Strength of Field Ratings For Ten Men and Nine Women Over the Last Eight Years 

April 16, 202419 min read

Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye Photography

One of the projects we’ve been exploring at B.Friendly Stats is an alternative way to quantify both strength of field and athlete performance in a more meaningful way than the “levels” system or the current world wide ranking. Those systems are limited and flawed and are place holders waiting for something more legitimate and accurate to come along. 

I’ve once again leaned on the database Barclay Dale has created over the past several years to run a study of what something comparable to a “Madden Rating” would look like for the top athletes in the sport over the past several years. 

What is the “Strength of Field” Rating System?

It’s a system which has been modeled after the Madden NFL video games over the last couple of decades that ranks players on a 0 to 99 point system. The best player rating possible is 99 and it is a sliding scale down from there. 

In terms of CrossFit, we are assessing athlete’s performance based on two factors:

  • How well did they place in the competition?
  • How strong of a field did they compete against? 

Who Is in Our Study?

We’ve selected athletes who have had the most consistent high level success over the last eight years. Not all of them have competed every year, but it actually serves as a better case study that way than if they all had. 

The 10 men selected are: 

  • Ben Smith
  • Björgvin Karl Gudmundsson
  • Brent Fikowski
  • Jeffery Adler
  • Justin Medeiros
  • Mathew Fraser
  • Noah Ohlsen
  • Patrick Vellner
  • Ricky Garard
  • Roman Khrennikov

The 9 women selected are:

  • Amanda Barnhart
  • Annie Thorisdottir
  • Brooke Wells
  • Kara Saunders
  • Kari Pearce
  • Katrin Davidsdottir
  • Kristin Holte
  • Laura Horvath
  • Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr

For How Long, and Which Competitions Count?

Oftentimes when we do studies like this we do try to keep some of the suggested or used elements CrossFit applies in their systems. In this case, that’s the two-year rolling window. 

However, rather than limit it to performances within the CrossFit Games season, we extrapolate to include off-season competitions which offer a more complete picture of athlete’s performances. 

Our study starts with the Open in 2016 and continues through the 2023/2024 off-season events we’ve had so far.


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AthleteBen SmithBjörgvin Karl GuðmundssonBrent FikowskiJeffrey AdlerJustin MedeirosMathew FraserNoah OhlsenPatrick VellnerRicky GarardRoman Khrennikov
Open 201698968600989982780
Regionals 201698968800989986850
Games 201699979500999894830
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Regionals 201799979571819998958971
Games 201799989869799999988769
Off-Season 2017/201899989869799998988769
Open 201899989876819998988676
Regionals 201899989882869998988384
Games 201898989880849998988182
Off-Season 2018/201998989879849998987782
Open 201997989881859998987784
Sanctionals 20199597968686999798088
Games 20199497969087999798089
Off-Season 2019/20209496969088999798089
Open 20209496969088999798089
Sanctionals 20209398959189979799091
Games 20208998949695999999094
Off-Season 2020/20218998949695999999094
Open 20219098959695999999094
Quarterfinals 20219198959695989999094
Semifinals 20219298969796959998095
Games 20218798979798919999093
Off-Season 2021/202286989398988794998393
Open 202286989398988694998493
Quarterfinals 202287989398998695998593
Semifinals 202288989498998395998892
Games 20228597959899095999495
Off-Season 2022/20238197939899094989496
Open 20238297949899094989496
Quarterfinals 20238397949899095989496
Semifinals 20238097959899095999397
Games 20237897969998095999098
Off-Season 2023/20247395979993095999398

Ben Smith

Enters this study as the reigning Fittest Man on Earth (2015) with a SoF rating of 98. That rating bumps up to 99 following his second place finish at the Games in 2016 (which replaced his 7th place from 2014). He would maintain a rating of 99 until Regionals 2018 and then slowly sees a drop off as his best competition performances are replaced. He has continued to compete in some capacity all the way up to the present and currently has a rating of 73.

Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson

At the time of the 2016 Open BKG was coming off a third place finish at the 2015 Games and had elevated to a 96 on the rating system. He continued to climb over the next two seasons, reaching a 98 rating for the first time following the Games in 2017. He has had two long stints at 98 but never achieved a rating of 99. This past off-season his rating dropped to 95, his lowest since the beginning of this study. The range of three points across the duration of this study is the lowest range of any male athlete featured here.

Brent Fikowski

One of the more tumultuous lines on the graph, Fikowski was a rookie at the 2016 CrossFit Games and thus enters the chart at a rating of 86. He made a steep climb over the next two years and by the end of the 2017 Games had a rating of 98. While 98 is the highest rating he ever had, and he dipped as low as 93 during the 2021/2022 season, his rating is currently all the way back up to 97 demonstrating a very impressive ability to re-find an elite level of fitness in his early 30s. 

Jeffrey Adler

The current Fittest Man on Earth finally did attain the elusive 99 rating after his win at the 2023 Games. Way back in 2016 Adler didn’t register on this study. He made his debut with a rank of 72 following the 2017 Open, and stayed in the 60s and 70s through Regionals in 2018. He then plodded his way through ranks in the 80s and low 90s over the next couple seasons. Following his 5th place finish at the 2020 Games he saw a substantial bump up to 96. It’s gone up steadily from there to 97, 98, and finally 99 following his win at the Games last year. His career trajectory is almost optimal, and his strength of field rating reflects that.

Justin Medeiros

Medeiros and Adler’s trajectories are fairly similar as they both started off this scale in 2016, both enter with a 72 rating at the same time in 2017, and both eventually obtain a rating of 99 on the back of a win at the CrossFit Games. Medeiros would stay at 99 for two full years before a small drop to 98, and then a big drop to 93 as his 13th place at the 2023 Games replaced his 1st from 2021, but also of relevance he had no off-season individual competitions for 2023/2024 pull the rating down.

Mathew Fraser

At the beginning of this study Fraser is coming off two consecutive second place finishes at the Games and has a ranking of 98. That would quickly rise to 99 following his first win at the Games in 2016. He remained at 99 for nearly the duration of the remainder of his career, and then upon retiring slowly saw his rating drop to 98, 95, 91, through the 80s, and then to 0 as he no longer had any competition data points. 

Noah Ohlsen

Of these ten men, at the time this study started, Ohlsen was the only one who had a 99 rating at the beginning of the study. His consistent strong performances in the Open, at Regionals, and at off-season competitions showed the consistent excellence needed to achieve the 99 rating. The last time he was a 99 was after the Games in 2021 (he was not a 99 that entire time), but even up to the last checkpoint he’s at a 95 and has not dropped below 94. While he’s been the second most consistent (to BKG) throughout this study,  it appears he’s retiring from individual competition, so expect that to taper off now as he turns his attention to team competitions. 

Patrick Vellner

In 2016 Vellner was just breaking onto the scene and entered this study with a rating of 82. That year he’d turn heads at the CrossFIt Games with a third place finish and rookie of the year honor. His rating went up accordingly to a 94, and by the time the Games had ended in 2017 his rating was at 98. It would take him nearly three more years to get the final rating point, but finally during Sanctionals in 2020 he attained a rating of 99. Since then he has only checked in with a rating of either 98 or 99, and is therefore the dominating athlete on the men’s side across this time period. In large part this is due to his off-season success being on par, or better, than his Games success. He has two Rogue championships (2020, 2023), three WZA championships (2019, 2020, 2022), and a second place in his only appearance in Dubai (2019). 

Ricky Garard

Garard’s story as a competitive CrossFit athlete stands alone at this point in the sport’s history. He’s the only podium finishing individual athlete who has ever failed a drug test at the CrossFit Games. As a result of that, we see him begin to climb the ratings (he got as high as 89 following Regionals in 2017), disappear from the ratings all together during this ban, and then re-emerge during the 2022 off-season. In his second stint competing against the best in the world at the biggest competitions in the world, Garard managed a rating as high as 94 following Quarters in 2023, and currently sits at 93 having missed the Games due to a shoulder injury earlier this year. It was at 90 after the Games, but is pulled up again thanks to his off-season success.

Roman Khrennikov

Another exceptionally unique case study exists in Khrennikov, who, because of travel issues, did not have an opportunity to compete freely until recently. Back in 2016 he did not yet have relevant competitions to garner a ranking. During the 2017-2018 seasons he enters the rating system at 72. Because of the online nature of the 2020 Games, and some good finishes in Dubai (5th in 2018, 3rd in 2019) he climbed all the way up to a rating of 94 following the 2020 Games. He dipped a little over the next two seasons, but has had a great run the last two years and currently boasts a rating of 98, behind only Adler and Vellner.


AthleteAmanda BarnhartAnnie ThorisdottirBrooke WellsKara SaundersKari PearceKatrin Tanja DavidsdottirKristin HolteLaura HorváthTia-Clair Toomey
Open 201609594979397977495
Regionals 201609496969597968496
Games 201609298979799968198
Off-Season 2016/201709398979899968398
Open 2017719398979899968598
Regionals 2017789498979899968898
Games 2017769898989899978699
Off-Season 2017/2018769897999999988899
Open 2018809897999999988899
Regionals 2018869997999999989099
Games 2018919997999999989699
Off-Season 2018/2019919997999999989599
Open 2019929997989999989699
Sanctionals 2019909996949898989299
Games 2019939896919899989599
Off-Season 2019/2020939896909898989599
Open 2020939897919898989599
Sanctionals 2020949395939595969599
Games 2020938594929496949099
Off-Season 2020/2021938594929496979099
Open 2021938694929496979099
Quarterfinals 2021938694929496979099
Semifinals 2021958795949596979399
Games 2021959194929196979599
Off-Season 2021/2022959490889394979699
Open 2022959490889394979699
Quarterfinals 2022959491899294979699
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Off-Season 2022/2023969590948388889995
Open 2023969591938288879995
Quarterfinals 2023969591938289879994
Semifinals 2023969692917890849992
Games 2023959688887693789987
Off-Season 2023/202491918585089589992

Amanda Barnhart

At the beginning of this study she did not register a rating. When she first earns one following the 2017 Open, she had a rating of 71. She climbs into the 90s by the end of the Games in 2018 where she finished 15th. She has maintained a rating of 90 or higher ever since, peaking at 96 during the 2022-2023 seasons.

Annie Thorisdottir

Thorisdottir enters this study with a rating of 95, and following the Games in 2023 her rating was 96 (it’s currently 91 as she is pregnant and therefore has no off-season individual competition data points. She did reach a rating of 99 during the 2018-2019 seasons, her first time having a 99 rating since the 2013 Open. During her first pregnancy she dropped as low as 85 before climbing back up upon her return. The ups and downs on her graph are due to pregnancy, her fitness and longevity in this sport are second to none.

Brooke Wells

Wells peak rating was 98 and was much closer to the start of this study during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. She maintained a rating of 94 or higher until her elbow injury at the 2021 Games. She was awarded 20th that season based on the rules then despite having points for 13th and being on track for a top 6 finish. With the injury forcing her out of competition she dropped down to a 90, bounced back to 92, and is now currently at 85 after missing the Games last season.

Kara Saunders

At the start of this study Saunders was one of three athletes (Davidsdottir and Holte) with a 97 rating, which was the highest amongst this group at that point. She did get up to a 99 rating following her second place finish at the Games in 2017 and stayed there up until the Open in 2019. Like Thorisdottir, pregnancy caused her to miss some competition and therefore see her rating fall. But also like Thorisdottir, she managed to return from giving birth and demonstrate a high level of fitness again. She got back up to a 94 rating during the 2022/2023 off-season, but currently has her lowest rating of this study at 85- and seeing as she’s competing with a team this season, that will now go even lower.

Kari Pearce

Pearce boasted a rating of 93 at the start of this study, got up to a 99 rating during the off-season in 2017/2018, maintained a rating of 98 or better through the Open in 2020, and stayed in the 90s through Semis in 2022. As she retired, her rating dropped down to 76 before finally dropping to 0 this past off-season. Seven straight years with a rating in the 90s is a testament to how good she was, and for how long.

Katrin Davidsdottir

Davidsdottir was the reigning champ at the beginning of this study and had a 97 rating. After winning again in 2016 she predictably bumped to a 99. She maintained a rating of 98 or 99 until Sanctionals 2020, one of the most impressive stretches for any athlete on either side. Due to missing the Games in 2022 she finally saw a blip on her rating go below 90 (the lowest it ever got was 88). She’s hovered around there since and is currently at an 89. 

Kristin Holte

Holte is the third woman who began this study with the 97 rating. Following Quarterfinals in 2022 (six years later), Holte still had a rating of 97. There were some ups and downs during that stretch, she dropped as low as 94 following the online Games in 2020. After getting pregnant and giving birth it does not appear at this point that Holte will return to competition. After one of the most consistently impressive careers we’ve seen from any woman, Holte’s rating is dropping (currently at 58) and will soon go to zero as every athlete’s does at some point. 

Laura Horvath

Over the duration of this study Horvath is, on the women’s side, the closest parallel to Adler on the men’s side. With the exception of the anomalies that were the 2019 and 2020 CrossFit Games formats, Horvath showed a steady climb from barely registering on the rating system at 74 following the Open in 2016, to finally reaching the coveted 99 rating after the 2022 CrossFit Games. She has maintained that 99 rating since, which is the third longest streak (Toomey and Davidsdottir) of the women in this study. 

Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr

Toomey entered this study with a rating of 95. She was very early in her career, and yet had already finished 2nd at the Games in 2015. She quickly went to 98, and then 99 following her first win at the Games in 2017. She stayed at a 99 rating all the way through her record 6th consecutive win in 2022. Even with the missing data points due to pregnancy she never dropped below an 87, and is already back to a 92; expect that to keep rising throughout this season.

With each stage of the season (Open, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Games, Off-Season), the two-year window advances and the rankings are adjusted. At the time of this publishing, the two-year window is from the 2022 Quarterfinals to the 2024 Open. Once the 2024 Quarterfinals leaderboard is finalized, the ratings will be updated.

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Brian Friend

Brian stumbled upon CrossFit in the Fall of 2013. He has been a writer, data analyst, content creator, commentator, and broadcast coordinator. He's worked at a majority of the largest CrossFit competitions over the last three seasons, is a regular guest on the Sevan Podcast, and has been amongst the leading sports analysts in the sport in recent years. He has a passion for advancing the sport of CrossFit, and spreading the CrossFit methodology, by living it out in both his personal and professional life.


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