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The Strongest Masters Athletes – A Look Into the Past 5 CrossFit Games

We know who were the fittest, but who were the strongest masters athletes? We look into rep-max events from previous CrossFit Games to find out.

There is a reason why CrossFit calls the winner of the Games the Fittest on Earth and not the strongest on Earth. Being fit is more than just having strong muscles – it is a combination of gymnastic skills, strength and speed. But can we find out who were the strongest masters athletes from previous Games competitions? And what does that information tells us for the Games coming ahead?

2020 was an abnormal year as there was almost no CrossFit Games at all. In the end, only individual athletes were able to compete for the title of Fittest on Earth, leaving masters athletes, teenagers and teams training for the following year.

From 2015 to 2019, every CrossFit Games for masters athletes involved some kind of test to understand who is the strongest one among their peers. And there is only one way to find that out: with a “rep-max” kind of event.

Strongest Masters AthletesSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
David Hippensteel

The public wants to know who is the strongest one, be it a teenager or a masters athlete, and Dave Castro knows that as he has always slipped in some kind of workout that would showcase it. Here are the “rep-max” kind of events we have seen in CrossFit Games for masters athletes:

  • 2015 – 1-rep-max thruster
  • 2016 – 1-rep-max squat clean
  • 2017 – 1-rep-max snatch (35-49 years old only)
  • 2017 – 2-rep-max front-squat (50+ masters athletes)
  • 2018 – 1-rep-max shoulder-to-overhead
  • 2019 – 2-rep-max overhead squat

BOXROX has cross-referenced the winners of those events, from each category, and came up with the name of the strongest male and strongest female masters athletes in the past.

Strongest Masters Athletes of Past CrossFit Games

Check out who were the athletes who lifted the heaviest weight in the events mentioned above.

2015 – 1-rep-max thruster – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
40-44Shawn Ramirez276lb1st
45-49Ron Ortiz285lb7th
50-54Christ Podesto245lb9th
55-59Steve Marino230lb2nd
60+Robert Caslin230lb3rd

2015 – 1-rep-max thruster – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
40-44Jolaine Undershute185lb7th
45-49Francine Pehi180lb3rd
50-54Laurie Meschishnick
Shelie Edington
Jacqueline Jane’t
157lb3rd
5th
9th
55-59Michelle Barnes133lb3rd
60+Bernadette Eliott112lb2nd

2016 – 1-rep-max squat clean – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
40-44Steven Swistak317lb12th
45-49Ron Mathews307lb1st
50-54Ron Ortiz287lb1st
55-59Dewayne Sapp Mike Heikens237lb6th 5th
60+Stephen Angove242lb2nd

2016 – 1-rep-max squat clean – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
40-44Janet Black222lb3rd
45-49Cheryl Brost
Tonia Osborne
206lb1st
3rd
50-54Jacqueline Janet182lb6th
55-59Mary Beth Prodromides185lb1st
60+Shaun Havard142lb1st
Strongest masters athletesSource: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
Shelie Edington

In 2017, CrossFit classified athletes from 35 years and over as Masters athletes, creating a new division within the sport.

That same year was the only time that CrossFit designed a different “rep-max” workout for athletes of different age divisions. Those from 35 years up to 49 years old would perform a 1-rep-max snatch, while older athletes would do 2-rep-max front-squat instead.

2017 – 1-rep-max snatch – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Neal Maddox293lb2nd
40-44Steven Swistak259lb13th
45-49Brent Maier235lb2nd

2017 – 2-rep-max front-squat – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
50-54Patrick Murray347lb7th
55-59Robert Boshoven302lb2nd
60+Michael Bridges320lb11th

2017 – 1-rep-max snatch – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Teresa Trojanowski202lb12th
40-44Jen Hauser175lb5th
45-49Cheryl Brost163lb1st

2017 – 2-rep-max front-squat – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
50-54Diane Stuart222lb3rd
55-59Mary Beth Prodromides205lb2nd
60+Patty Failla180lb1st

2018 – 1-rep-max shoulder-to-overhead – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Joel Bran400lb11th
40-44Neal Maddox350lb1st
45-49Giulio Silvino350lb6th
50-54Ron Ortiz305lb3rd
55-59Gus Vandervoort255lb10th
60+Stephen Angove240lb7th

2018 – 1-rep-max shoulder-to-overhead – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Teresa Trojanowski240lb8th
40-44Ana C. Caldas265lb8th
45-49Tonia Osborne
Jolaine Undershute
Shannon Schleifer
210lb2nd
3rd
9th
50-54Kerrie Napoli190lb10th
55-59Jacqueline Jane’t185lb5th
60+Patty Failla
Dolores Jones
Linda Hardy
145lb2nd
3rd
9th

2019 – 2-rep-max overhead squat – Men

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Nicholas Urankar305lb1st
40-44David Levey310lb5th
45-49Justin Lasala280lb2nd
50-54Ryan Joe Hamby200lb3rd
55-59Alen Duarte200lb3rd
60+Gord Mackinnon165lb1st

2019 – 2-rep-max overhead squat – Women

Age DivisionNameWeight LiftedPlacement at the end of the Games
35-39Anna Tobia
Rebecca Voigt Miller
220lb1st
3rd
40-44Michelle Suozzi215lb6th
45-49Jolaine Undershute195lb3rd
50-54Jana Slyder
Tia Vesser
160lb1st
2nd
55-59Mary Beth Prodromides160lb8th
60+Susan Clarke
Patricia McGill
120lb1st
2nd

Conclusion from Strongest Masters Athletes of Past CrossFit Games

In those five years of CrossFit Games competition among Masters athletes, one can deduct a few things.

  • 6 male athletes who were the strongest in their division ended up winning the CrossFit Games in their category.
  • The same happened to female athletes, as 6 of the strongest masters athletes also finished the CrossFit Games in the 1st position.

Who is The Strongest Masters Athletes?

Among men athletes, Ron Ortiz is a force to be reckoned with. He won 1-rep-max in 2015, 1-rep-max squat clean in 2016, 1-rep-max shoulder-to-overhead in 2018, making him the strongest male athlete.

On top of that, he has won the title of Fittest on Earth in 2013 (45-49 years) and 2016 (50-54). This year he has qualified for the Games again, competing in the 55-59 division.

Source: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
Ron Ortiz

For the women, we have a tie. Both Jacqueline Jane’t and Mary Beth Prodromides have won three “rep-max” events in past CrossFit Games while competing as masters athletes.

Jacqueline won the 1-rep-max thruster in 2015, 1-rep max squat clean in 2016, 1-rep-max shoulder-to-overhead in 2018.

Mary Beth won 1-rep max squat clean in 2016, 2-rep-max front-squat in 2017, 2-rep-max overhead squat in 2019.

Neither of them is participating in the CrossFit Games this year.

How Important is Being Strong for Masters Athletes?

As stated before, CrossFit crowns the Fittest on Earth, rather than the strongest. But is being strong a guaranteed success to finish on the podium at the end of the Games? Not exactly, but it surely helps, especially for women.

From the list of the strongest masters athletes above, here is the number of people that finished in the podium (1st, 2nd, or 3rd).

Men

  • 2015 – 3 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2016 – 3 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2017 – 3 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2018 – 2 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2019 – 4 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium

Women

  • 2015 – 4 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2016 – 5 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2017 – 4 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2018 – 4 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium
  • 2019 – 6 people who won a rep-max event finished in the podium

Which of the Strongest Masters Athletes Are Participating in 2021 CrossFit Games?

From the list above of all participants who won a “rep-max” event in the past during the CrossFit Games, a total of 12 athletes will be in Madison this year competing for the title of Fittest on Earth in their respective category.

Men

  • Justin Lasala – 45-49
  • Giulio Silvino – 45-49
  • Brent Maier – 50-54
  • Ron Ortiz – 55-59
  • Gus Vandervoort – 60-64

Women

  •  Ana C. Caldas – 40-44
  • Janet Black – 45-49
  • Laurie Meschishnick – 55-59
  • Patty Failla – 60-64
  • Susan Clarke – 60-64
  • Patricia McGill – 60-64

CrossFit Games Schedule

The CrossFit Games will run from 27th July to August 1st. Most of the events will be streamed online for fans who are not able to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, due to the travel restrictions.

Watch the Livestream of the CrossFit Games here.

Here is the rough schedule of when each division will compete.

Source: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Find out how much money athletes and teams will earn at the end of the CrossFit Games.

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