In three-day competitions it’s typically the middle day that brings the most drama. With the new structure of this year’s CrossFit Games , that moving day feeling was even greater, but for no one was it more crucial than Jeffrey Adler. Canada’s national champion hasn’t been a staple at the top of CrossFit by any means. While compatriots Patrick Vellner and Brent Fikowksi were putting the men on the map with regular top five and podium finishes at the Games in 2016-2018, Adler was slowly building a foundation that is needed to move up in the sport. Having spent some time with Adler and his girlfriend Caroline Lambray, who is also his coach, I learned a lot about what it takes to be an elite athlete, and was surprised to find the baseline of their training is dot-com programming. The emphasis has been on doing it the right way: no short cuts, no easy way out. In competition, it’s often the repetitive attention to detail that shines through in the way of solid performances. Entering day two Adler sat in fourth place out of the five athletes with 220 points; a mere five points up on Samuel Kwant and only 15 points behind third place Noah Ohlsen. In fact, only 40 points separated Justin Medeiros in second from Kwant in fifth. As we expected, there was a lot worth fighting for among the men not named Mat Fraser. Adler’s day got off to the worst possible start with a last-place finish in the lunge and toe-to-bar event, but he was not deterred. Adler suggested that it doesn’t matter who it is, but someone needs to beat Fraser in an event, and Adler was determined to go for it. He called his shot in the Snatch Speed Triple, exuding a confidence we’ve rarely seen from the humble Canadian. Ultimately, he came up short with a second place behind Fraser, but considering Fraser’s Olympic lifting background, second could feel a ‘win’. Mat Fraser has unbeatable lead at CrossFit Games after day two The third event, the Bike Repeater, is something Adler doesn’t train much for, and he said he would not have been surprised to finish last. Early on Adler was near the back of the group, but as the rounds ticked away he slowly picked off competitors one by one. Eventually, only Fraser remained ahead. In the ninth round he made a move and even took the lead for a moment. The champ is the champ for a reason and Fraser had a little more left for the final push and squeezed out another event win. Adler took second which vaulted him to second place overall. The final event of the day was revealed to the athletes only a matter of minutes before it began. Running up the hill for the third time already this weekend, the athletes would now have to pair that challenge with one of the most infamous combinations in CrossFit Open history: burpees and thrusters, this time with a diabolic combination of increasing reps and weight. Adler once again began slowly, even bringing up the rear in the opening two rounds. However, as with the trajectory of his career, he demonstrated the slow, tactical approach as he reeled in the other men. Fraser ran way with it again and Kwant barely held off Adler for second. But a third-place finish after a pair of back-to-back seconds puts Adler in a position heading into the final day that no one expected, second place overall. With athletes battling for major money, career best finishes and the pride of earning a spot on the podium, Sunday is shaping up to be one of the most exciting days in terms of podium finishes, as well as record-setting performances, we’ve ever seen. The way things are trending, expect Adler to continue his climb in his slow but steady demeanour.