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The CrossFit Games “The Madison Era”: Top-5 Men’s Rankings

December 27, 20236 min read

This is the third part of a three part series ranking the top-30 men from the “Madison Era” (2017-2023) of the CrossFit Games. 

Madison Era Men: 30-16

Madison Era Men: 15-6

*Note: These are my personal rankings. Thursday on the B.Friendly 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. 

5. Brent Fikowski

Brent Fikowski Games 2022 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 7 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2017
  • Average Finish: 9.6
  • Event Wins: 4 (Parallel Bars Pull 2023, Bike/Snatch 2021, Run Swim Run and Strongman’s Fear 2017)

Fikowski is in some ways is the opposite of Noah Ohlsen, meaning the two non-traditional years of 2019 (23rd) and 2020 (15th online) hurt his resume most. He did have an unusually bad performance in 2022 as well, finishing 16th. The other four years are so good though, second in 2017, fourth in 2018, third in 2021, and fourth in 2023, and all four of those results come during the types of seasons, and CrossFit Games, which are difficult to argue with, that it’s hard to not include “The Professor” in the top-5 for this era.

4. Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson

Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson Games 2017 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 7 Appearances
  • Best: 3rd – 2019
  • Average Finish: 6.4
  • Event Wins: 1 (GHD, Burpee Cheese Curd, Yoke 2021)

For whatever reason it seems easy to not realize just how good BKG has been throughout the career, and specifically during the last seven years. He finally had his first finish outside the top-10 this past season…and it was 11th. He only has one podium during this stretch, and it came in 2019 which weighs a little less than other years, but three other top five finishes (fifth in 2017 and 2018, fourth in 2021) make that podium finish feel a whole lot better. Eighth online in 2020, ninth in 2022 before the 11th in 2023 and we’re just left with a resume that’s better than anything we’ve seen up to this point. 

3. Justin Medeiros

Justin Medeiros Games 2022 20 copy
Image Credit: Athlete’s Eye
  • 4 Appearances
  • Best: 1st – 2021 and 2022
  • Average Finish: 4.5
  • Event Wins: 1 (Row, Chest to Bar, Lunge 2021)

The choice between second and third was extremely difficult, and I have a feeling John Young will want to debate me heavily on this one, but I settle with Medeiros at third on this list despite two championships. His other two finishes were third against a field of five in 2020, which is just a strange one, and 13th in 2023 which six months later we still don’t have a good explanation for. Additionally, despite the high average finish, there’s that singular event win. I don’t know, I just couldn’t pull the trigger putting him any higher than this despite the two wins.

2. Patrick Vellner

Patrick Vellner Games 2017 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 7 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2018, 2021, and 2023
  • Average Finish: 5.7
  • Event Wins: 7 (Intervals 2023, Elevated Elizabeth 2022, Sled-Pig-Mu, Rope Climb-Ski-Sandbag, and Deadlift-Freestanding HSPU 2021, Chaos 2018, Sprint O-Course 2017)

Vellner’s resume has everything you’d want to see…other than a win, and for some I’m sure that means he can’t be higher than third on this list; but I’m not in that group. Three runner-up finishes out of seven, and a third in 2017- all four of those come during traditional years and formidable fields. In 2022 he was sixth, and even though it’s the third-worst finish on the list, I consider it his worst performance of this era- not bad. In 2019 he got cut after six events and finished 16th- an insulting finish relative to everything else he’d done in and out of the Games season during his career. In 2020 he was ninth online with a torn groin with three bottom-half finishes on the three events he had to squat during. Simply put, Vellner is the best example we have of how irrelevant 2019 and 2020 are, and as such, I feel confident in any debate placing him second in the “Madison Era”. 

1. Mathew Fraser

Mat Fraser Games 2018 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 4 Appearances
  • Best: 1st – 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Average Finish: 1
  • Event Wins: 26
    • 2020 Stage 2 (10): 2007 Reload, Corn Sack Sprint, Handstand Sprint, Ranch Loop, Toe to Bar-Lunge, Snatch Speed Triple, Bike Repeater, Happy Star, Sprint Sled Sprint, Atalanta
    • 2020 Stage 1 (4): Friendly Fran, Damn Diane, Nasty Nancy, Awful Annie
    • 2019 (6): First Cut, Second Cut, Split Triplet, Clean, Ringer 2, The Standard
    • 2018 (2): Fibonacci, Aeneas
    • 2017 (4): Triple G Chipper, Muscle-Up Clean Ladder, Heavy 17.5, 2223 Intervals

While there may be a debate for second and third, there is no debate here. Fraser only competed from 2017 to 2020, but he never lost, and racked up 26 event wins during that time. There’s no shortage of positive stats or observations to be made about what Fraser accomplished, and not only is he top of the list for the “Madison Era”, he’s the fittest man we’ve yet to see in this sport. 

Top 30 Women from the Madison Era coming next week

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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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