Finally the 2020 season, which began over a year ago, has arrived at its final stage and we will soon see who wins the titles in what has easily been the strangest CrossFit season ever. In a season that was supposed to have nearly 30 Sanctionals and saw more than half of them cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is refreshing that we finally have a live competition to watch. The five fittest men and women began their pursuit to stand atop the podium and call themselves “Fittest on Earth”, duelling it out in a CrossFit bubble in Aromas, California, in an unprecedented format that may never happen again. Games director Dave Castro has been vocal on social media about how tough this test would be and that, no matter who you are, the title will have to be earned. If day one is any indication, Castro was not joking. It is pretty rare to have five fully scored events and that’s exactly what we had. The morning started off with the 2007 Reload, a tribute to the Hopper workout from 2007. Back then they had a 1,000-metre row followed by five rounds of 25 pull-ups and seven push jerks at 135/85lbs. This year they beefed that up considerably: the row was 1,500 metres, which was followed by five rounds of 10 bar muscle-ups and seven push jerks at 235/145 lbs. What is the CrossFit Games 2020 prize money? The Games started off pretty much the same way they have in the past few years, with reigning champions Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey dominating right out of the gate, to the surprise of no one. The morning featured two events at the famed ranch, which is owned by Castro, and the headlines will read back-to-back first place finishes for both athletes. The most impressive performances from elsewhere in the small field of competitors were rookie sensation Justin Medeiros in the first event. He was only eight seconds behind Fraser. Haley Adams looked good in both of the morning events, challenging Toomey in the 2007 Reload, much like Medeiros did with Fraser. Event three, the CrossFit Total, was a story of gamesmanship. For the men, Canadian Jeffrey Adler was steady across the first two lifts (back squat and strict press) before reeling in Fraser finally in the deadlift and securing his first ever event win at the CrossFit Games. On the women’s side, everyone was watching the battle between Toomey and Brooke Wells because they were only five pounds apart in 2018. The promise of a dramatic battle was delivered as the two veterans exchanged blows back and forth. Toomey stepped up to her final barbell and knew she had to hit it to take yet another event win, which is exactly what she did. The fourth event was announced at short notice, a handstand sprint, and we finally saw a chink in Toomey’s armour. She was outclassed, finishing a distant fifth. In the meantime, Wells earned her first win, and the second time she’s won a handstands specialty event at the Games (Handstand Walk 2018). Beating out Kari Pearce, Adams and Katrin Davidsdottir, who are some of the best handstand walkers in the sport, is an accomplishment she can build on throughout the weekend. On the men’s side, it was no real surprise to see Fraser yet again leave the competition in the dust. He took only one break over the 100-metre course and cruised to his third event win of the day, while Medeiros employed an unorthodox strategy in breaking every five yards to try to keep up. The final event was arguably the best version of a trail run we’ve ever seen at the ranch. This six-mile course was a loop up and around the ranch. With elevation changes of up to 450 feet, and the grade of the steepness approaching 50 per cent at points, this was much more than a simple run. Fraser went out pretty quick, but Medeiros was at his heels for quite some time; and in quite a shock he actually passed Fraser around the 18-minute mark, pushing him in a way he is probably not used to, and setting up a great finish. A similar battle ensued on the women’s side, where Adams hung on to Toomey for a long time, and then overtook her about 24 minutes in. Ultimately, the athletes were in for a major shock because Castro told them they needed to turn around and run the course in reverse to finish the test. The reverse lap seemed more like a mental test than anything else. In the end, Fraser held off a strong charge from Medeiros as they exchanged leads, and Toomey held firm, finishing third behind Davidsdottir and Adams. A gruelling end to day one, as the athletes now look to recover for day two, which will feature three events and draw out even more resiliency from these 10.