At the end of October 2020, Mat Fraser won his fifth consecutive CrossFit Games title. With the pandemic raging, the Games had been delayed multiple times, changing venues from the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, to a family ranch in Aromas, California. The competitive field of 40 men, 40 women and 40 teams that had been the norm for the past decade was reduced to just five men and five women with no spectators.
Yet, for Fraser, it was business as usual. He won a record 10 events and finished second in the other two by the smallest of margins. His points total of 1150 was almost double that of the second-place athlete. He also set records in career event wins and consecutive event wins and was the first person to lead the CrossFit Games from start to finish.
His fifth title passed Rich Froning Jr’s tally of four. The mantle of “the Fittest Man in History” had a new pair of rippling shoulders upon which to rest.
Then, at the beginning of February this year, Fraser announced his retirement. The king of CrossFit vacated the throne.
With the 2021 games well underway, here’s who Mat is backing to be the next CrossFit Games champion.
“One of the first people I talked to after I put up my retirement post was Pat Vellner. If he can pull it together, he is one of the best competitors out there. His last two years haven’t lined up the way he or other people expected it to. But he’s one of the very best.”
“I’d also take a lot of pleasure seeing [2020 CrossFit Games rookie of the year and third-place finisher] Justin Medeiros do well. After the podium ceremony, I gave him my phone number and told him to call me with any questions. He has a lot of potential.”
Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson
“I’ve always been a fan of Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson, too. He’s the full package. I’m excited to watch the athletes compete, take notes and see how they progress. It’ll be fun to be a fan and to make it to some events.”