“Champions don’t become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it.”- Michael Jordan
2023 CrossFit Games Women’s Podium and Dark Horse Picks
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:
Six time 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.
The 2023 Individual Games roster is comprised of a mix of veterans and rookies, with multiple athletes returning for their 10th time.
There are some headed to Madison for a comeback season after not qualifying last year. And others who have already stated that this will be their final year, their swan song. However, there is quite a large number of individuals not returning from the 2022 Games, and will instead be watching it all play out from the sidelines.
One big thing: Of the 40 men that competed at last year’s Games, 24 will be returning this year. And on the women’s side, only 20.
The women’s field will be missing half of its competitors from last year, and that includes five of the top ten finishers, which is remarkable. Those not returning are as follows:
Tia-Clair Toomey – The six-time Games champion will not be competing this year, as she gave birth to her and Shane Orr’s daughter, Willow, earlier this spring.
Mallory O’Brien – Due to personal reasons, O’Brien is sitting this season out, having made the decision in the lead-up to Semifinals.
Brooke Wells – Finishing 14th at the North America East Semifinal and thus not qualifying for the Games, Wells posted on Instagram that she tore her plantar fascia during Test 1, and was subsequently battling the injury throughout the entire weekend.
Kara Saunders – The fan favorite is sitting this year out, as she is expecting her second child.
Haley Adams – The young veteran announced in February of this year that she’d be taking the 2023 season off, choosing to focus on her mental health.
Kristi Eramo O’Connell – After competing at the Games for seven consecutive years, beginning in 2016, Eramo retired after the 2022 season.
Jacqueline Dahlstrom – She placed 12th in the European Semifinal and missed qualifying this year.
Lucy Campbell – This winter, Campbell announced that she would be sitting out the 2023 season due to a wrist injury and is anxious to return in 2024.
Dani Speegle – Another fan favorite, she missed the qualifying cutoff by one spot. Speegle placed 11th at the North America West Semifinal.
Seungyeon Choi – Due to a shoulder injury, Choi is sitting out for the 2023 season.
Additionally, Thuri Helgadottir, Carolyne Prevost, Rebecca Fuselier, Sydney Michalyshen, Freya Moosbrugger, Solveig Sigurdardottir, Julia Kato and Elena Caratala Sanahuja will all be missing from the Games roster this year, as they failed to qualify at their respective Semifinals.
Caroline Spencer – While not competing as an individual, Spencer is still heading to Madison, this year as a member of the CrossFit Krypton team.
Michelle Merand – As a member of CrossFit FBDV Mayhem Africa, Merand qualified at the Africa Semifinal and was set to try her hand in the team competition this year. However, in an update released by CrossFit HQ, her teammate Angi Connoway tested positive for PEDs, and thus the team was disqualified from competition. Connoway denies any wrongdoing, and filed an appeal, but has since withdrawn it. Cape CrossFit Wolfpack will be taking their place in Madison.
BREAKING: Jason Smith Tests Positive for PEDs; Overall Positive Drug Tests Down Dramatically for 2023 Season Thus Far
Early Friday morning, CrossFit announced via email that Jason Smith, the first-place finisher at the Africa Semifinal “provided a sample at the competition that contained exogenous 5a-androstane-3a,17b-diol (5aAdiol) and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol (5bAdiol).”
Smith is appealing this result, but is provisionally suspended pending the result of the appeal. The second-place finisher. Conrad Winnertz was offered, but decline an invitation to the Games due to an injury.
One big thing: Jason Smith is the first individual Games qualifier to be announced as having provided a positive drug test this Games season. This is a dramatic reduction from the 2022 season.
This would’ve been Smith’s fourth appearance at the CrossFit Games and would’ve been the oldest individual competitor in the field.
The big picture: As athletes arrive in Madison ready to take the big stage at the CrossFit Games, CrossFit has continued to work behind the scenes to ensure that the athletes competing are clean.
In the past several months, we have seen multiple press announcements from CrossFit regarding both positive and negative drug tests. However, with the Games kicking off in just a few days, it seems as though the number of positive test results is nowhere near where it was in 2022.
With 74 athletes competing, the Mayhem family is representing in a huge way this year in Madison. In support of those athletes, $30,000 was raised by selling Mayhem 23 Jerseys, that could be customized with athletes’ names. But Mayhem isn’t built solely around elite competitors. It’s built around the everyday athlete. The athlete that supports the CrossFit community, their local affiliate and everywhere in between.
One opportunity to give back to that community and unite in one common location, is via the Mayhem Campground. Jake Lockert, director for online programming for CrossFit Mayhem shares his enthusiasm about the week ahead in Madison.
“We are pumped to be able to do something that aligns so well with our mission: Community-Driven Fitness for ALL. Come see us all week at the Games to see what Mayhem is all about,” said Lockert.
Some background: Owned and run by Champion athlete and CrossFit icon Rich Froning, CrossFit Mayhem has been changing lives through CrossFit for over 13 years. They have done this through community focused fitness for all levels. This includes their CrossFit Kids program, Life Class, which focuses on “maintaining strength and independence through functional movements at relative intensity,” shared Froning.
“Our goal at the 2023 CrossFit Games is to do the exact same thing for the community beyond Cookeville. Our team has put a ton of thought and hard work into creating a unique experience that transforms the campgrounds into the full Mayhem Experience. We’re really excited to share,” said Froning.
The Best Places to Work Out in Madison During the CrossFit Games
For the seventh year in a row, the fittest crowd in the world will come together to cheer on the Fittest on Earth as they battle for the title at the CrossFit Games.
Nothing motivates people to do fitness more than watching other people do fitness, so while in Madison, it is the ideal chance to meet like-minded people from all over the world, meet your favorite athletes, stay on top of your training routine, try a new training camp’s programming, and often even get some free swag or photos.
No need to schedule your rest days while in Madison–here is your guide to working out at 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.
Witnessing the athletes battle to be the Fittest on Earth in Madison is an amazing experience, but make sure you leave time to check out all of the amazing vendors present at the Games. From Ascent to Yerbae, brands will be out in force all over the Alliant Energy Center, slinging deals left and right. Not able to be there in person? No worries! Tons of brands are doing deals online too!
The MOVE+ Pro: The Team at Kineon Labs are here in Madison giving spectators the chance to finally try out the MOVE+ Pro in person! Stop by their booth, and keep your eyes peeled for the Kineon Ambassadors. If you aren’t in Madison, don’t worry, you can still partake in the fun.
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