Madison? Us too! While you are in Madison, you’ll want to be prepared for all the fun ahead.

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite products to help make your 2023 trip to the Games the best possible experience imaginable!

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  Shopping Guide: Getting Ready for the Games  

Morning Chalk Up is doing it big this year for the 2023 CrossFit Games by partnering with amazing brands like Reebok, Momentous, goodr, Thirdzy and Kineon Labs to give away amazing prizes each day of the CrossFit Games.

Entry is FREE and you can start building up chances to win NOW through the final day of the CrossFit Games.



To Win a Sandbag, Weight Vest and Kettlebell for FREE

Girls Gone Rx teamed up with Brute Force for the “Gearing Up for the Games” giveaway, which is live now through Monday. Win some gear!




The Last Straw

Get a handle on your on-the-go hydration. This dishwasher safe, insulated, cup-holder friendly mug is built to ride along from commute to cool down. But water is just the beginning – these mugs keep your iced coffee or tea on ice, or are a convenient way to bring your smoothie along.



Rating Exercise Names

Should a dead bug really be called a dead bug? Check out these ratings for exercise names for a laugh.



Skipping Meal Prep with Rebuilt Meals

Get your Sundays back with Rebuilt Meals, healthy prepped meals delivered right to your door. Using code “MCU23” you can get 60% off your first order, and 10% off every order after. Free up your time and get a bargain!



How You Could Be Imbalancing Your Hormones

Hormonal imbalances can affect both men and women, and it can have a huge impact on your workouts and recovery. Learn more about what might cause those imbalances.


Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, David TaoNiki BrazierAaron Hinde, and Thuri Helgadottir.
  • Congratulations to Ilda from 914 CrossFit in Hawthorne, NY on the bench press PR.
  • Congratulations to John Sims II on the deadlift PR.
  • Congratulations Louise Hawkins on crushing these cleans with one arm.
9/23: Ladies of Power: Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
9/23: Warrior Games 2023 (Suffield, CT)
9/23: Thrive Throwdown (Lynchburg, VA)
9/23: Warrior Games 2023 (Suffield, CT)
9/23: The Gulf Coast Games (Pinellas Park, FL)
9/23 - 9/24: Madrid Fitness Challenge (San Lorenzo del Escorial, Madrid, Spain)
10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/14: Strength and Speed (Feasterville, PA)
10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/14 - 10/15: 059 Classic (Modena, Italy)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)

See all upcoming events

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