Mat Fraser, CrossFit’s winningest male athlete, is retiring from competition.
The five-time consecutive (2016-2020) CrossFit Games champ announced his decision to stop competing on Instagram today with a message of appreciation over several photo slides. He’s only 31 years old—so he’s leaving the sport young, at the top of his game.
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“Like so many others that wandered into a CrossFit gym, I wasn’t expecting to find my best friends, business partners, wife, countless life lessons, and 5 gold medals,” he wrote. “Today, I leave the sport older, wiser, fitter, and grateful.
“I’m diving into the next chapter of my life with the same HWPO [Hard Work Pays Off] mentality. From now on, decisions won’t be solely based off how they affect my performance, but how they affect my family, friends, health, and happiness.
“I look forward to remaining a part of the CrossFit community, I just won’t be doing it from the competition floor any longer.”
Fraser penned a longer, more detailed note for The Morning Chalk Up, which was published shortly after his social media posts. In the address, he expands on the sometimes obsessive fixation he had on being the greatest CrossFit athlete in the sport, sharing a detail about how he would go so far as not using a steak knife ahead of the Games to avoid potential accidents. “It wasn’t worth the .01% chance I’d cut myself and ruin my week of training or compromise my performance during competition,” he wrote. “I was obsessed with finding improvements anywhere possible and always terrified that one had slipped through the cracks.”
While Fraser didn’t have many more details about his future to share in the longer note, he did share that he and his wife, Sammy, will move to Vermont. He also clarified that he has no plans to follow other notable athletes in opening his own affiliate gym, although he will break ground on a home gym and begin a YouTube channel. “Other than that, I look forward to experiencing the season as a fan, just like the rest of you.”
Fraser finished the interrupted 2020 competitive CrossFit season with a dominant performance in the Finals to clinch his record-setting fifth straight title. He leaves a chasm at the top of the men’s division (Fraser’s training partner, Tia-Clair Toomey, is just as dominant on the women’s side). Now, for the first time in half a decade, the field is wide open.
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