Mat Fraser and Noah Ohlsen have their eyes set on Aromas with hopes of repeating their accomplishments from last year as the fittest and second fittest man on earth. Their chances of doing so are very good.
But there will be a third man who stands on the podium when the 2020 CrossFit Games finally come to an end on October 25.
That third man, or potentially more if there are massive upsets, will be standing on the Games podium for the first time. The list has been whittled down to just three: Samuel Kwant, Justin Medeiros and Jeffrey Adler.
If you’ve been around the sport for the past five years, the name Kwant is not an unfamiliar one: four-time Regional athlete, three-time Games athlete and second at the only Sanctional he competed in (Mid Atlantic CrossFit Challenge 2019).
His 16th place finish at the Games in 2016 as a rookie, and perhaps more so his event win in Double DT that year, show just how much potential he has.
He was derailed by an injury that kept him out of the 2018 season, and then narrowly missed the final cut last year and slipped out of the minds of CrossFit fans briefly. Therefore, many were surprised to see his name in the top five after the online competition, but perhaps we shouldn’t be.
Kwant, 24, excels at a couple of disciplines which are critical in any high-level CrossFit competition. Barbell cycling, upper body pulling strength and power output are all in Kwant’s wheelhouse. But against this field of four, there are lots of areas where he isn’t as good historically.
And when the bad outweighs the good, it means he will be dependent on the hopper churning out a slew of events he excels in. Given the nature of this year’s test, I don’t think that will be the case. Look for him to come fifth.
Having already won Rookie of the Year, Medeiros only has more to gain as the season approaches its climax. He has set himself up for great sponsorship opportunities, invites to events all over the world and a slew of questions about the power of his fabulous mullet. However, none of those things will occupy his mind too much because he is ferocious, tenacious and has the will to win.
Medeiros, 21, had some gritty, impressive performances as a young man, including at the California Regionals in 2017 (15th) and the West Regional in 2018 (14th). After nearly grabbing a qualifying spot at the 2019 CrossFit Games with a fourth-place finish at the Granite Games, he was primed for a breakthrough.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Justin Medeiros (@justin_medeiros34) on
That came when he won the Filthy 150 in Ireland last November, taking down many big names in the process, including Roman Khrennikov and Jean-Simon Roy-Lemaire.
Medeiros has never had the best Open performances, with a career best of 68th last season, so when the online competition was announced it seemed to bode poorly for an athlete who thrives in a live competitive atmosphere.
Medeiros’ few weaknesses happen to be strengths for just about every other athlete in the field, so he is almost guaranteed to take a couple of last-place event finishes. However, he has the potential to win some events too, and the bonus points would likely be enough to make up for the poor performances. Expect him to sneak onto the podium behind Fraser and Ohlsen.
The lone Canadian in the fieldis perhaps not the man we expected to see, and yet he is their reigning national champion.
Adler, 26, is the type of athlete that analyst’s love. He’s had a consistent upwards trend that is reflective of a man with the physical capacity for greatness who has leveraged his success thanks to years of consistent, meaningful, hard work in the gym. He’s improved every year in the Open, culminating in a fifth finish this year.
He only had one Regional appearance (18th in the East in 2018), but he has been active on the Sanctional circuit, oftenchoosing to compete in the biggest events against the best competition. He’s been in Dubai in the past two years, placing 13th and eighth, He was 19th at Wodapalooza in 2019, and placed third at the Mayhem Classic in January.
Adler’s stand-out performance was his mind-boggling performance on 20.4, where he beat the second best time in the world (belonging to Fraser) by 1:41. He can move a heavy barbell as well as anyone.
Of the three likely be vying for the final podium spot, he is statistically the most consistent across the board.
He may not win any events, but he also probably won’t lose many outright. If he is able to finish second, third or fourth in almost every event, it isn’t the worst case scenario. Look for him to push Medeiros but just miss out on the podium.