Who Will Win Iceland's First CrossFit Games Qualifier?

International contests continue to hold the spotlight into the month of May as the sanctioned event schedule heads to Iceland for the Reykjavik CrossFit Championship, the nation’s first qualifying event.

The RCC will have a small field vying for the invite positions from men’s, women’s, and team competition into the 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games. However, there are several entries in the field that already have their ticket punched.

On the men’s side, Streat Hoerner (14th in the Open), Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson (Icelandic champion, second in the Open), Lefteris Theofinidis (Greek champion, fourth in the Open), and Roman Khrennikov (invite earned in Dubai) all will be factors in the race for the no. 1 spot, but will not be a factor for the invite to Madison. 

Two others are possibly qualified as well, but their fate is still up to the backfill process. Tim Paulson sits three spots outside the Open cutoff and we already know of two expected declines (Devin Ford and Rich Froning). Lukas Esslinger will be competing on back-to-back weekends, but his berth to Madison may be good through the Ford and Froning declines, as that would move Patrick Vellner in through the Open, which gives Noah Ohlsen the Wodapalooza invite and then moves the Italian Showdown spot to Esslinger.

The women’s competition sees six previously qualified athletes in the field this weekend. Three national champions: Emilia Leppanen (Finland, 44th in the Open), Carole Castellani (France, 57th), and Anna Fragkou (Greece, 714th); two top 20 qualifiers: Jacqueline Dahlstrom (22nd) and Haley Adams (33rd); and Thuri Helgadottir, who holds the invite from Strength in Depth.

Obviously those athletes will be in heavy contention for the top spot on the podium after three days in Reykjavik. But who should you keep an eye on for the invite positions to Madison?

Team Competition

The team competition this weekend could be a show-stealer with half of the ultra small field being a legitimate contender to win and get to the Games.

JST is the latest team to utilize the substitution loophole to try to earn a Games berth as they bring in Samantha, Briggs, the first Games qualifier on the women’s side this season, to improve their odds. She’ll be joined by Steven Fawcett, Jane Eadie, and Jak Cornthwaite.

JST will most notably be holding European home turf against a couple of American teams. Mayhem Independence will try to be the second Mayhem team in as many weeks to qualify, and Invictus Boston attempts to become the third Invictus team to qualify. (If they do, Invictus teams will make up roughly a quarter of the Games field this August.)

Superhero Project (second place in Fittest in Cape Town) and multi-time Games qualifying CrossFit XY (fourth in Cape Town) look to carryover the momentum from the January event into a possible run in Iceland this weekend.

Women’s Competition

Looking past the six already qualified women in the field makes for an intriguing weekend for the Games invite position.

In Iceland, it’s almost fitting to look first for a Dottir, and this weekend could be the opportunity for Solevig Sigurdardottir to make the jump some have been expecting for the past couple of years. The three-time Regional athlete (across team and individual competitions) has shown flashes of being a name to rise up the rankings with the added pressure of living up to the high expectations of being a female CrossFit athlete from the country tied for the most women’s championships in Games history.

The United Kingdom’s Emelye Dwyer may not be a super familiar athlete to those outside of Europe right now, but after a 43rd place finish in the Open (which would have been much higher if not for a poor 19.2 finish of 496th), she may be a name to learn sooner than later.

The United States will be bringing a couple of East Regional mainstays to the picture as well with Liz Adams (top-25 two years in a row) and Tori Dyson (eighth place finisher in 2017 and went team last year).

With the lack of significant individual Games experience (outside of Thuri Helgadottir and former teenage champ Haley Adams) the women’s competition should be in for quite a fight for the weekend.

Men’s Competition

On the men’s side, the favorite entering the weekend for the Games invite seemed to be Alec Smith. However the two-time Games qualifier posted to social media this week that he has withdrawn from Iceland (and Brazil) after dealing with illness the past few weeks. This has left the field even more open.

Eliminating the qualified athletes (along with Esslinger and Paulson who are most likely included) leaves us with experience but question marks scattered across the roster.

The most experienced Games athlete in the group will be Ben Stoneberg. The five-time Games athlete is looking for his first appearance since 2016 after injuries and competitive time have slowed him the past couple of seasons (including a 15th place finish in the West Regional last year). Also looking to make a comeback trip to the Games will be a pair of one-time Games athletes in Paul Tremblay and Will Moorad (both attended in 2014).

The most recently experienced Games athlete in the field will be John Coltey. The man who stole the spotlight in West Palm Beach at Regionals a year ago, en route to a runner-up finish, looks to recreate that magic once again on a weekend in May.

Potential Games rookies include Brendan Willis (23rd in Dubai), Josh Gervais (15th at Wodapalooza), and Connor Duddy (eighth in Dubai).

Good news for fitness fans this weekend after last week’s events in Italy and China had limited coverage: The Reykjavik CrossFit Championship will be streamed on their website as three more names will be added to the list of Games athletes for August’s iteration of finding the “Fittest on Earth.”

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