Ups & Downs of Training Camp Success: Which Camps are Sending More Athletes to the CrossFit Games in 2023?

I will preface this article by stating that this is only one metric available to us to compare coaches/training camps, one of many. Think about the impact a coach or training program can have on an athlete, be it someone with Games aspirations or just aiming to lift their grandkids up a few decades down the road as another metric, or, the measure of improvement in an individual or community as another, or, the overall members a training platform holds as another.

The point is, there’s many metrics but this one was pretty easy to compile and compare thanks to Mike from Known and Knowable and my own pointless knowledge of who’s who and who’s who’s coach. But, the people who will be pissed off by this article being written won’t read the article so maybe I’m wasting my time prefacing anything.

I took a look back at the Games roster of individuals from 2022 and the ones who are headed for Madison this year and compared what training programs have grown or shrank in their representation or who has emerged as a fresh entity for 2023. It’s worth noting that some coaches who had athletes last year have joined training camps, like Harry Palley joining HWPO and some athletes who were at the Games last year moved camp/coach like Amanda Barnhart, Roman Khrennikov and others.

Do you think that an athlete with a history of Games qualification moving coach gives them the credit for their success? Does the fact that the coach or training camp attracted a successful athlete discredit people who doubt that credit? We can argue both sides, but, we’ll leave that for the Instagram comments.

At first glance, a noticeable shift has been Mayhem dropping from 16 individuals to 10 a drop of a little over 40%. The Progrm dropped by 60% from 5 to 2. Misfit Athletics dropped by 75% from 4 to 1, Deka Comp dropped by half from 2 to 1. However, when you see some of the names left on the roster of these ‘depleted’ lists, there’s some potential for success with Fiebig, Vellner, Roman and others remaining. While, some like James Townsend’s TBO Training, Benedetto Salvo, Forged by Zeus and others disappeared from the line-up.

On the other side of the coin The Training Plan and Underdogs Athletics both doubled in representation growing from 2 to 4 with Jonne and Annie going individual for Jami’s Training Plan and Underdogs bringing some Aussie talent to the big show even with Ricky missing the season.

The new look Brute Strength jumped from 4 to 5 spots with Emma Cary’s return from injury and James Sprague and Fee Saghafi pocketing tickets to the Games this year too, replacing the outgoing Spencer Panchik and Roman Khrennikov who both qualified again this year, under different banners.

Mammoth Training Methods doubled up with Jack Farlow and Emma Lawson both qualifying this year after Emma made her Rookie bow last year.

Kriger Training held onto their duo of Games athletes from last year and 5 teams headed for Madison (I know we said no team talk but 5 is pretty nuts!).

No Shortcuts Training had one athlete, head coach Andre Houdet, at the Games last year and have three this year despite Andre going team (and making it to the Games), so, three fresh faces in Madison.

PRVN were down one of their spots with Tia’s absence from the competitive landscape and with Brooke and Saxon missing out, but they have added a team into the mix as well as a fresh face with Olivia Kerstetter.

JST Compete return to Madison with Dave Shorunke and Emma Tall bringing their representation from zero up to 2 and Spain entered the chat with Training Culture going from zero to three athletes.

Nick Fowler has left Brute Strength with Matt Torres and Micah Shoemaker pretty successfully taking the reins, but, Nick still has skin in the game with Arthur Semenov joining from Mayhem, after a brief stint leading up to the Games last year, and Spencer Panchik following him from his Brute days.

There’s also singularly represented coaches in Kyle Rolfe, Ben Smith’s Krypton Athletics, Only Training, Demantur, Mikko Salo’s The System, Kilo Trained, Rob Forte, Caroline Lambray and James Jowsey who have maintained their single foothold on Games spots over the two years.

Another thing worth noting is the prevalence of athletes coaching themselves to success. Jason Smith and Chandler Smith this year, Jonne Koski in 2022 and Arielle Loewen, the last two years, all programmed themselves to the Madison showcase.

There is also the emergence of first timer coaches/camps heading to the Games. QHP Training, Self Made Training Program, Kristof Horvath, Training Culture and others will send athletes into the Alliant Energy Center for the first time this year. It’s also worth mentioning Shelby Neal who heads to Madison for her rookie appearance follows the classes in her affiliate, 12th State CrossFit with some add-ons from her coach, Whitney Gelin.

The table below shows the number of athletes under each training program at last year’s CrossFit Games and where they are now. 

  2022 2023
Mayhem Athlete 16 10
HWPO 3 7
PRVN 6 5
Brute Strength 4 5
The Training Plan 2 4
Underdogs Athletics 2 4
Training Think Tank 3 3
No Shortcuts Training 1 3
Training Culture 0 3
The Progrm 5 2
CompTrain 3 2
Adam Neifer 2 2
Kriger Training 2 2
Mammoth Training Methods 1 2
Nick Fowler* 0 2
JST Compete 0 2
Misfit Athletics 4 1
Deka Comp 2 1
Dennis Dubois 2 0
Single Athlete or Self Coached 22 20

*previously with Brute Strength in 2022.

So, there you have it. Some have lost, some have gained, some have disappeared and some are making their debut. Does it mean anything? Does it mean nothing? Does it mean everything? I don’t know, I’m just trying to pass some of the lull before we kick off in Madison, if you need me, I’ll no doubt be replying to comments on the post that accompanied this article.

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