The dynamic of the competitive landscape at the top of the women’s field has been quite different than what we’re used to seeing in the men’s competition. On the women’s side, there’s consistently been a group of 3 to 5 women who have a realistic chance to win coming into the last day at major competitions; and that, my friends, is exactly what you can expect to see in the women’s competition this year in Dubai!
Here’s a preview of the top 4 contenders for the ladies, followed by my predictions for the top 10:
- Laura Horvath
- Sara Sigmundsdottir
- Jamie Greene
- Sam Briggs:
The last twelve months have been extremely impressive for Laura Horvath. Last year at this time she was taking second place behind Annie Thorisdottir in Dubai. She took 18th in the Open last year, second in the European Regional, and second at the CrossFit Games (behind Tia-Clair Toomey).
She’s currently 21-years-old, but she’s already competed three times at Regionals, and twice in Dubai, where, in 2016, at only 19-years-old, she finished 9th as an individual competitor ahead of Games athletes from that year like Jen Smith and Thuri Helgadottir. And, she’s been to the CrossFit Games, where not only did she take second place, but she proved she had made up quite a bit of ground on the rest of the field in just nine months. Last year at Dubai, Annie beat her by 114 points; at the Games, Laura beat Annie by 224 points! The events and competitors factor into that, but it’s a difference of 338 points, and that’s significant anyway you look at it.
If it’s time for Laura to assert herself as a threat to challenge two-time defending champ Tia-Clair Toomey for the title of Fittest on Earth, Dubai is the place for her to make that known to the global CrossFit community. Step one is winning here and proving that her performance in Madison wasn’t a mistake. If she does so, she’ll be the first to secure a ticket to Madison next summer giving her almost nine months to prepare.
The wildcard for Dubai this year is Sara. She did not have to do the online qualifier since she won it two years ago and therefore received an invite to compete. Last time we saw her in competition was at the Games where she withdrew due to a rib injury. Some think that may have happened during the CF total, others will point out that she was already dealing with it during Regionals. Either way, everything she’s putting out on social media currently suggests she’s healthy, happy, and ready to get back on the competition floor. All those things are great, but she did take some time off after the Games to let injuries heal. To what level her training has returned, and if she’s really in shape to challenge the other top girls, has yet be seen.
As a skeptic, I wonder if she’s really taken enough time off to allow herself to heal and then go through a genuine training cycle to return to the top level we know she’s capable of. As a fan of the sport, I hope that isn’t the case and that we’ll see a fit, healthy Sara in Dubai. If the latter is the case, Sara will have a great chance to challenge Laura and the other top women for the title.
The third woman with a chance to win in Dubai won’t be a stranger to those watching at the competition, or tuning in around the world.
Jamie Greene first made her name known to the international community when she won the Open in 2016, but she wasn’t a stranger to success before that either. In 2014, before many of the top athletes were traveling there, Jamie won the Dubai Fitness Championship. She hasn’t competed in Dubai every year, but she’s been consistently near the top in the competitions she chooses to enter. In 2016 her team (CrossFit Yas) took 3rd place at the Games. She’s had three consecutive top 10 finishes in the worldwide Open (1,4,9), and the two times she’s been to the CrossFit Games she’s finished 8th (2017) and 11th (2018). However, in the fall of 2017 Jamie had a bad shoulder injury forcing her to have surgery that November, so the slip in her Open and Games performances that year don’t seem as significant considering the injury.
She placed second in the online qualifier for Dubai this year (behind Laura), and seems to be in excellent form leading into the competition. I’m not sure Jamie has what it takes yet to beat Laura, but she’s among the best in the world, and she won’t have to travel for this event since she lives in country. Expect to see her solidly in the top five, likely on the podium, with an outside chance to win.
As the field of competitors expands globally and gets younger, Sam Briggs continues to be relevant near the top of the sport. She finished 4th at Dubai last year, and 2nd there two years ago. She was forced to compete in the Master’s division this past season at the Games due to injury where she took second behind six time Games athlete Anna Tobias.
The story of Sam Brigg’s career has been plagued by injury just as much as it’s sparkled with success. With the current state of the women’s competition being so young, and so impressive, I no longer think she can win competitions like the Games or Dubai. She can still win events at those competitions, which is not only incredibly remarkable, but also will keep her towards the top of the leaderboard. Expect to see Sam threaten for a podium spot in Dubai this year, though I think she’ll fall just short.
Predictions for the Women’s Top 10:
- Laura Horvath
- Sara Sigmundsdottir
- Jamie Greene
- Sam Briggs
- Gabriela Migala
- Bethany Shadburne
- Alessandra Pichelli
- Emma McQuaid
- Camilla Salomonsson
- Eik Gylfadottir