It’s not even been 24 hours since Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey were crowned the 2017 CrossFit Games’ Fittest on Earth, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking ahead at 2018.
The 2017 CrossFit Games had some athletes step up and make a splash in Madison – Ricky Garard, Tennil Reed-Beuerlein and Jamie Greene to name a few.
So with 360 days (give or take a few) until the start of the 2018 Games, here are our way too early predictions.
1. Mat Fraser
What does the man who has obliterated his competition the past two years do the day after winning the CrossFit Games? Start training for 2018.
Fraser is on a different level. There is no reason to think that he will not be as good or better as he goes for the 3-peat next year. Barring an injury, Fraser is the hands down favorite heading into next year.
2. Ricky Garard
The rookie from Australia was more than impressive in his CrossFit Games debut. After narrowly missing the Games last year, Garard more than made up for it in Madison.
Garard has the right skill set to succeed on the biggest stage. He won two events, Cyclocross and the Madison Triplet, both of which are endurance-based events. At the Games this will give him 2-3 events in his wheelhouse each year.
His two worst finishes were the Sprint O-Course (26th) and Heavy 17.5 (32nd). If he can shore up some of his weaknesses, the 23-year-old Australian could be making a run for the podium next year and for the years to come.
3. Brent Fikowski
Brent Fikowski avenged last year and made it to the podium in 2017. It’s clear that Fikowski worked on his weaknesses as witnessed by only one finish worse than 30th. He finished 31st in the Triple G Chipper (not an event made for a 6’2″, 215-pound guy).
Fikowski racked up two more event wins bringing his CrossFit Games win total to six. The ability to win events will help him rack up points and offset a bad finish or two.
He will need to figure out a way to improve on those gymnastics-based events to contend for the top spot, but if he does nothing else differently from last year Fikowski will still be in contention for another podium finish.
1. Tia-Clair Toomey
Tia-Clair Toomey finally did it. She overcame the mental side of the sport and began believing in herself this year and it showed. Winning the Games and how she did it – stepping up and doing what she needed on the final event – will give her even more confidence when she begins to prepare for the 2018 CrossFit Games season.
Out of 13 events, Toomey only had four events where she finished outside the top 10. Her worst finish was 14th on the 2223 Intervals. Not even Mat Fraser can top that. His worst event finish was 20th.
There’s no reason to believe that Toomey won’t be in the same position next year. And if she is, she can draw on this year’s battle to push her to the top once again.
2. Tennil Reed-Beuerlein
Tennil Reed-Beuerlein was the Most Improved athlete of the 2017 CrossFit Games. Reed-Beuerlein finished 6th this year compared to last year’s 11th place finish. Last year, she came out really strong at the Ranch, but as the competition progressed she began to fade.
With a full year of training, Reed-Beuerlein gained the confidence and stamina to compete all fours days. She only had two events where she finished outside the top 20, Heavy 17.5 and 2223 Intervals. Both of those events required high energy output and muscular endurance. If she can improve on those over the next 360 days, she will be able to stay in the top 3 throughout the weekend.
3. Jamie Greene
After last year when Jamie Greene went team, everyone was excited to see what she could do on the biggest stage against the best in the world in 2017. Greene, the first female athlete to qualify out of the Africa region since the Super Regional format, did not disappoint.
Greene finished 8th, the best finish among the female rookie class. She won an event, Amanda .45, and hovered around the top 10 all week. Greene struggled on the strength events and the unique Games-style events such as Strongman’s Fear and Assault Banger.
She can compete with anyone on the gymnastics-based events so if she focuses on improving her overall strength and can better prepare for the unknown odd events at the Games, Greene has a shot at taking that 3rd podium spot.