Mat Fraser started the 2016 CrossFit Games with a surprising event win in the 7k trail run at the Ranch in Aromas, California. Not known for his running prowess or endurance, Fraser started the trail run near the front of the pack, but moved to the front once they reached the hills. Fraser slowly separated himself from the pack and Josh Bridges in 2nd place. The gap never shrank and Fraser cruised to the finish line in 1st place with a time of 34:10, over a minute faster than Bridges.
The next event, the Ranch Deadlift Ladder, would prove to be Fraser’s worst performance. Still lifting an admirable 505-pounds, Fraser tied 2015 champion, Ben Smith, for 23rd. This would be the only time throughout the 15 events that Fraser would not be atop the overall leaderboard. Alex Vigneault was the only other male athlete to have the overall lead following a 6th place 7k trail run and a 2nd place on the deadlift with a 585-pound successful lift.
Fraser would only be in 2nd place for a very brief time. He regained the overall lead after taking 2nd in the Ranch Mini Chipper. From there, Fraser would never look back. A 6th place finish in the Ocean Swim maintained Fraser’s lead, but Fikowski chipped away at the gap with a 2nd place finish. Fikowski trailed Fraser by only 14 points heading into the action on Friday at the StubHub Center.
This would be as close as it would get. Fraser took 2nd in Murph for the second year in a row, followed that up with 2nd place in the Squat Clean Pyramid and rounded out the day with another 2nd place finish in Double DT. Fraser scored an astonishing 282 points on Friday. Scott Panchik had the second highest point total on Friday with 228 points. Fraser’s lead at the end of Friday had grown to 142 points.
Saturday would be no different. While Fraser did no better than 4th (The Separator), he finished all three events in the top 10 and increased his lead to 160 points ahead of Ben Smith. Games rookie, Patrick Vellner, ended Saturday in 3rd place followed by Brent Fikowski, another Games rookie.
With a huge leading going into Sunday morning, Fraser just had to avoid disaster. He didn’t just avoid disaster, he grabbed the bull by the horns and showed everyone he was the Fittest Man on Earth. Fraser took 2nd place in the handstand walk and then in one of the more impressive finishes of the Games, Fraser sprinted past the rest of the field on the final stretch of the Suicide Sprint to win the final heat and take 2nd in the event.
Fraser entered the StubHub Tennis Center Sunday afternoon only needing to finish in order to win the 2016 CrossFit Games and become the Fittest Man on Earth. He ended up taking 10th in the event. With the Games locked up, Fraser had one last event, Redemption. With a fitting title, Fraser turned on the afterburners on the set of 15 thrusters to take the lead in his heat. After one final pegboard ascent and 9 more thrusters, Fraser crossed the finish line 1st in his heat and 2nd overall.
Fraser’s performance at the 2016 CrossFit Games was the most dominating of any individual athlete in history. Fraser beat Smith in 2nd place by 197 points. The biggest margin of victory prior to this was Froning’s 114-point victory over Matt Chan in 2012 (slightly different points system).
1. Mathew Fraser – 1,096 ($275,000)
2. Ben Smith – 899 ($90,000)
3. Patrick Vellner – 863 ($60,000)
4. Brent Fikowski – 861 ($40,000)
5. Cole Sager – 803 ($25,000)
6. Scott Panchik – 800 ($23,000)
7. Jacob Heppner – 797 ($21,000)
8. Bjorgvin Gudmundsson – 735 ($19,000)
9. Alex Vigneault – 707 ($17,000)
10. Travis Mayer – 702 ($15,000)
11. Alex Anderson – 696 ($14,000)
12. Marcus Filly – 683 ($13,000)
13. Josh Bridges – 678 ($12,000)
14. Lukas Hogberg – 640 ($11,000)
15. Noah Ohlsen – 608 ($10,000)
16. Samuel Kwant – 588 ($9,000)
17. Rob Forte – 573 ($8,000)
18. Christian Lucero – 569 ($7,000)
19. Travis Williams – 535 ($6,000)
20. Garret Fisher – 530 ($5,000)