How Mathew Fraser’s Fourth Victory Proves The CrossFit Games Are Better Than Ever
He did it.
After twelve Events and several cuts; he did it.
It was a dog fight, and he had to play catch-up for a while, but Mathew Fraser did what only one other human on the planet has done before; win The CrossFit Games four consecutive times.
Fraser now treads on hallowed ground. Is it possible to sneak up on a legacy and stare it in the face? Yes, it is. Fraser is doing it. What comes next, be it breaking the record or simply sharing it, is up to him.
What comes next for CrossFit, however, is anyone’s guess, as usual. But one thing is for sure; The CrossFit Games aren’t just alive and well, they’re better than ever. And Fraser’s fourth victory proves that.
Soon after the 2018 CrossFit Games season concluded, CrossFit announced a series of changes which sent ripples through the community; No more regionals. No more CrossFit broadcast. No more Facebook or Instagram.
Athletes, fans, sponsors, and affiliates were stunned. Here was a sport many of us helped build, and love dearly, seeming thrown to the wayside. Many lost faith.
Trolls and critics began lobbing doubt over the CrossFit fence. Fans began to wonder, without any media left to speak of, how they would get their Games fix. And without media, how does CrossFit accomplish it’s third most important priority: “tell the story.”
Not only that, but there didn’t seem to be anything replacing what we’d lost. Sure there were Sanctionals; but come on? Where’s the regional panache? The typical season we all know and love? The Castro Charm?
By the time The 2019 Games arrived, most had given up. We would tune in for morbid curiosity, and little else. Goliath had fallen. We’re just here for the beheading. And the comments.
We were wrong.
Arguably, The 2019 CrossFit Games were the best Games to date.
The live stream was pristine. The Events were better and brighter than ever. And even the massive changes were all but forgotten.
Many athletes and fans won’t tell it that way, though. Especially the ones who got cut or saw their favorite athlete leave the field early. But if there was ever talk of CrossFit playing favorites with specific individuals, or Games programming favoring a particular brand of athlete, that’s gone for good. It’s what we should’ve expected all along. After all, it was CrossFit founder and CEO, Coach Greg Glassman, who said CrossFit finds a weakness and exploits it. And no better is that reiterated than in the wealth of fit athletes who became spectators early on.
Were there too few tests to make those hard decisions? No.
It might suck for athletes and their sponsors that they didn’t get ample screen time, but The CrossFit Games aren’t about sponsors and feelings. The Games are about fitness. And if there’s a hole in yours; game over. It’s nothing personal. It’s the facts.
Did the order of the Events matter? No.
The CrossFit Games are designed to crown the single fittest human on earth. Not the second, fifth, or 50th. Those are artificial creations we keep around for financial reasons — more generous participation trophies than anything. Like the Coliseum of old, second place is just the last to die.
If Fraser doesn’t make it to The 2019 CrossFit Games, or if he’s cut after one Event, or even on the second day, then history alone says we need to look at the qualification process. But none of that happened. We had the entire journey to The Games turned upside down. We experienced the most significant and boldest cuts we could imagine. We even saw more athletes take the field than ever before.
To hammer home the legitimacy of the new CrossFit Games format once more, Tia-Clair Toomey, and team Mayhem Freedom, also successfully defended their titles. Now does that mean CrossFit won’t tinker with the way things are? Not at all. But that doesn’t mean they’re flawed. That just means CrossFit is a company full of perfectionists who genuinely love what they do, and even when something isn’t broken, they strive to make it better.
If something doesn’t work in the world of The CrossFit Games, it gets amputated. Most fans — most humans for that matter — simply can’t understand such cold standards. But you can’t argue with the facts. And this year, more than any other, facts are precisely what we got. After the toughest tests to date, the single fittest man, woman, and team have been crowned. And The CrossFit Games are better than ever.