The 2021 CrossFit Quarterfinals as Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games

I was listening to the Get With the Programming Podcast where the discussed the programming of the 2021 CrossFit Quarterfinals when Bill Grundler said, “I would love to have seen the programming for the CrossFit Quarterfinals used as Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games”. This got me thinking, I wonder how last years games athletes did compared to each other in the Quarterfinals.

Since the Quarterfinals was split based on continent, we made a single leaderboard with all athletes on it. Then we rescored the each event based on the games scoring system (100 points for first, 95 for second and so on), and not the points system based on your rank in each event.

Below covers a hypothetical situation of what would happen if we took the 2020 Games field, but used the results from the Quarterfinals determined the Top 5 athletes that advanced to the CrossFit games.

The Women’s Division

In the Women’s division Tia Toomey was the decisive winner of the Quarterfinals, just as she was in Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games. In the Quarterfinal events as 2020 Stage 1 scenario Toomey won tests 1, 2 and 4 and had a 2nd in test 5, and finished with 445 points using game scoring.

When you look at the rest of the top 5, who would have qualified for CrossFit Games Final in our hypothetical scenario, all 4 athletes are different.

  • 2nd place – Kara Saunders (392 Points/7th in Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games)
  • 3rd Place – Laura Horvath (343 Points/20th in Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games)
  • 4th Place – Dani Speegle (333 Points/13th in Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games)
  • 5th Place – Gabriela Migala (329 Points/18th in Stage 1 of the 2020 CrossFit Games)

For the 4 other athletes that did make it to the CrossFit Games Final final last year, their results ranged from 6th to 20th in our Quarterfinals scenario.

  • 6th place – Brooke Wells (2nd in stage 1 of the CrossFit Games)
  • 8th Place – Haley Adams (3rd in stage 1 of the CrossFit Games)
  • 11th Place – Kari Pearce (5th in stage 1 of the CrossFit Games)
  • 20th Place – Katrin Davidsdottir (4th in stage 1 of the CrossFit Games)

Out of all of the athletes, Laura Horvath saw the biggest jump in placement, from 24th at the 2020 Games to 3rd in our Quarterfinals scenario, while Davidsdottir saw the biggest drop from 4th to 20th.

Looking at the final position changes half the field were +/- 5 positions between the 2021 CrossFit Games and the Quarterfinals, which highlights the competitiveness of the field.

Change in Position# of Athletes
Improved by 5 or more places8
Improved by less 5 places/stayed the same7
Worse by less than 5 places8
Worse by more than 5 places*7
* 2 of the 7 athletes who fell by more than 5 positions were Sara Sigmundsdottir and Jamie Simmonds. Both athletes are injured for the 2021 season.

Event winners in the Quarterfinals scenario besides Toomey were Sam Briggs who won test 3 and Danielle Brandon who won test 5.

Click here to see full results of the quarterfinals results limited to and rescored with the 2020 Stage 1 Games Athletes


Men’s Division

In the Men’s division it is also no surprise that Mat Fraser won yet again when we ranked the 2020 Games athletes based on the 2021 Quarterfinals results.

We know, he’s retired, but based off what we saw last season, he would have won easily if he did the Quarterfinals this year, and since this is a hypothetical scenario, he won again.

Looking at the Quarterfinal scenario, the top 5 athletes that actually competed in Quarterfinals are:

It’s interesting to see that in the Men’s field that only Sam Kwant (19th) did not have a repeat top 5 finish. I think it also validates Adler and Medeiros’ status as members of the elite field.

Even in our hypothetical scenario, Vellner starts slow with a 20th in Test 1 of the Quarterfinals , but grinds his way back to a podium finish in 3rd. While it’s still early in the season it also confirms that Vellner belongs in the conversation for who will win the CrossFit Games.

Travis Mayer had the biggest improvement from Stage 1 of the CrossFit Games improving his 19th finish to 1st overall. Another athlete who had a big jump from last year was Saxon Panchik, who finished 7th in our Quarterfinals scenario, compared to 21st last year. In addition to Kwant, BKG dropped by 10 places in the standings, while Roman Khrennikov fell 11 places in the standings.

Change in Position# of Athletes
Improved by 5 or more places8
Improved by less 5 places/stayed the same8
Worse by less than 5 places7
Worse by more than 5 places*7
*Includes Mat Fraser and Jacob Heppner who retired this offseason

In the Men’s field, the Test winners were:

Click here to see full results of the quarterfinals results limited and reordered to the 2020 Stage 1 Games Athletes


While it’s still early in the season, I think this is an interesting perspective on what to watch for this season.

Can Travis Mayer return to his 2019 form where he won the Granite Games? Fortunately the Semi-Finals start in a month, so we can get more clarity on who the athletes to watch this season are.

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