The time has arrived to give away our awards to the best of the best. We decided this year to add a new category – The 25 Best CrossFit Athletes of the year.
As you already know, we are huge fans of CrossFit and thought it would be great to thank all these athletes that work hard every day to make this sport better. We have used different metrics to decide who the award should go to. Without giving the exact point system we have used, the results were based on a mix of competition results, social media efforts, internet content quality, following base, social pictures quality and what we call “global renown”.
Like anything some people will agree with our list, others won’t! If you think you, or someone you know, should appear on this list, please comment their name of our Facebook Post. If we think that we indeed missed him and think he should be added to the list we will make a special mention and will be put on our priority list for articles to come.
Indeed, starting in March, we will have a new section on our website called “Beast of The Week”.
Every week, we will interview an amateur athlete that is making an impact in his sport. This will allow athletes that we rarely hear about to tell us what their motivations are and how they are working on a daily basis to make their respective sport better. If you would like to be featured in our “Best of the Week” section or again think your friend or coach should, Contact us here, and provide their name and Facebook profile/personal website so we can get in touch with them.
This is now the moment you have all been waiting for (drum roll!), here is the list of the
25 Best CrossFit Athletes
#25 Krystal Cantu
If you’ve been around the CrossFit community for a bit you know who Krystal Cantu his. For us, Krystal represents everything CrossFit should be. Despite losing half of her right arm in a car accident in 2013, she still practices her sports like nothing changed. She his still a beast that shows incredible love for her sport.
Krystal, you are not only one of this year’s best CrossFit Athletes, you’re also our Inspiration of the year. Keep up the good work, you’re a true inspiration for all CrossFit athletes!
#24 Mikko Salo
Mikko is originally from Finland and is a long time CrossFit athletes that still has a great impact on the sport across Europe. The community first heard of him when he won the game in 2009. He since then has been named “the fittest man on earth” – pretty great tag to have. Mikko is now 37 and focusing on training high-level athletes. If you take the time to follow him on Instagram and see everything that he does for the community you will quickly understand why he’s one of the best Crossfit Athletes of the year.
You can look at the amazing training system he recently developed here.
#23 Sam Dancer
Despite being 29, Sam Dancer could easily be named Rookie of The year after taking the 12th place in the Games. He’s not only a fierce and strong competitor (he deadlifted 655 pounds … hmmm) but he’s also one of the funniest athletes to follow on social medias. He always wears the craziest outfits.
#22 Zach Ruhl
Zach is proving everyday that “impossible” is a word that shouldn’t exist in any athlete vocabulary. What he does is simply astonishing. Zach lost his legs at birth but still decided to live his life to the fullest. He has probably worked harder than any other athletes to make his way to the 2016 Opens.
Another great inspiration to follow. Just like Krystal, Zach is redefining what we think is possible by helping push to another to limits we can’t even imagine.
A true champion.
#21 Madison Walker
At only 15, Madison Walker has taken the world of CrossFit by storm. She his now 16 and ranked 98th in the world. She has yet to be even near her full potential but still can snatch 110 lbs and clean and jerk 150 lbs. We wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the top 50 in 2017 and who knows, maybe take the crown in 2018. Only time will tell, but at that rhythm is seems that sky is literally the limit.
#20 Garret Fisher
2016 started on the rough path for Garret who finished 176th at the Open. At that point, many thought he had stop training properly and that he was on a down slope. Only to show all doubters, a couple months later at the Games that he still had it. Indeed, Garret managed to beat all the prognostics and finished 20th.
Of course, everyone remembers his rookie year when he finished 5th in 2013, but it seems like 2017 might be Garret’s come back year. We expect to see him in the top 10 at this year’s game.
Good Luck Garrett, show them who the boss is!
#19 – Nicholas Paladino
Paladino finished first in the “Teen 16-17” category in 2016. He proved to be a rising force in the games and we can only expect great thing from him going forward. The transition from teen to individual man is always hard but we think Nicholas is hope for the task. We’ve seen him perform at the Games and it seems like he could be the Connor McDavid of CrossFit (sorry for the Hockey reference – Ezekiel Elliot maybe?)
#18 Virginie Rousseau
Rousseau didn’t make the list because of her results at the games or at any regionals or anything like that. We taught Virginie deserved to make the list this year has she is still competing at a high level, in Europe mainly, at age 40. Which is pretty amazing in our head. I’m not even 30 yet and can’t seem to figure out how my body could keep up at her level for another 10+ years. Her place on the list of Best CrossFit Athletes is a mix of Social influence, hard word, dedication and overall engagement in the CrossFit community for a very long time. Results are not everything in this sport. Dedication and determination are also key factors.
#17 Alex Vigneault
Alex Vigneault finished 9th at this the 2016 Games, but I think he caught everyone by surprise when he did 585 lbs on the RANCH DEADLIFT LADDER. Don’t get me wrong, Vigneault looks in amazing shape but at 5’11”, 205pds, you wouldn’t think a guy of his size, with his speed, could pull out something like that. Alex made the list due to his global performances this year, and this amazing accomplishment of Deadlifting 585lbs on the ranch ladder.
#16 Jennifer Smith
Jennifer made the list due to her insane dedication. Despite a partially torn ligament she still managed to finish the miles run under 55 minutes. Despite the clear pain in her face she managed to finish. Despite being officially credited with a CAP she finished 36th overall.
Her dedication, her hard work, and her resilience are the main factors that made us choose Jennifer has one of the best CrossFit athletes of the year.
#15 Kara Webb
This young veteran is definitely an athlete on the rise worth watching. After finishing 19th in 2012 at only 21, she has kept surpassing herself to get her second best career results at the games in 2016. Despite moving back form 5th to 7th, Kara still has all the tools to keep rising and hopefully reach the podium. We expect her to finish first in the Pacific regional for the third year in a row. Plus, for it’s worth, she has one of the nicest Instagram accounts to follow.
#14 David Hippensteel
What can be said abut David that hasn’t been said before. David has been around for quite some times. He took home the crown in 2016 in the master 60+ category.
After coming in short in the 55-59 category, it seems that he his now stronger and more focus than ever. He has proven this year that he his now the man to beat in his category.
You look at him and it just seems like his muscles are made of rock … or Steel ! (yes we went there ah!)
#13 Jonne Koski
So Jonne is a special case in this list, we had high expectations coming into the games knowing how good he is in the water. We thought he would get out of the ocean first and ride along for the rest of the games finishing in the top-5. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned since Koski had to withdraw right after the swim
He tweeted: “WELL 2016 CROSSFIT GAMES DIDN’T GO AS I HOPED – UNFORTUNATELY, I HAD TO WITHDRAW FROM THE COMPETITION YESTERDAY DUE TO A BACK INJURY.”
Still, we thought that his efforts during the past year, and from what he shown during the games, he deserved a spot on the list of Best CrossFit Athletes of the Year. He’s only 22 and has yet to peak. If his back can hold the beating, we could easily see him cause a huge surprise this year.
#12 Ben Stoneberg
Ben Stoneberg (aka IceBerg aka CrossFit Goldberg) was finally back on track in 2016. He has been in the past 5 years one of the most consistent athletes in the Regionals. Truthfully we expected a little bit more at the game after his 2015 finish but nonetheless, he has shown amazing strength and has simply dominated in the separator workout.
#11 Kari Pearce
2016 was a breakout year for Kari Pearce aka The Fierce (we just invented that, sorry lol). After an above average result in 2015 finishing 21st, she caught the world by surprise this year finishing 5th at the games. She has had an amazing year and has proven that prognostics in CrossFit shouldn’t exist. She’s an athlete on the rise that you should all watch for.
#10 Alisson Weiss
Alisson recently turned 18 and is now eligible to compete in the individual women games. She caught the whole by suprise in 2015 when she finished 3rd in the “Teenage Girls 16-17” Category. Expectations were high this year and she delivered taking the crown home. We can’t wait to see her progress in the individual category and see how her great results in the teen league will translate in the big league.
#9 Zak Carchedi
Zak is a Rookie who was competing in his first games this year and didn’t wait to make a great impression. Everyone noticed who this kid from Kansas was when he finished the Peg Board in an astonishing time of 5:37. If you don’t know what this means , Zak managed to finished 19 seconds before the almighty Mat Fraser. Despite finishing 23rd overall at the games, we tought that this impressive performance mixed with his proven abilities to finish in the top-10 this year were enough to give him the #9 position.
#8 Sam Briggs
Sam Briggs (aka Biceps Like Briggs) has had an amazing story this year, has she barely was able to make it to the game due a problem with her visa. Unfortunatly for other ahtletes she finally made it and killed it finishing fourth in the individual women category. After winning in 2013, and finishing 4th in ’15 and ’16, we’re sure that she putting in all the work necessary to get back on the podium this year.
# 7 Michele Letendre
We wrote about Deka Crossfit Last year in one of our article listing all the best CrossFit gyms in North America. It’s at that moment that we found out who Michèle Letendre was. We have since been following her career and her Instagram and we have to say that she can’t stop to impress us.
She is a 6 time CrossFit game veteran from Canada, and his currently ranked #5 worldwide. At age 30, she is now in her prime, could 2017 be her year?
#6 Matt Fraser
Matt Fraser the Games with the largest margin in history, which is quite an accomplishment. At some point, his results were so amazing that some people started questioning if Fraser had used Steroids. In our opinion, this is the greatest compliment you can make to an athlete. CrossFit athletes are probably the hardest working athletes in the world. Show respect to the champ!
#5 Brent Fikowski
Big Brent proved to everyone that he now belongs in the elite of this sport and should be considered when discussing who will win this year’s game. After finishing 130th in 2013 at the Australian Open, he managed to finish 4th in the games in 2016. What is even more amazing is that he finished 1st in four different categories. If he can work is technique on the Squat Pyramid he might have chances to beat Froling in 2017.
#4 – Camille Leblanc-Bazinet
Camille Leblanc is a true veteran. In 2016 she competed in her 6th Games and took the 21st place. She has been consistently ranking in the top 10 for the past 5 years at the Opens and has shown no sign of slowing down. After coming short in the last three years, we think that this year might be the year she finally gets back on the podium. She finished 1st in the individual women category at the 2014 games. She’s a true warrior that will certainly make her presence felt this year. That’s why she ranks has #4 on the list of Best CrossFit Athletes of the Year and #1 Canadian Crossfit Athlete of the year.
#3 – Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir
At only 23, Katrin is now an established star in the world of CrossFit. She was able, this year, to join history when winning her second CrossFit Game (joining Annie Thorisdottir and Richard Fronning Jr. in that category.)
We wouldn’t be surprised to see her become to first ever athlete to win 3 titles. She’s got all the necessary tools in her bag to make history.
#2- Josh Bridge
I think at this point we’re all familiar with the STASH! If you don’t know this good dude yet, it’s time you start getting more involve in the community and start remembering the name. He’s slowly becoming CrossFit’s number one poster boy.
#1 – Richard Froning Jr.
The man, the myth, the legend.
Richard is simply a CrossFit machine. Winner of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Crossfit Games, he clearly helped shape the sports as we know it today. Despite not winning in 2016, Froning deserve this award for his performances, his work ethic, his ability to share tricks and tips and the internet and most of all for his implication in the CrossFit community.
We bow our hats to you, Mr. Froning, you’re the 2016 W&S Best CrossFit Athletes of the year.
Congratulation to all athletes who made the list and all other athletes working hard every day to better themselves. This sport is in such good shape due to all of you.
Always, remember that CrossFit is not a competition but more a challenge against yourself. A challenge to push your limits and make sure you become, every day, the best version of yourself.
…. Unless you’re competing in the games, then it’s definitely a competition!