The holy grail of CrossFit is upon us.
The 2016 CrossFit Games are where 40 of the fittest men and women in the world will go head to head to compete for the ultimate title of the Fittest on Earth.
These athletes have poured their blood, sweat and tears into training over the past year. They’ve spent their weekends in the gym, counting macros and pushing their bodies to the limit.
Some are first-time Game competitors whereas others are old hats. All are thirsty for victory. Below, we’ve got the ultimate guide to athletes at the 2016 CrossFit Games
2016 CrossFit Games Male Individuals
1. Mathew Fraser
Strengths: Olympic Lifts | Weaknesses: Legless Rope Climbs
Heaviest Lift: 500-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @mathewfras
After two consecutive second place finishes, Mat Fraser is hungry for the gold.
And if Regionals would have been the Games, he would have gotten it. He outpaced current champ Ben Smith on every event except for Event 5, where Smith beat him by a matter of seconds.
Will this finally be Fraser’s year? We’ll know soon enough.
2. Noah Olsen
Strengths: Work Capacity | Weaknesses: Strength
Heaviest Lift: 490-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @nohlsen
The All-American Noah Ohlsen is preparing for his third go at the CrossFit Games. It’s hard not to love Noah — the Floridian’s laid back attitude is going to be right at home in Carson. And if that isn’t enough, there’s always Max, his dog, whom we’re all secretly obsessed with.
During his sophomore performance, Ohlsen said he put a lot of pressure on himself to perform well because of his great success his rookie year. As a result, he felt his performance was affected. He’s nothing if not consistent — he finished eighth at the Games in 2014 and 2015. However, he’s most looking forward to seeing how he performs this year now that, as he would say, he’s calmed down a little bit.
Although Ohlsen isn’t the strongest athlete on the floor, he’s a well-cultivated athlete who tends to do well wherever you put him.
3. Ben Smith
Strengths: Strength and Consistency | Weaknesses: Sandbags
Heaviest Lift: 540-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @bsmit13
Ben Smith is the definition of perseverance. After seven years of competing at the Games, he finally captured the title of Fittest Man on Earth last year.
His quiet ascent matches his background — when he made his first Regionals appearance, he had never even worked out alongside another person, much less competed. He trains on his own in his garage mainly and is known for always staying cool and collected.
This year, Smith is back and ready to play. After taking the number one spot at the Atlantic Regionals — along with three number 1 finishes and nothing lower than seventh — he’s preparing for his eighth trip to the Games, second to only Becca Voigt, who will be going for the ninth year in a row.
4. Spencer Hendel
Strengths: Finishing Strong | Weaknesses: Consistency
Heaviest Lift: 550-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @spec1414
Handel will making his sixth appearance at the Games after a fourth place finish at the East Regional.
Handel is the tallest athlete going to the Games, standing at 6’2″. He’s a full-time gym owner and coach with a great sense of humor. Last year was his highest career finish last year at fifth place after two years of not qualifying. There’s a good chance you’ll see him atop the podium this year.
5. Alex Vigneault
Strengths: Carrying Heavy Things Like Yolks | Weaknesses: Burpees
Heaviest Lift: 600-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @vigneaultalex
Alex Vigneault is an endearing athlete from East Canada preparing for his sophomore appearance at the Games.
He came in 11th last year and competed as a part of Canada’s team for the CrossFit Invitational. He’s brutishly strong, but barely made it to back to the Games, cinching fifth place at the East Regional. But, after a year of working on his weaknesses — especially handstand push ups, which kept him from qualifying in 2014 — we’re excited to see what Vigneault can do.
6. Patrick Vellner
Strengths: Gymnastics | Weaknesses: Swimming
Heaviest Lift: 525-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @pvellner
Patrick Vellner is preparing for his first trip to California, and he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The East Canadian athlete competed through Regionals with a torn bicep and still managed to snag a second place finish in Regional Nate — a workout that destroyed the upper bodies of athletes around the world — and a first place finish in Event 5 — running, GHDs and deadlifts.
Vellner is also a pretty interesting dude — he’s the only male Games athlete with an extensive background in gymnastics. He trained for 15 years as a competitive men’s artistic gymnast — think Cirque de Soleil — and can now dominate in CrossFit because of it.
7. Travis Mayer
Strengths: High Pain Threshold | Weaknesses: Muscle Ups
Heaviest Lift: 550-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @tmayer18
Travis Mayer and Sheila Barden share their love of wearing two different shoes for each competition for similar reasonings — Barden does it to keep herself from getting too serious and Mayer does it to showcase his funky personality.
Mayer will be making his third appearance in Carson this year after barely failing to qualify last year at the Atlantic Regional. This Georgia boy went neck and neck with crowd-favorite Noah Ohlsen in the Open, alternating between first and second place for the South East Region before grabbing third at the Atlantic Regional this year.
8. Jacob Anderson
Strengths: Heavy Squats | Weaknesses: GHD Sit Ups
Heaviest Lift: 545-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @cobyanderson
Jacob Anderson is the younger brother of Games athletes ZA and Alex Anderson. His father, Steve, is also a Master’s athlete, meaning he comes from a long line of excellent athletes. He will be traveling to California to compete for the first time ever.
The 23-year-old is strong as an ox. Although both ZA and Alex qualified for Regionals this year, only Alex earned a ticket back to the Games. The Anderson brothers will be the only set competing against each other this year. However, they aren’t the only siblings — Lauren and Garret Fisher will be competing alongside each other as well.
9. Gary Helmick
Strengths: Strict Muscle Ups | Weaknesses: Heavy Snatches
Heaviest Lift: 525-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @helmickcf
Helmick is an ex-pro baseball player who now owns his own box and competes alongside his wife, Alea, who is also making a trip to the Games this year.
Helmick qualified and competed in 2013 and then sat out the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to an injury. He’s a lighter athlete at only 180 pounds, creating the classic paradox of excelling on bodyweight movements but struggling with heavier weights. He and his wife are the only couple competing at this year’s Games in the individual division.
10. Josh Bridges
Strengths: Living in the Pain Cave | Weaknesses: Heavy Snatches
Social Media: @bridgesj3
After failing to qualify in 2015, Josh Bridges came to the California Regionals this year looking to make a statement — and make a statement he did. The foul-mouthed but good natured mustachio came crashing into first place after Day 1 and never really left.
Bridges has had a controversial season — he was penalized after his performance of deadlifts in 16.4 even after CrossFit HQ accepted and approved his video. This comes after struggling with heavy deadlifts at the Games in 2014. Any theories about a complex were put to rest though after Event 5 at Regionals, where took first place.
Interestingly enough, Bridges’ performance at Regionals was almost identical to podium-favorite Mat Fraser, meaning there’s a high probability that Bridges will end up on the podium, if not with the title.
11. Marcus Filly
Strengths: Consistency and Overhead Movements | Weaknesses: Heavy Snatches Heaviest Lift: 485-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @marcusfilly
Marcus Filly is an old-school cat who’s been competing and CrossFitting for the better part of ten years. This will be his third trip as an individual to the Games — he competed on teams at the Games in 2011 and 2012 and made his first individual appearance in 2013.
Filly stole everyone’s hearts this year when he burst into tears at the culmination of the California Regional, where he took third place. The ex-collegiate soccer player took 2015 off due his mom being diagnosed with cancer. A year later, Filly was overcome with emotion celebrating her birthday and losing his grandfather simultaneously — Filly was informed of his death right before Event 5.
12. Rasmus Wisbech Andersen
Strengths: Heavy Snatches | Weaknesses: Thrusters
Heaviest Lift: 485-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @rasmuswandersen
This is Andersen’s first year qualifying for the Games as an individual after an eighth place finish at the California Regionals last year.
This year, he finished second only to Josh Bridges after nabbing a first place finish in the snatch ladder. The European transplant moved from Denmark to SoCal several years ago under the premise of going to school, but his real goal was to train with CrossFit Invictus. He went on to realize that goal and competed on their Games team in 2014, when they took first place at the Games.
Anderson is also one-half of one of our favorite CrossFit power couples — he’s the beau of none of other than California dynamo Lauren Fisher.
13. Christian Lucero
Strengths: Agility and Speed
Heaviest Lift: 515-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @christianlucero1
Lucero began doing CrossFit to supplement his competitive fighting. However, he also has a background in martial arts and gymnastics and those talents were shining when he took first in Regional Nate at the California Regional. He finished the weekend in fourth place and is now preparing for his rookie debut at the Games.
14. Garret Fisher
Strengths: Overhead Squats
Social Media: @garretmfisher
Fisher has been fighting his way back to the Games since 2013, when he took fifth place during his rookie appearance. Brother to Lauren Fisher, Garret has has an impressive off season, finishing high in several big-name competitions against other Games athletes.
Fisher was consistent throughout the California Regionals, with a first place finish in Event 6. Is it finally time for a comeback?
15. Scott Panchik
Strengths: Mental Toughness and Hang Cleans | Weaknesses: Injuries
Social Media: @scottpanchik
Panchik is fresh from a first place finish at Central Regionals. Last year was his fourth appearance at the Games and he managed to finish in sixth despite rupturing his plantar fascia during the first event of the Games.
This year, Panchik is focused on staying healthy and injury-free. In his four Games appearances, he’s never finished out of the top ten and there’s no telling what he can do this year if he’s in tip top shape.
Read our exclusive interview with Scott Panchik during the 2016 Open here.
16. Alex Anderson
Strengths: Heavy Lifts
Heaviest Lift: 495-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @alexanderson29
Alex Anderson is the younger brother to past Games athlete ZA Anderson. His younger brother, Jacob Anderson, also qualified from the Atlantic Regional.
Alex recently took third in the Central Regional. This will be his sophomore trip to the Games where he finished last year in 13th. Anderson is a big dude at 5’10” and 210 pounds, so look for him to do well in events where they’re moving heavy weight. However, his size doesn’t limit him — at Regionals, he did moderately well in workouts with lots of bodyweight movements like Regional Nate and Event 6 (burpees and box jumps, among other things).
For our exclusive interview with Alex Anderson during the 2016 Open, click here.
17 . Jacob Heppner
Strengths: Running and High-Skills Gymnastics | Weaknesses: Heavy Snatches
Social Media: @jheppner66
Jacob Heppner grabbed a second place finish at the Central Regional behind Scott Panchik. This will be third appearance at the CrossFit Games — he took 18th place in 2014 and 10th in 2015.
The 26-year-old is a Georgia native isn’t a Mat Fraser — you won’t see him dominating every event. However, he smolders with steady placings across the leaderboard, which makes him a huge threat at the Games.
18. Zak Carchedi
Strengths: Speed and Engine | Weaknesses: Consistency
Heaviest Lift: 515-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @zacarchedi
Carchedi is Heppner’s training partner and will be making his rookie appearance in California next month.
He came in fourth place at the Central Regional, staying neck and neck with more well-known athletes like Jacob Heppner and Scott Panchik throughout the weekend. Although he started off Regionals weekend a little rough with a 12th, 10th and 12th place finish, he managed to redeem himself in Events 4, 5 and 6 where he snagged two second place finishes and an event win.
19. Albert-Dominic Larouche
Heaviest Lift: 545-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @larouchadm
Everyone was curious if Albert-Dominic Larouche would make it back to the Games after two years off from competing. The three-time Games athlete withdrew in 2014 due to an injury and wanting to focus more on his box, CrossFit ADM. However, he came back strong this year, finishing second in the East Regional behind only Mat Fraser.
Before he opened his own box, Larouche tied together several aspects of the CrossFit community — not only was he a superb athlete, but also a full time police officer in Canada. He’s known for his quiet and calm demeanor and it’ll be exciting to see what he’s able to do this year in Carson.
20. Sam Dancer
Strengths: Strongman Events
Heaviest Lift: 650-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @samdancing
Dancer will be making his rookie appearance at the Games. The Illinois-based athlete owns his own box — CrossFit QTown — and is known for his heart for the special needs community and his itty-bitty swimsuits.
Dancer is a big dude with an insane amount of strength. At 5’11” and 215 pounds, you can expect bodyweight movements to possibly slow him down a little bit, but he has the strength to power through them. If it comes down to a one-rep max event, you can bet that Dancer will finish well, if he doesn’t take the event win.
21. Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson
Strengths: Bodyweight Movements | Weaknesses:
Heaviest Lift: 520-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @bk_gudmundsson
This will be Gudmundsson’s third appearance in sunny California and this could be his year. He had a third place finish last year before coming back in May to win the Meridian Regional. Gumundsson dominated at Caja Magicá, finishing top five in every event except for one.
At only 185 pounds, Gumundsson is one of the lighter male athletes and he excels in all things bodyweight including muscle ups, pull ups, push ups, squats and more. He’s one of the rare breeds that balances out his bodyweight and gymnastic talents with the ability to lift weights with the best of them, boasting a 445-pound back squat and an almost 300-pound snatch. However, there’s a difference in the ability to move them and the ability to move them quickly — some of his worst events last year at the Games were Heavy DT and the one-rep max on the clean and jerk.
It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up at the end of the CrossFit Games in July.
22. Lukas Esslinger
Strengths: Heavy Snatches
Social Media: @esslingerlukas
This will be Esslinger’s freshman trip to the CrossFit Games after taking second place in the Meridian Regionals.
The Swiss athlete and full-time student declined his invitational to Regionals last week because his final exams fell on the same weekend. This year, he managed to balance the exams and the competition, an impressive feat within itself. Esslinger could end up pulling a Katrin Davidsdottir this year — he had no event wins throughout Regional weekend, but made a strong appearance in each event, finishing consistently in the top ten aside from Event 3.
23. Jonne Koski
Strengths: Pull Ups and Strict Movements | Weaknesses: Sprints
Social Media: @jonnekoski
Koski was a competitive swimmer in a past life, so look for him to lap other athletes during any beach or swimming-oriented events during his third appearance at the Games next month.
The Finnish athlete struggled last year at the Games with the snatch ladder and the sprint-oriented events, but managed to finish in ninth due to consistent placement on the leaderboard. Koski is a smaller athlete at 5’8″ and 185 pounds.
24. Adrian Mundwiler
Strengths: Gymnastic Movements | Weaknesses: Swimming
Social Media: @mountainman_cf
Adrian Mundwiler is in his rookie year — this was his first appearance at the Meridian Regionals and now, he will be taking on Carson after a fourth place finish.
Mundwiler was previously coached by John Singleton, the same coach behind Icelandic powerhouse Sara Sigmundsdottir. However, the Swedish athlete recently announced that he was breaking ties with Singleton.
25. Lukas Högberg
Strengths: Heavy Objects
Heaviest Lift: | Social Media: @hogberglukas
This will be Hogberg’s third appearance at the Games after a 23rd place finish in 2014 and a 30th place finish last year. He credits his low leaderboard placing last year with not being able to recovery properly after Murph, where he took 11th place after a first place finish in the sandbag event.
After Murph, his scores dropped drastically and he wasn’t able to finish better than 19th for the remainder of the weekend.
26. Rob Forte
Strengths: Consistency | Weaknesses: Bodyweight Movements
Heaviest Lift: 495-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @rob_forte
Forte is preparing for his sixth trip to the Games. Forte is slow and steady — he’s been a middle of the pack performer for the most part with his highest finish being in 2014 in 12th place, but consistency is key here, so don’t count him out just yet.
Forte is an ex-motorcross athlete out of Australia. This year, he took the Pacific Regionals for the third consecutive year, struggling only with Regional Nate and landing first place finishes in Event 4 and 6.
27. James Newbury
Strengths: Rope Climbs and Pull Ups
Heaviest Lift: 533-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @jamesnewbury
This is James Newbury’s first trip to Carson, California but he’s anything but a rookie. This year was his fifth appearance in the Pacific Regional.
Newbury struggled a little bit off the bat with the snatch ladder, but went on to finish first in Event 5 and 2nd in Event 3, locking down second place for the region.
28. Khan Porter
Strengths: Mental Capacity for Pain and Swimming| Weaknesses: Bench Press and Running | Heaviest Lift: 533.5-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @iamkhanporter
You may know Khan from one of his two Games performances or from his video of himself dancing to Beyonce that went viral earlier this year. Either way, he’s a cheeky dude who seems like a lot of fun.
Porter, an ex-surfer, has already publicly announced that this will be his last year competing in CrossFit. The 26-year-old Australian has had two middle-of-the-pack finishes and hopes to do better this year in California.
29. Zeke Grove
Strengths: Thrusters and Wall Balls | Weaknesses: Heavy Deadlifts
Heaviest Lift: 462-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @zekegrove
This will be Grove’s first appearance at the Games after battling it out in the Pacific Regionals for the past three years. He didn’t look at the Leaderboard throughout the weekend — luckily, his mental game paid off and he finished in fourth place with an event win in Event 3.
The newlywed has battled some injuries this past year — we for one hope he stays pain free through the end of July so we can see what this rookie is all about.
30. Mitchell Sinammon
Strengths: Consistency and Mental Strength | Weaknesses: Paddleboarding
Social Media: @mitchsinnamon
Sinnamon is one of three rookies coming out of the Pacific Region. His fifth place finish was good enough to earn him a golden ticket to sunny California and if his uber-consistent Regional finishes are any indicator, he will definitely be a threat to new and old competitors alike.
Sinnamon transferred to the individual division this year after a team appearance at the Games last year — he finished in 21st place with Team Schwartz CrossFit Melbourne.
Look for Sinnamon’s trademark calm, methodical movements at the Games. He may be a rookie, but his headspace is solid.
31. Roy Gamboa
Strengths: Obstacle Courses | Weaknesses: Swimming
Heaviest Lift: 525-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @cfroygamboa
Roy Gamboa is preparing for his third appearance at the CrossFit Games after finishing in 22nd last year.
The 29-year-old Texan starting training for CrossFit on his on less than a year before the 2013 Open, where he qualified for Regionals and went on to finish in 22nd place. This year, he took first place at the South Regional, chalking up three second place finishes throughout the weekend.
32. Travis Williams
Strengths: Long Workouts and Clean and Jerks | Weaknesses: Strict HSPU
Heaviest Lift: 565-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @travismfwilliams
Travis Williams is a classic CrossFit success story. He began CrossFit in 2011 almost 100 pounds overweight. Since then, he’s gone on to compete at Regionals three times and this year will be his sophomore trip to California.
Williams has a great engine — he took first in Event 3 at this year’s South Regionals and moments later, finish 2nd in Event 4 — something you just didn’t really see happening throughout the weekend due to fatigue. If he can string together victories like that at the Games, there’s a chance you’ll see him on the podium.
For our exclusive interview with Williams earlier this year, click here.
33. Logan Collins
Strengths: Strict Muscle Ups | Weaknesses: Moving Heavy Weight
Heaviest Lift: 500-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @logancollins3
Collins is a relative newbie in the CrossFit world. This will be his first appearance at the Games after taking third in what was only his second appearance at South Regionals. Oh yeah, and he’s only been doing CrossFit for a total of three years.
The Texan is an ex-collegiate baseball player, box owner and extreme lover of Oreos. He placed pretty consistently during Regionals in the top ten of every event besides for an extreme dip during the snatch ladder. He went on to edge out fan favorite EZ Muhammad out in Event 7 to claim his ticket to the Games.
34. Sean Sweeney
Strengths: High Pain Tolerance | Weaknesses: Double Unders
Heaviest Lift: 530-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @sweeney9586
Sweeney is a rodeo star turned CrossFitter based out of Nevada. He underwent surgery earlier this year for a torn labrum but recovered well enough to take fourth at the South Regional for his inaugural appearance at the CrossFit Games.
Sweeney is sort of like Sam Briggs in male form. He prides himself on being able to go to dark places and stay there for long periods of time. For example, he bombed the first two Regional events but placed top ten the rest of the weekend, not because he was so good at the movements but because he knew how to hurt to get there. It’ll definitely be interesting to see his mental grit up against some of the Games vets next month.
35. Joseph Guesnier
Heaviest Lift: 545-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @josephguesnier
Guesnier isn’t a true Games virgin although this will be his rookie appearance. Last year, he took 35th with Team CrossFit Lubbock before rejoining the individual ranks at the 2016 South Regionals.
Guesnier toed a fine line all weekend between qualifying and missing his chance at Carson, taking the fifth place literally by seconds in a few cases.
36. Brent Fikowski
Strengths: Burpee Box Jump Overs | Weaknesses: Handstand Push Ups
Heaviest Lift: 405-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @fikowski
Talk about a shot at redemption — Fikowski has missed the Games by less than two points for the past two years in a row. 2016 was a different story though — Fikowski came in first at the West Regional, never finishing lower than seventh in a single event.
And he didn’t just win. He won by over 70 points. His consistency and experience make him a menacing opponent come July.
37. Ben Stoneberg
Strengths: Box Jumps and Strength | Weaknesses: Rowing
Heaviest Lift: 500-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @bstoneberg
Stoneberg is back and ready for action after taking 2015 off due to a bulging disk issue. This will be his fourth trip to Carson.
Stoneberg is known for being strong, but as a veteran Games contender, don’t write him off when it comes to skill and gymnastic-based movements. He took second in West Regional this year, never finishing lower than ninth place with four finishes in the top five.
In 2014, Stoneberg finished ninth. With two years of training and recovery under his belt, it’s very possible Stoneberg could end up on the podium when all is said and done.
38. Lucas Parker
Strengths: Heavy Lifts and Pacing | Weaknesses: GHD Sit Ups
Heaviest Lift: 490-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @toqueluc
At only 26-years-old, Canadian Lucas Parker is preparing for his sixth trip to Carson, California.
Last year was his career high when he finished in 14th place. The bearded man is known for his ability to move some heavy weight and with five top five finishes at the West Regionals this year, Parker proved he’s tighter than ever.
39. Samuel Kwant
Heaviest Lift: 465-pound Deadlift | Social Media: @samuelkwant
Samuel Kwant is one of the younger athletes headed to Carson at only 20 years old. This will be his rookie debut — he made his first Regionals appearance in 2014, finished 19th in 2015 and claimed 4th at this year’s West Regionals.
40. Cole Sager
Strengths: Running | Weaknesses: Moving Heavy Weight Quickly
Heaviest Lift: 475-pound Back Squat | Social Media: @colesager35
Sager will be making his third trip back to the Games after an seventh place finish in 2015. The ex-collegiate football player has some insane talent — he qualified for Regionals in 2014 after just a few months of CrossFit and just two years later, is preparing for a pretty legitimate shot at the podium.
As a lifelong athlete, even Sager’s weaknesses are only slightly less than incredible. His ability to move heavy weight and excel at all things bodyweight combined with his ability to run like the wind come together to form the monstrosity that is Sager.