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

January 3, 20246 min read

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

“Madison Era Women” 30-16

Madison Era Women” 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. Kristin Holte

Kristen Holte 2018 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2019
  • Average Finish: 5.2
  • Event Wins: 3 (Sprint – 2019, Crit – 2018, Cyclocross – 2017)

Five-straight appearances from 2017 to 2021 and nothing worse than seventh regardless of format. After a career of consistent performances and well-rounded fitness, Holte did finally get on a podium in 2019, but to me, it’s the fourth in 2021 (that year was stacked on the women’s side) that stands out. Regardless, her consistency and excellence are more than worthy of a top-five ranking over this seven-year stretch. 

4. Kara Saunders (Webb)

Kara Saunders 2017 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 5 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2017
  • Average Finish: 5.25
  • Event Wins: 4 (Bicouplet 1 – 2018, 1 RM Snatch/Triple G Chipper/Heavy 17.5 – 2018)

The crazy thing about 2021, is that as good as the field of women was, we were missing Bethany Flores, Kari Pearce, and eventually Saunders who withdrew early in the competition (she clearly was not herself) as well. In her other four appearances she had a second (2017 where she came 2 points shy of winning), a fourth (2018), an eighth online in 2020 (a year after giving birth), and a seventh in 2022. I still contend she’s the fittest woman to never win the title, and despite setbacks with injury and illness, as well as taking time away from the sport due to pregnancy (including this past season) she’s still amassed a resume that warrants the four spot on this list.

3. Katrin Davidsdottir

Katrin Davidsdottir 2018 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 6 Appearances
  • Best: 2nd – 2020
  • Average Finish: 5.2
  • Event Wins: 9
    • 2020 Stage 2: Ranch Loop
    • 2020 Stage 1: Nasty Nancy, Handstand Hold
    • 2019: Ringer 1, Ringer 2
    • 2018: Fibonacci, Chaos
    • 2017: Strongman’s Fear, 2223 Intervals

The top three on this list were the easiest three slots to fill. Davidsdottir is up first with six appearances, six top-tens, four-straight top fives (from 2017 to 2020) and two podiums. She also had nine event wins during this era, no one below her on this list has had more than four. Even though her championships come from the “Carson Era”, she was also clearly the third fittest woman during the “Madison Era”.

2. Laura Horvath

Laura Horvath 2023 Games 1111
Image Credit: CrossFit LLC
  • 6 Appearances
  • Best: 1st – 2023
  • Average Finish: 7.7
  • Event Wins: 11
    • 2023: Pig Chipper, Ski-Bag, Olympic Total, Muscle-Up Logs, P-Bar Pull
    • 2022: The Alpaca, Back Nine
    • 2021: Rope climb-Ski-Sandbag
    • 2018: Battleground, Two-Stroke Pull, Aeneas

I’ve written extensively about how good Horvath has been since her rookie season in 2018, and that if not for having her career align with Toomey’s run of dominance we might be talking about her as the fittest we’ve ever seen. Six-straight trips to the Games, and in all of the traditional years, she’s made the podium. In those seasons she’s lost to Toomey three times, and O’Brien once – no one else has managed to beat her ever at the Games as we like to know them. Throw her average event finish out, she is hands down the second fittest from this era. 

1. Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr

Tia Clair Toomey 2019 Games 1111
Image Credit: Training Day Media
  • 6 Appearances
  • Best: 1st – 2017, 20018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Average Finish: 1
  • Event Wins: 33
    • 2022: Shuttle to Overhead B, Up and Over
    • 2021: Swim Kayak, Sled-Pig-MU, 550 yard run, Clean ladder + run (both), Pegboard-Db OHS-DU, Snatch, GHD-burpee cheese curd-yoke, Row-chest to bar-lunge
    • 2020 Stage 2: 2007 Reload, Corn Sack Sprint, CrossFit Total, Toes to bar-Lunge, Snatch Speed Triple, Bike Repeater, Happy Star, Swim N Stuff, Sprint Sled Sprint
    • 2020 Stage 1: Friendly Fran, 1 RM Front Squat, Damn Diane, Awful Annie
    • 2019: First Cut, Split Triplet, Clean, Swim Paddle, The Standard
    • 2018: CrossFit Total, Madison Triplus
    • 2017: Run Swim Run, Muscle-Up Clean Ladder

No surprise, and no room for debate here. Six for six. Undefeated. The best who’s ever done it. If the numbers don’t speak for themselves, I don’t know what will. She is the “Standard”, and it could be a very, very long time before we see anyone else like this. Toomey, like Fraser, is the undisputed “Fittest” and tops a very impressive list of women from the “Madison Era” of the CrossFit Games. 

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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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