The CrossFit Games “The Madison Era”: 15-6 Women’s Rankings

January 2, 20249 min read

Picking up where we left off on the women’s rankings during the “Madison Era” of the CrossFit Games, this is the second in a three part series of articles ranking the top-30 women from that seven year stretch. 

Madison Era Women 30-16

*Note: These are my personal rankings. Thursday on the BFriendly Fitness Podcast I will be joined by John Young of JY Barbell Club, who has made his own rankings for a debate in which we will attempt to compromise where we have differences amongst our rankings. 

15. Kristi Eramo O’Connell

Kristi Eramo OConnell 2018 Games 111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 8th – 2021
  • Average Finish: 10.4
  • Event Wins: 1 (30 ring muscle-ups – 2018)

Over a six-year period of time, Eramo O’Connell made the Games five times. In both her first (2017) and last (2022) of those appearances she was 13th, in between she was never worse than that…and yet on this list she comes in at 15th! That’s mostly due to lacking that top five finish even once… Let’s just say there have been a host of very impressive women during the seven years in Madison.

14. Danielle Brandon

Danielle Brandon 2021 Games 1111
Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 4th – 2022
  • Average Finish: 9.8
  • Event Wins: 4 (Inverted Medley – 2023, Skill Speed Medley – 2022, Handstand Walk – 2021, Second Cut – 2019)

Brandon, unlike Eramo O’Connell, does have that top-five finish (fourth in 2022) in addition to the consistency of five-straight top-15 finishes. She also has an event win in four different seasons (all on handstand walking events) which have made for some very memorable “DBE” moments during the “Madison Era”. 

13. Brooke Wells

Brooke Wells 2022 Games 1111
Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye
  • 6 Appearances
  • Best: 5th – 2020 and 2022
  • Average Finish: 11.2
  • Event Wins: 2 (Handstand Sprint -2020, Handstand Walk – 2018)

I don’t think anyone is really questioning how good Brooke Wells has been during this era, and yet the numbers don’t exactly do her justice. Not only would her points alone have given her a 13th rather than a 20th in 2021 (before they changed the rules in more recent years), but if she hadn’t had the elbow injury she’d have been sixth at worst that year. She came back one year later and took fifth anyway, one of the more impressive and under-appreciated accomplishments from anyone ever in this sport.

12. Jamie Simmonds (Greene)

Jamie Simmonds 2019 Games 1111
Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 3rd – 2019
  • Average Finish: 10.2
  • Event Wins: 2 (Helena – 2023, Amanda .45 – 2017)

Simmonds was the benefactor of the rule changes last year where, despite withdrawing, she was awarded 17th on her points total at the end of the weekend. However, if she’d been able to finish the competition she’d likely have been around tenth. In her other four appearances during this era she was third, eighth, 11th, and 12th. Both consistent, with a drop of excellence (albeit from the 2019 season), secure her place here.

11. Gabriela Migała

Gabi Migala 2022 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 4th – 2023
  • Average Finish: 15.2* (counting her 75th in 2019 as a 40th, or last, from any other year)
  • Event Wins: 1 (Capitol – 2022)

Migala was a CrossFit Games rookie in 2019 and only got to experience one event. The next year she didn’t do great online (18th). Finally we got to see her in 2021, and she’s been excellent since. Sixth, then eighth, then fourth, over the last three seasons with an event win on perhaps the most iconic event from this era (the “Capitol”) and Migala’s rank here just outside the top ten should speak for itself. 

10. Kari Pearce

Kari Pearce 2020 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 5 Appearances (6th qualification in 2021, but DNS due to Covid)
  • Best: 3rd – 2020
  • Average Finish: 6
  • Event Wins: 2 (Atalanta – 2020, Mary – 2019)

Similarly to Flores, we were robbed of likely one more great year from Pearce in 2021 due to a positive Covid test. However, in the four years prior to that she ran off four consecutive top tens, three of which were sixth or better, including a podium in 2020 against a field of five. Two iconic event wins, one in “Mary” where she beat all the men, and another in “Atalanta” in what could be the last ever CrossFit Games event to take place at the Ranch. Pearce kicks off the top ten in a very strong way. 

9. Haley Adams

Haley Adams 2022 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 4 Appearances
  • Best: 4th – 2020
  • Average Finish: 6
  • Event Wins: 2 (Bike to Work/Shuttle to Overhead A – 2022)

Adams finished one spot behind Pearce in both 2019 and 2020, and she doesn’t have a podium like Pearce does. However, her fifth and ninth in 2021 and 2022 outweigh the sixth and tenth from Pearce in 2018 and 2017, enough for me to give her a one spot advantage on this list. She skipped the 2023 season for personal reasons, but her four-year stretch from 2019-22 stands strong nonetheless.

8. Mallory O’Brien

Mallory OBrien 2022 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 2 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2022
  • Average Finish: 4.5
  • Event Wins: 1 (Wall Walk-Thruster – 2021)

O’Brien, like Adams, did not compete in 2023. The two years prior though, she made a statement in a big way. Seventh place and “Rookie of the Year” in 2021 was great, second place and the only woman to pose even a semblance of a threat to Toomey that year forced us to ask serious questions about how good she already was, and could end up being. It’s unclear if we’ll ever see her compete again, but for the two years she did, it was a gift. 

7. Emma Lawson

Emma Lawson 2023 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 2 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2023
  • Average Finish: 4
  • Event Wins: 2 (Ride/Intervals – 2023)

Lawson broke onto the scene one year after O’Brien, and she’s been almost exactly as good through two years. She placed one spot higher than O’Brien as a rookie, also claimed the “Rookie of the Year” award, and came back with a second place finish in her sophomore campaign. It did come without Toomey in the field, but that’s not something Lawson can control. 

6. Annie Thorisdottir

Annie Thorisdottir 2021 Games 1111
Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 3rd – 2017 and 2021
  • Average Finish: 7
  • Event Wins: 1 (Deadlift-Freestanding HSPUs – 2021)

It is so hard to get even one podium finish during this era, that Thorisdottir is the first woman yet who’s managed to do it twice. The third in 2017 was a nice resurgence for her after a couple tough seasons, but the third in 2021 after giving birth rivals her back-to-back titles from 2011 and 2012 as her career best achievement. Like Ben Smith on the men’s side, she’s the one woman who competed in all three eras, and she’s maintained a level of excellence over that extended time period which is unrivaled. 

Ranks 5-1 will be coming out tomorrow. 

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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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