Last year the women’s competition in Dubai was the one of the most tightly contested individual battles we’ve ever seen. Four women were in position to win with only one event remaining. All four of those ladies are back for DCC 2019! But there’s also a new competitor in the field who might just spoil it for all of them...
Samantha Briggs was the eventual champion of the 2018 DCC, while Jamie Greene did everything she could to hang tough but ultimately settled for second. Sara Sigmundsdottir, coming off some rehab from injuries she’d suffered a few months earlier at the 2018 CrossFit Games, finished third, while the young Slovakian national champion, Karin Frey, placed fourth. Things have changed in the past year though.
First of all, Frey is a year older, and has a significant amount of additional experience under her belt. It wasn’t that she competed a lot, her only Sanctional was Dubai. It’s the success she had at high levels of competition. Fourth place at the DCC behind three perennial Games athletes, two of whom have multiple podium finishes, is a serious accomplishment. She then went on to participate in her first CrossFit Games where she finished 22nd. Some athletes have used the new season to participate in many Sanctioned events, but I’m not so sure it’s the wisest choice for everyone; especially young athletes. Yes competitive experience is beneficial, but to really excel at the highest level, some athletes need to spend a majority of your time training, not competing, in their formative years. I expect we’ll see an even stronger Karin Frey this year.
Then there’s Sara. Many things have changed for her in the past twelve months, and after watching her compete in Ireland a couple of weeks ago, I feel comfortable saying they are for the better. She’s changed her diet, changed her coach, she isn’t coming off a devastating injury, and she looked fearsome in Ireland- even on a couple of events you may not traditionally think she’d dominate. I think the other women in the field have reason to be scared of what Sara might do this weekend.
Sam Briggs is undeniably incredible, but she’s also ten to fifteen years older than her closest competitors, and she’s coming off an injury in the second to last week of the Open, just 6 weeks ago. It did not stop her from competing in Ireland, where she finished a respectable 5th and her ankle did not seem to give her too much trouble. The unique thing about Sam amongst these women, is that she did not qualify through the Open for the Games, so she’ll have to earn that invite the hard way. I don’t know if Sam will win the competition, but she will likely win a couple events, she’ll be in podium contention, and she’s the favorite to eventually take the invite to the Games.
Jamie is coming off her best season at the Games as an individual. For a few years it seemed like she was just barely outside the very top group of ladies. Prior to her third place finish this year she’d been 11th and 8th, almost always in the final heat, but never quite really threatening for a top five position. Her success this past August will go a long way in terms of her confidence and self belief that she is just as good as the best women out there. I think she believes she can win, and that may just make the difference for her.
As if the rematch between these four women isn’t enough, there’s a new, and very real threat, who is coming to Dubai for the first time this year...two time CrossFit Games champion Katrin Davidsdottir. Katrin only competed in two Sanctioned events last season, Fittest in Cape Town, which she won, and Rogue, where she finished fourth. She barely made it through the final cut at the CrossFit Games, and then did what she typically does, climb the leaderboard as the weekend wore on. She is definitely among the elite ladies in the sport, and the best of the best thrive as competitions are longer and more grueling. Dubai has a history of being just such an event, and I think Katrin will fit right in!