Mat Fraser: The loss that launched a legacy

Three-time CrossFit Games Champion Mat Fraser's legacy was born not from greatness, but from a bitter defeat.

Posted: Jul 25, 2019 10:30 AM
Updated: Jul 25, 2019 10:30 AM

Typically, when an athlete goes on to become a legend, their legacy can be traced back to a single breakthrough moment. A time in which they first tasted greatness, broke through and made a name for themselves and then, from that point on, never looked back.

But for the three-time defending CrossFit Games Champion Mat Fraser, the moment his career went from good to great was not as a result of a win, but rather an agonizing loss.

"For a long time I hated that [silver] medal," the 29-year-old American told CNN back in January in Miami. "It kept me up at night. It was a source of disappointment. Now I wouldn't trade that medal for anything."

As soon as the former weightlifter Fraser appeared on the CrossFit scene in 2014, he was immediately heralded as the future of the sport.

READ: Pat Vellner aiming to overthrow 'CrossFit King' Mat Fraser

READ: How CrossFit star Sara Sigmundsdottir dealth with a broken bone

In his debut appearance at the CrossFit Games that very same year, Fraser finished runner-up behind the 4-time champion Rich Froning, who was stepping away from individual competitions, leaving the coast clear for Fraser to take up his mantle.

But it wasn't that simple.

The following year, Fraser entered the event as the favorite but once again finished second, this time to Ben Smith.

Two silver medals, but each eliciting an entirely different reaction. While his silver medal in 2014 was met with a sense of achievement, his second silver changed everything.

"I hated my 2015 medal. To me it just represented the cut corners, the slacking off, the thinking I could out-train a bad diet," Fraser continued, "If I had won in 2015 while carrying those bad habits, I would've kept those bad habits. I would've thought I could do this while eating terribly. I can do this while training sporadically."

Instead, the future Fittest Man on Earth changed his entire routine.

He altered the way he trained and became more focused and disciplined in the process. Fraser also changed his diet. Or more accurately, he outsourced his entire caloric intake to his girlfriend, and now fiancee, Sammy Moniz, who documents their meals on her Instagram account 'Feeding the Frasers.'

After the 2017 CrossFit Games, where Fraser finally claimed his first gold, he and Sammy moved to Cookeville, Tennessee, home to the man who had beaten him the first time Fraser climbed the podium at the CrossFit Games, the four-time champion Froning.

All these lifestyle changes worked, perhaps even better than he had imagined. Since that life-changing loss at the 2015 Games, Fraser has not lost a single competition at any level. Claiming three consecutive Gold medals at the CrossFit Games, each year by a greater margin of victory than the last.

But now Fraser faces a different problem. He has become so dominant in the sport, that fans of the sport no longer give him credit for his victories, suggesting instead that all he has to do to win is simply show up.

But Fraser believes they're not seeing the whole picture. "I was getting those comments all the time, like: 'What are you worried about?'" Fraser explains. "I'm dedicating everything I have for the months prior and there's a real possibility that things won't go right."

"They don't see the behind the scenes of how much goes into it. How dedicated my day to day is. That my life revolves around it. Eating, sleeping, training, social life. Everything."

When the Games get underway on August 1, Fraser will be the overwhelming favorite to win a fourth straight CrossFit Games, equaling the mark set by his new neighbor Rich Froning. A feat unimaginable if not for that fateful loss back in 2015.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Florence
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 64°
Fayetteville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Scottsboro
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 233569

Reported Deaths: 2952
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34523553
Davidson29914326
Knox1193687
Hamilton11197103
Rutherford11090106
Williamson665649
Sumner5664107
Wilson443153
Putnam415653
Montgomery387251
Out of TN377535
Unassigned37264
Madison363079
Bradley343421
Sullivan324845
Sevier317321
Blount313932
Washington313244
Maury308135
Robertson249839
Hamblen233843
Tipton220622
Gibson205938
Dyer203726
Hardeman179532
Coffee177420
Trousdale17437
Obion164918
Bedford159620
Dickson157318
Fayette157022
Anderson156713
Greene156551
Wayne15657
Loudon155010
McMinn152232
Cumberland150124
Lawrence147918
Jefferson146619
Weakley144425
Carter142832
Monroe137027
Henderson136125
Warren135110
Hardin132219
Lauderdale131918
Macon126324
Franklin122816
Roane12017
Haywood119526
Overton113311
Johnson11067
Hawkins110524
White110214
Carroll109424
McNairy109126
Marshall10568
Rhea104916
Cheatham97311
Lake9703
Smith94713
Cocke92612
Bledsoe9244
Giles90134
Campbell8857
Fentress8618
Lincoln8142
Crockett78321
Henry74610
Hickman74413
Chester71314
Marion7089
DeKalb67716
Decatur62811
Grainger5394
Grundy5248
Claiborne5046
Union4992
Polk47413
Jackson4225
Humphreys4154
Morgan4116
Houston39215
Benton3919
Cannon3872
Clay37112
Unicoi3672
Lewis3522
Scott3324
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3117
Meigs2965
Pickett2495
Moore2452
Perry2081
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events