Is Winning Semifinals a Good Predictor for the Games? Part 2

August 24, 20234 min read

Photo Credit: Rafael Paredes

It’s been a couple of weeks since the conclusion of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games. Meaning it’s as good a time as ever to look back at Games performance through the lens of performance at Semifinals.

Brian presented this question back in mid-June: Is Winning Semifinals a Good Predictor for the Games? Today, we dive deep into this question with specific focus on the results from this year’s Games.

The Semifinals Winners

In Brian’s original article, he stated that “the safe bets are that the winners of the North American and European Semifinals should be at worst in the top 15 at the Games this year, and more likely than not, within the top-ten.

2023 Semifinals Winners
CompetitionAthleteGames RankGames Rank Against Semis Field
AfricaMichelle Basnett37th1st of 1
AsiaSeher Kaya23rd1st of 2
Arthur Semenov39th2nd of 2
EuropeGabriela Migała4th2nd of 11
Lazar Đukić9th2nd of 10
North America EastEmma Cary8th3rd of 11
Jeffrey Adler1st1st of 12
North America WestAlex Gazan5th2nd of 10
Patrick Vellner2nd1st of 9
OceaniaEllie Turner31st2nd of 3
Jay Crouch8th1st of 3
South AmericaVictoria Campos38th2nd of 2
Kaique Cerveny37th2nd of 2

Brian went six for six with all of the winners being within the top ten. Of the remaining Semifinals winners, Oceania’s Jay Crouch was the only additional top-ten Games finisher.

Additionally, five of the semifinals winners were also the top finisher at the Games against their respective semifinal field. The Semifinals winner who placed lowest at the Games against their respective semifinal field was 8th Fittest Woman on Earth Emma Cary who was beaten by Emma Lawson (4th at Semis, 2nd at Games) and Alexis Raptis (5th at Semis, 6th at Games).

The Semifinals Top Two

Brian also stated that “we can project 4 or 5 of the top 6 (top 2 at each) finishers in North America and Europe to be in the top-ten on both the men’s and women’s side.

2023 Semifinals
CompetitionTop 2 MenGames FinishTop 2 WomenGames Finish
North America EastJeffrey Adler1stEmma Cary8th
Jayson Hopper31stDanielle Brandon9th
North America WestPatrick Vellner2ndAlex Gazan5th
Brent Fikowski4thKatrin Davidsdottir7th
EuropeLazar Đukić 9thGabriela Migała4th
Henrik Haapalainen24thAnnie Thorisdottir13th

Brian was correct again with four of the top six men and five of the top six women placing within the top-ten at the Games.

So Is Winning Semifinals a Good Predictor for the Games?

The short answer is yes. It’s not a perfect correlation, but it’s high. A high finish at the larger semifinals leads to a high finish at the Games. However, winning your Semifinal doesn’t mean you will be the best Games finisher from your Semifinal. So while some top athletes may not hold Semifinals in the same regard as the Games, the results from the last three years show that athletes should be focusing on as high of a Semifinals finish as they can get.

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Barclay Dale

A rising analyst in the CrossFit space, Barclay seeks to find data-driven answers to questions that athletes may not consider asking. He's passionate about spreading the CrossFit methodology and growing the sport through insights and analysis of athlete performance to increase the understanding and accessibility of CrossFit. Barclay started CrossFit in 2020 at CrossFit Gambit to complement his training as a collegiate swimmer. In 2022, he received his L1 and currently coaches at CrossFit Levo. Image Credit: @drawyourdagger


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