The first 2023 CrossFit Games season champions have arrived. Five of the eight Adaptive Divisions have crowned their Fittest on Earth®. This year, Adaptive Divisions are not being represented at the Semifinals or Quarterfinals, so the victors were claimed after the results of the 2023 CrossFit Open were finalized.
After undergoing significant changes in the 2023 CrossFit Rulebook that barred several previous top competitors from the 2023 season, the leaderboard has undergone some shake-ups. Top-placing athletes in Multi Extremity (formerly Multi Extremity), along with Upper Extremity and Lower Extremity, will be moving on to the 2023 CrossFit Games.
The top athletes in the other Adaptive Divisions — Vision, Short Stature, Seated With Hip Function, Seated Without Hip Function, and Intellectual — were crowned 2023’s Fittest on Earth®. Read on to find out who is the Fittest and who will be moving on to the 2023 Games.
2023 CrossFit Adaptive Division Winners
The following athletes are the 2023 Fittest on Earth® in their respective divisions. The names in bold are the champions.
Vision — Women
This is the second consecutive crown worn by division-winner Erica James, who also took home the Fittest® title in 2022.
Vision — Men
Champion Chris Fair finished second in the 2022 Adaptive Semifinal but was able to secure the crown with a second-consecutive Open win this year.
Short Stature — Women
Eric Popovich has redefined “rookie year.” This was her first year competing in the CrossFit Open, and now she has been crowned the Fittest on Earth®.
Short Stature — Men
An unusual tie at the top of the leaderboard means that both Mike Witous and Tim Murray share the Fittest® title this year. Murray is a returning champ, having won the title in 2022. This is Witous’ first time wearing the crown.
Mike Witous & Tim Murray
Juan Serrano Torres
Seated With Hip Function — Women
At this point, winning is second nature to Amalia Ortuño, who has taken home the crown in her division three times now. That means that the division has been hers every year since its inception.
Seated With Hip Function — Men
The 2008 Paralympian Tom Miazga is familiar with the crown, winning this division for the second time in his career.
Seated Without Hip Function — Women
Andrea Wilson is another dominant three-peat champion, having been crowned the victor every year since the Adaptive Divisions debuted in CrossFit.
Rebecca Storm Nagel
Seated Without Hip Function — Men
French athlete Simon Farre is back at the top of the podium after coming in second overall last year. He is now the 2021 and 2023 champion.
Intellectual — Women
A repeat champion, Hailey Malakian was the Fittest on Earth® in 2022. She is once again occupying the top slot in her division.
Intellectual — Men
Lance King’s rookie year was 2022, when he finished seventh in the Semifinal. This year, he is taking home his first Fittest® title.
2023 Adaptive Division CrossFit Games-Qualifying Athletes
These are the top athletes in the following divisions that will be heading for the 2023 CrossFit Games, set to take place in Madison, WI, on Aug. 1-6.
Multi Extremity — Women
Noelle Henderson finished 12th last year in the Open and came in seventh at the Games. She will undoubtedly be seeking to move up in the leaderboard at this year’s Games.
Multi Extremity — Men
This is Chris Rhyme’s first time competing in the Open, and it will be his first time at the Games.
Upper Extremity — Women
This year’s champion took the second-place slot on the podium at the Games last year. She aims to podium again this year.
Elaine De Rocco
Upper Extremity — Men
Once again, Casey Acree is atop the leaderboards. He has finished first in his division every year since the Adaptive Division’s inception. Acree will be aiming for his third consecutive CrossFit Games victory this year.
Xabier Osa Mendes
Lower Extremity — Women
This certainly won’t be two-time champ Valerie Cohen or 2022 podium-finisher Amy Bream’s first trip to the Games. But Bayleigh Hooper will be heading to the Games for the first time.
Lower Extremity — Men
Rogan Dean finished second at the Games in 2022, and will undoubtedly be hoping to make a repeat podium appearance. Last year’s champ Charles Pienaar and 2021 champ Ole Kristian Antonsen will also be aiming for top spots.
Ole Kristian Antonsen
2023 CrossFit Adaptive Division Season
The 2023 CrossFit season has not been without controversy for the Adaptive Divisions. When CrossFit released the details of the 2023 Adaptive season, it announced new restrictions and requirements for any Adaptive athletes wishing to compete in the season.
This season, CrossFit declared that a medical diagnosis was no longer sufficient to allow an athlete’s participation in the Open. Instead, all potential Adaptive athletes were subjected to a battery of physical tests and assessments before being allowed to compete.
In its statement, CrossFit wrote that athletes’ impairments must be “present consistently” and visible on camera at all times to be eligible for competition in Adaptive Divisions. The statement went on to say that:
“This means some athletes who were eligible for competition in 2021 and 2022 will not be eligible for the adaptive divisions in 2023. Those athletes are encouraged to register as individual, team, or age-group competitors.”
This proved to be the case for many Adaptive athletes. Morgan Johnson was crowned the Fittest on Earth® in the Neuromuscular division in 2022 (which will now be called the Multi Extremity division). Leila Ives and Alyssa Kobela placed fourth and fifth in that division, respectively. All of these athletes are now ineligible to compete. Ives and Kobela both appealed, but their appeals were denied by CrossFit.
Former men’s champ in the same division Brett Horchar and former podium-finisher Jeremie Perera are also ineligible to compete under the new testing standards.
CrossFit announced in the same statement that: “[I]n 2024, we will be inviting all adaptive divisions to compete at the CrossFit Games Finals, as long as the divisions have enough participation to allow for a competitive field.”
It remains to be seen whether the restrictions in place for the 2023 season will remain in effect during the 2024 season.
On to the 2023 CrossFit Games
While the Individual, Team, and Age Group athletes are taking on the 2023 Semifinals, the Adaptive Divisions won’t have a Semifinal this year. Instead, the next time these athletes will be in competition will be in Madison this summer. Stay tuned to BarBend for continued coverage of the 2023 CrossFit Games season.
Featured Image: @hailey_melakian / Instagram
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