The kick off for the 2024 CrossFit Games season is just around the corner, and CrossFit fans will be treated to Open announcements again this year.  On the men’s side of the 24.1 Open announcement, we have the Fittest Man on Earth, Jeffrey Adler and 4th fittest man Brent Fikowski.

While on paper, the 1st and 4th place men from the CrossFit Games should be a close matchup, the chances of Fikowski coming out with the W on February 29th are low.  This is by no means a slight on Fikowski.  It has everything to do with Jeffrey Adler, and the elite run of results he is in the midst of.  Adler hasn’t finished outside the top 5 in a competition (in-person or online) since the 2022 CrossFit Open.

From a head to head competition perspective Adler beat Fikowski in all 5 competitions the two competed in during the 2023 season.  

Jeffrey AdlerBrent Fikowski
2023 Season
2023 Rogue Invitational24
2023 CrossFit Games14
2023 World Wide Semifinals15
2023 World Wide QFs528
2023 CrossFit Open1389
2022 Season
2022 CrossFit Games516
2022 WW QF336
2022 Open12992
2021 Season
2021 CrossFit Games133
2021 Atlas Games25
2021 NA Quarterfinals337
2021 Open122

Again, not a slight on Fikowski’s performance at all, as he did finish 4th at both the 2023 CrossFit Games, and Rogue Invitational, Adler was just that much better.

At a competition level, the last time Fikowski beat Adler in a competition was the 2021 CrossFit games when Fikowski finished 3rd to Adler’s 13th.

24.1 isn’t a competition though, it’s a single event, and in doing matchup analysis, we should be looking at their head to head event finishes.  When you break down the event finishes between Jeffrey Adler and Brent Fikowski in 2024, the results are similar.  In the 5 competitions the two men competed in during 2023, only in the 2023 Semifinals did Fikowski have the better head to head event record.  

2023 Head to Head Event WinsJeffrey AdlerBrent Fikowski
Rogue Invitational63
CrossFit Games93
2023 World Wide Semifinals34
2023 World Wide QF41
2023 Open40

Looking at the events Fikowski beat Adler, there were some consistent themes.

In Quarterfinals Test 4, Semifinals Test 1, Semifinals Test 6, The Alpaca Redux and Parallel Bar Pulls from the CrossFit Games, and The Circus from Rogue Invitational all had a heavy upper body pulling component.  Whether that was rowing, ski erg, sled pulls or legless rope climbs, 6 of the 11 events Fikowski beat Adler in in 2023 had an upper body pull.

Semifinals Test 6 and Big Cat from the Rogue Invitational both had handstand walks.

Fikowski also swept Test 4 and 5 from Semifinals.  Test 4 was 800m run then a max snatch, while Test 5 was 8 snatches at 185lbs then an 800m run.

The last two events Fikowski beat Adler in, Pig Chipper from the CrossFit Games and The Duel III from Rogue Invitational were unique events by themselves, and also not the type of events we will see in the CrossFit Open.

Based on 2023, for Fikowski to beat Adler in 24.1, having upper body pulling and/or handstand walks would be a big help to tilt the odds in his favour.

That said, Jeffrey Adler has been lights out in the CrossFit Open in recent memory.  For starters, he has won the Open 2 out of the last 3 years.  He also had a 12th in 2022, a 5th in 2020 and a 26th in 2019.  

Fikowski on the other hand has only two Open finishes in the top 150 in the past 5 years.

Based on Open finishes in recent years, it is no surprise that Adler is dominating the head to head Open event finishes

Head to Head Open EventsJeffrey AdlerBrent Fikowski

Over the past 5 CrossFit Opens, the only events Fikowski has bested Adler in are 21.1 (wall walks and double unders) and 20.5 (ring muscle-ups, rowing, and wall balls).  The movements in these two workouts also align with the movements in the events Fikowski beat Adler in during the 2023 season.

Going into the 24.1 Open announcement, I would expect Adler to run away with it.  One because he is the Fittest Man on Earth.  Two, because Adler crushes the CrossFit Open. And three, and maybe most important, is on a movement breakdown between Adler and Fikowski, there is a small subset of movements that Fikowski has the advantage in, and many of those are unlikely to appear in week 1 of the 2024 CrossFit Open.

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