Can you believe we’re here? The 2021 CrossFit Games almost didn’t happen but in just one week, the best of the best will be gathering at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin to leave it all out on the competition floor.

This Games promises to be a different one. With a new-ish CEO, a fresh approach due to the pandemic, and — let’s be honest — Mat Fraser out of the picture, there are all sorts of curveballs we’re going to navigate.

While nobody can know for sure, you know how much we love doing our yearly podium predictions. All of these athletes are tremendously talented, and it’s really hard to select just a few of them out of the bunch, but here are some of our top picks for men and women.

2021 CrossFit Games Podium Predictions: Who Will Finish on Top?

Tia-Clair Toomey

Let’s be honest: At this point, who can beat Tia? After finishing at the top of the podium over and over (and over) again, it’s hard to imagine anyone passing her up. It’s not that other competitors are ill-equipped — it’s that Tia’s just that good. With such an impressive track record behind her, we see her going for the gold — and getting it. Plus, with Toomey having started training for bobsledding in the not-too-distant past, she’s coming to the Games with a whole new set of skills and strength in her arsenal. There’s nothing she can’t do.

Katrin Davidsdottir

If anyone’s hungry for a podium finish, it’s Katrin. The 2015 and 2016 fittest woman on earth has finished on or near the podium the last three years, landing in 5th in 2017, 3rd in 2018, 4th in 2019, and 2nd in 2020. You just know she’s itching for a gold medal this year. Katrin’s been that athlete who’s always this close to winning, sometimes leading the pack up to the last minute. This year, we won’t be surprised to see her in the top three. The real question, though, is can she beat Tia?

Haley Adams

She may be a younger one in the bunch, but if we’ve learned anything from Haley Adams, it’s that age is nothing but a number. This gal is used to winning. In her teen years, she finished 1st in 2016 and 2017, and 2nd in 2018. She’s got some serious competition to beat, yes, but the potential is 100% there. And with Adams training out of CrossFit Mayhem, she’s learning from the best of the best. We’re expecting big things from her this year and know she’s capable of keeping up with the others.

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Noah Ohlsen

Ohlsen is a bit like Davidsdottir — always there, always so close, always hungry for a win. In so many events, we’ve seen him on the heels of Fraser. And with Fraser gone this year, you know this guy will be battling even harder for a spot on the podium. Noah landed 2nd in 2019, and he’s certainly capable of standing on the podium. This could really be his year.

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Justin Medeiros

At 21 years old, Justin was voted Rookie of the Year at the 2020 CrossFit Games, before finishing the competition in 3rd. He was a real joy to watch last year. Where Fraser was refined and controlled, Medeiros was beautifully reckless and all-out. It certainly worked, and there were more than a few instances where he gave Fraser a run for his money. Sure, Justin’s a little green and has a lot to learn, but this guy isn’t here to mess around. He really got our attention last year, so we’ll be watching him closely next week.

Scott Panchik

It was really tough to pick this one, but we’re going to have to go with Panchik. His consistency is a major bonus. Nearly every year, he’s performed well across the Open, Games, Regionals, and Team Series. His experience in the sport is something that other competitors will have a hard time keeping up with. Don’t forget that before Tia started winning gold medal after gold medal, she kept her head down and worked hard, ready for her moment to pounce. We see the same hunger in Panchik. This could be an amazing year for him.

What will the Games bring us this year? Only time will tell. And we certainly struggled to make our predictions, as we do most years. We’d like to give an honorable mention to Pat Vellner and Brent Fikowski. These two buds always put on an impressive performance, and they’re some of the more recognizable faces in the sport. You can’t help but root for them.

We’re also excited to catch Amanda Barnhart, Brooke Wells, and Annie Thorisdottir, who bounced back from maternity at warped speed. Brooke Wells put up one heck of a fight last year, and we know this year will be no different. Barnhart has crushed it in the Open the last several years, and she’s climbed the ranks in the Games, too.

Now it’s your turn: Who do you think will finish in the top three for the men and women? Tell us your best guesses!

Main image: Noah Ohlsen/Instagram