Does Success In The Open Mean Success At The Games?

The second Open of the year is about to take place. This version is for the 2019-20 season, and there is a lot of excitement and anticipation across the CrossFit community. Many athletes hope that they can earn their spot at the 2020 CrossFit Games and feel that being at the top of the leaderboard in the Open will make a big statement.

It would be impressive, but does it guarantee that the athlete in question is set for success at the big stage? The results over the last three years have been the same when all was said and done. Fraser and Toomey leave as champions. Fraser has done it four times in a row now. 

So we went back five years and compared the top five in the Open for both the men’s and women’s fields to see how their efforts in the Games played out. While making it to that level is a success in itself, does one correlate with the other? Each year will have the top five 5 finishers in the Open with their result in the Games alongside. If the Games champion was out of the top five in that year’s Open, we placed his or her Open result below.

Note: The 2019 Games included more athletes than ever due to the expanded qualifications put in place by CrossFit.

2019 Men
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Mat Fraser1st Place
2nd – Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson3rd Place
3rd – Jacob Heppner6th Place
4th – Lefteris Theofanidis60th Place
5th – Jean-Simon Roy Lenaire85th Place

2019 Women
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Sara Sigmundsdottir20th Place
2nd – Annie Thorisdottir12th Place
3rd – Kristin Holte2nd Place
4th – Jamie Greene3rd Place
5th – Dani Speegle27th Place

*Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey finished 6th in the Open.

2018 Men
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Mat Fraser1st Place
2nd – Alex Vigneault25th Place
3rd – Willy Georges9th Place
4th – Jean-Simon Roy LenaireDid not compete
5th – Patrick Vellner2nd Place

2018 Women
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Cassidy Lance-McWherter10th Place
2nd – Kara Saunders4th Place
3rd – Carolyne PrevostDid not compete
4th – Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet13th Place
5th – Annie Thorisdottir5th Place

*Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey finished 12th in the Open.

2017 Men
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Mat Fraser1st Place
2nd – Noah Ohlsen4th Place
3rd – Alex VigneaultDid not compete
4th – Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson5th Place
5th – Anthony DavisDid not compete

*Anthony Davis competed in the Team Division and finished 8th.

2017 Women
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Sara Sigmundsdottir4th Place
2nd – Kari Pearce10th Place
3rd – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet39th Place
4th – Jamie Greene8th Place
5th – Cassidy Lance-McWherter12th Place

*Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey finished 18th in the Open.

2016 Men
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Noah Ohlsen15th Place
2nd – Rich Froning Jr.Did not compete
3rd – Travis Mayer10th Place
4th – Scott Panchik6th Place
5th – Kyle FrankenfeldDid not compete

*Games champion Mat Fraser finished 7th in the Open.

2016 Women
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Jamie GreeneDid not compete
2nd – Samantha Briggs4th Place
3rd – Kara Webb7th Place
4th – Sara Sigmundsdottir3rd Place
5th – Michele Letendre16th Place

*Games champion Katrin Davidsdottir finished in 14th place.

**Jamie Greene competed in the Teams Division and finished in 3rd place.

2015 Men
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Mat Fraser2nd Place
2nd – Rich Froning JrDid not compete
3rd – Ben Smith1st Place
4th – Jason KhalipaDid not compete
5th – Scott Panchik6th Place

*Jason Khalipa competed in the Teams Division and placed 10th.

2015 Women
Open ResultGames Result
1st – Annie Thorisdottir38th Place
2nd – Kara Webb5th Place
3rd – Sara Sigmundsdottir3rd Place
4th – Emily Bridgers24th Place
5th – Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet13th Place

*Games champion Katrin Davidsdottir finished in 14th place.


Based on the last five years of results, here is what we can conclude about the correlation between the Open and Games.

  1. No athlete has finished in the top five of the Open in all of the last five years. Mat Fraser has come the closest. He finished as the winner four times and in seventh place once.
  2. The Fittest Man on Earth for each year finished no worse than seventh in the Open.
  3. Conversely, the Fittest Woman on Earth hasn’t finished in the top five of the Open in any of the last five years.
  4. The women’s Open winner has finished no higher than fourth place in the last five years.
  5. There have been nine times in the last five years that a top-five finisher in the Men’s Open finished in the top five of the Games. Mat Fraser holds four of those positions.
  6. On the women’s side, there have been eight occasions where an athlete finished in the top five of both the Open and the Games. Sara Sigmundsdottir holds three of those positions. None of those has been a champion.

So going back to 2015, there does seem to be a correlation between success in the Open and the Games on the men’s side. For the women, you could almost say that winning the Open is a curse. However, finishing in the top 20 or as a national champion does guarantee a qualification, so it’s worth the effort to compete and place high.

Do you think that these numbers are indications of how the new season will play out? Let us know by sharing this article with your thoughts on social media and tagging us @FloElite.

Roger Lockridge is from Lewisburg, WV. His work has been featured on numerous platforms and magazines in the fitness industry over the last 10 years. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @rocklockridge.

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