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UPDATE 8/5/19: After a rocky 3rd day of competing, Mat Fraser stormed back to win his 4th consecutive CrossFit Games. It was an impressive comeback that saw him put everything on the table on day 4. Congratulations! Also, of equal importance, is how Tia-Clair Toomey won her 3rd consecutive CrossFit Games for the women’s division. In one event, the Swim Paddle, she placed #1 for both men AND women! Lastly, it was Rich Froning who lead CrossFit Mayhem Freedom to their 4th title in the team division. Truly, it was another year of reigning champions.

It’s that time of year again when athletes compete in various events to claim the title of fittest in the world. Competitors will have a tough time dethroning 3-time CrossFit Games Champion Mat Fraser. After the first day’s events, the reigning champ is 24 points ahead of 2nd place fellow American Noah Ohlsen. What’s truly amazing is that both of these gentlemen are 5’7″, the same height as me. That proves the point that one does not have to be a giant mound of mass to find success.

CrossFit Games 2019 - Day 1 Leaderboard
Nearly identical statistics in age, height, and weight, Mat Fraser and Noah Ohlsen are on a collision course for the top spot.

Kettlebell fans and enthusiasts certainly remember Mat’s performance at the “Fibonacci” event in the 2018 CrossFit Games. Once again, it was Ohlsen and Fraser claiming the top two spots for that event. The results? Mat won by an astounding 376 points.

Watching the video of this event from last year, it’s clear just how much of an exhaustive grind these athletes must endure. The handstand push-ups are no walk in the park, but then seeing these competitors do deadlifts with 203 lb. kettlebells in each hand really shows off some amazing feats of strength.

As if that wasn’t enough, the last leg of the Fibonacci requires the athletes to lunge 89 feet with two 53 lb. kettlebells overhead. Seriously, watch the video, if you want to appreciate true athletic greatness.

More Kettlebell Events to Come in 2019?

It’s great to see the kettlebell get some exposure in mainstream competitions. I doubt we’ll see the CrossFit (American) Swing make an appearance in these games, but what about other kettlebell exercises? Well, it just so happens that the individual Second Cut event features kettlebells too!

This particular event took place on Thursday as well and consisted of 3 stages – the 800-m row, 66 kettlebell shoulder-to-overheads, and 132-foot handstand walk. Honestly, I’ve never heard of the term shoulder-to-overheads before but that just looks like your standard push-press exercise. Thankfully, with that many reps, the weights used were two 16 kg. (35 lb.) kettlebells for the men and two 12 kg. (26 lb.) for the women. Finally, an event that features a kettlebell at my strength level! Take a look at the video below.

As you can see, that’s a lot of athletes competing at once! If you’re wondering where Mat Fraser is, he is in another wave of competitors. Watch him start off at the kettlebell stage by clicking here. Notice how there are different sections of 22, 44, and 66 reps for the presses as the field advances? I imagine it’s much more difficult than it looks.

The handstand walk to the finish line is the real showstopper of the event. No surprises here, Mat again takes the win, albeit by a slim margin of a few seconds with a total time of 5:37.02. It’s only the first day and he is absolutely crushing it!

So what do the future events have in store? That remains to be seen. If kettlebells are involved, my money is on Mat. One thing is for sure, with the rising popularity of kettlebells as a fitness tool, we’re starting to see them incorporated more often in high-stakes competitions.

Ryan Faucher

I'm a web designer and kettlebell enthusiast on a quest to lose fat, build muscles and live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising with kettlebells in conjunction with dieting is the most effective and efficient way to reach this goal. If you have the will and motivation, there is no reason you can't do the same.
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