The 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games is just a few weeks away. For the best in the world, this is the pinnacle of the sporting year. Hundreds of thousands have been cut down to just 40 men, women and teams having made it through the grueling stages of the CF Open and Regionals. In this article, I am going to share with you some of my thoughts and predictions for the athletes this year.
Winners: Fraser, Sigmundsdottir
Let’s start with the main question, who is going to win? As far as the number one spot goes, the male side is easier to predict than the female. After the most dominant win in CF Games history last year, my pick for the 2017 champion is of course Matt Fraser. Last year he won by such a huge margin that he barely even had to show up on the final day and I can’t see anyone knocking him off the top spot this year. As a huge fan of CrossFit, the one thing I wish we all could have seen is Rich Froning vs Matt Fraser when they were both at their best, that would have been one hell of a contest.
The rest of the podium is a little harder on the guys side, I think it could be any of a number of athletes, but I am going to go with one of last year’s most impressive rookies, Brent Fikowski in second place and I think that Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson can repeat his 2015 finish and grab that 3rd place spot on the podium. Fikowski won 4 events at last year’s games (his rookie year) and continued to set world records at this year’s Regionals, he is extremely exciting to watch and definitely has what it takes to stand on the podium. BKG has become the Meridian’s top man and is extremely consistent. In 2015, he really made a name for himself when he won ‘Murph’ and went on to back it up with a 3rd place overall finish.
For the women, it is clear that 3 stand out above the rest, or at least they have for the last 2 years, but I think it is time for a reshuffle on the podium. This year I am going to go with Sara Sigmundsdottir for number one, it looks like she has been in great company this year with Rich Froning and the Mayhem crew so I think this could be her year and after two 3rd place finishes I am sure she is fired up to take the number one spot. I predict that second place goes to Katrin and third to Tia Toomey. Any of these 3 girls have what it takes to stand on top of the podium in 2017, I guess it will all come down to who shows up to Madison wanting it more and who can manage their bodies and mental performances more during those 4-5 days of competition.
The female competition was so exciting to watch last year with the top 4 or 5 constantly on shuffle, I am hoping for more of the same this year.
Early Event Winners: Briggs, Koski
Some early clues got dropped on Castro’s Instagram this week (@thedavecastro) They didn’t reveal too much but give us an idea of how the competition is going to start. It is always exciting to watch certain athletes dominate events and based off the info we have so far I am predicting a pretty dominant start for a couple of athletes.
What we know:
Event 1- Run, Swim, Run
Event 2- Bike
No distances of extra details have been disclosed, we probably won’t know until the athletes show up in Madison, but I can’t see either of these events being sprint distances, I think they will be longer endurance events. Two athletes that could be very happy with these events are Sam Briggs and Jonne Koski. Sam has a huge amount of CF Games event wins and always does well on the ‘longer’ events. Jonne has a swimming background and is also very handy on the bike. It could be a great start for both of them.
Exciting Rookies to Watch: Jason Smith, Paul Castillo and Jamie Greene.
These are 3 names that you need to keep a look out for at this year’s CF Games. Smith is a Regionals veteran out of South Africa and has competed at every event since 2012. Making his first appearance at the Games this year I expect Smith’s consistency to keep him towards the top of the leader board.
Paul Castillo is a relative new comer to the scene, this year was his second Regional and he managed a first-place finish in the Central Region, beating games veterans Scott Panchik and Alex Anderson. It is always great when new guys burst onto the scene and shake up the leaderboard, it will be great to watch how Paul does in Madison.
Jamie Greene, also a rookie on the individual side of competition is definitely one to watch on the female side. She has previously stood on the podium with her team, CF Yas (2016) after also winning the Open worldwide that year. Extremely well rounded and talented, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jamie in the top 10 in her first individual Games appearance.
Check out some interviews from the CF Games website with these exciting new athletes:
Teams: Fort Vancouver, Mayhem Freedom, JST
On the team’s side, I think it is time for a change on top of the leader board. Although Mayhem Freedom have certainly dominated for the past 2 years, the team competition is changing. Teams are getting together and training for the Games well in advance of the Open even beginning. The area where Mayhem have been able to separate themselves from the rest is their team work and understanding of each other’s abilities. As a group of individuals, they are probably very beatable (maybe not including Froning) but they are currently unbeaten as a team. This year I think that CF Fort Vancouver can make a real run at the top spot on the podium. They have a talented bunch of individual athletes, backed up by solid team work as we saw during Regionals as they set multiple world records and they also have a huge history and experience of being at the CF Games. Also with a chance to grab a spot on the podium could be team CF JST. They won the Meridian Region and are led by former CF Games individual Steven Fawcett, 5 of the 6 team members are individual Regionals competitors and they worked extremely well as a team during the Regional events.
By: Phil Hesketh, Director of Training at InnerFight, Head of Red Zone Training