What It Takes to Make the Top 10 at the CrossFit Games

Brent Fikowski during the Ranch Mini Chipper at the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games
©2016 CrossFit Inc. Used with permission from CrossFit Inc.

We are just seven days away and those Reebok Fantasy Pick ‘Em Brackets aren’t going to fill themselves out. With $1 million on the line, half the battle is just figuring out which athletes are going to make the top 10.

To help you out, we have looked back at last year’s leaderboard to draw some insights into what it takes to finish inside the top 10.

Minimum Points Needed

In 2016, there were 15 scored events for a total possible score of 1,500 points (if an athlete won every event). Based on Reebok’s tiebreaker and the scheduled events listed on the CrossFit Games app, it looks like we will have the same number of points available.

If that’s true, an athlete will need to score somewhere in the low 700’s to be in contention for a top 10 finish. In 2016, Anna Tunnicliffe finished in 10th with 738 points and Travis Mayer had 702 points on the men’s side.

To get that many points, an athlete needs approximately 50 points per event, or 15th in every event. But with the Games scoring giving more weight to a “home run” performance, it is much more critical to get a few top 3 finishes versus trying to hang inside the top 15 on every event.

This leads us to…

Win an Event

Winning an event puts an athlete in a really good position to crack the top 10. That was especially true on the women’s side. Of the 15 events, 13 event wins came from a woman in the top 10. The only event wins by someone outside the top 10 was Annie Thorisdottir in the Ranch Mini Chipper and Alexis Johnson in the Redemption, the final event.

Thorisdottir finished 13th. For Johnson, she finished 31st with 413 points so that 100 points accounted for almost 1/4 of her points all weekend.

On the men’s side the event wins were a bit more distributed as only seven event wins came from someone who finished in the top 10. Of course four of those seven wins came from one person, Brent Fikowski.

So while it was not as important on the men’s side, it does not change the fact that one event win is huge when it gives you 13% of the points needed to crack the top 10. But as we saw on the men’s side, you need an event win and…


Brent Fikowski would be the first to admit that he was too inconsistent last year. Four event wins should get you on the podium, but only if you don’t have four events 28th or worse.

Fikowski earned 400 points in his four event victories, but only 60 points in those bottom four events. So over those four events, he averaged 57.5 points per event. He ended the week at 861 points, or an average of 57.4 points. Just one better event and Fikowski is definitely on the podium and likely in second place.

Travis Mayer, who finished 10th, did not have an event finish better than 7th (Climbing Snail and 100%), but he also only had one event worse than 28th (30th in the Handstand Walk). Mayer was consistently in the middle of the pack, but when all was said an done he was in the top 10.

Don’t Bomb

The Games scoring is different than Regionals scoring and is more harsh for a really low finish. 40th place at the Games gets you ZERO points. At Regionals, you get 17 points.

Fikowski and Cole Sager were the only two male athletes with a finish worse than 35th. Fikowski took 39th in the Squat Clean Pyramid, but as we mentioned earlier his four event wins helped offset this. Sager took 40th in the Ranch Deadlift Ladder. He offset that by an event win on The Separator and with several top 3 event finishes.

On the women’s side, there were a few more event bombs than the men. However, Brooke Wells was the one athlete with multiple bottom 5 events. Wells finished 40th in the Ranch Trail Run, but quickly offset that with a win on the Ranch Deadlift Ladder. She also took 38th on Redemption, but she also had three top 5 finishes (not including her event win) and four more top 10 finishes. You can afford a couple event bombs if over half over your events are top 10 finishes.

Be a Strong Runner

The CrossFit Open is not able to test running. Regionals try to test running on a TrueForm or Air Assault Runner, but it is generally one event and it’s not a long distance.

At the Games last year, four events were running dominant – Ranch Trail Run, Murph, Climbing Snail, Suicide Sprint. If an athlete can dominate on the runs, there are plenty of opportunities to earn a lot of points. That’s why Sam Briggs is always near the top.

Some athletes can overcome the run by dominating a barbell or strength event, but more emphasis tends to be placed on running or have to move longer distances between movements at the Games.

We already know there will be at least two endurance-based events in the Run-Swim-Run and Bike events and there will likely be at least one more in North Park that requires significant distance between transitions.

Keep an eye on these four elements as you watch the Games next week.