Mat Fraser Retirement - Swolverine

We’ve watched, like many of you reading this, Mat Fraser climb the ranks in the competitive CrossFit arena to the very top. That’s where he stayed for most of his professional sports career, inspiring, evoking, and even crushing, the competition. This is our farewell ode to Mat Fraser upon his retirement from the sport.

Mat Fraser Retires - Swolverine

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Mat Fraser Retires, Leaving A Legacy

“Legacy” almost seems underwhelming when it comes to chalking up the career and impact that Mat Fraser has had on the functional fitness community at large. Arguably the best athlete that the sport has ever produced, he gave countless hours, effort, and investment into his pursuit for excellence. To which, he obtained, and maintained, for years at the very top.

“I don’t care if you’re running towards your goal, or if you’re on your knees fucking crawling, just stay pointed in that direction. Keep chugging, you’ll get there”. — Mat Fraser

Weightlifter Turned CrossFitter

Fraser was an olympic weightlifter before he became a Crossfitter and he had made an incredible name for himself, as well all know. He won a silver medal at the junior national championships before making a debut at the 2014 CrossFit Games, taking yet another second place. It wasn’t failure that stopped him, but rather, inspired him.

Quite immediately, it was seen to all those who watched, that Mat would be the future of the sport.

He eloquently combined two fitness modalities into a power packed performance with functionality at the root of it. He was what the sport was waiting for. He was the trailblazer, the epitome of hard work, dedication, and passion.

More Than An Athlete

In our opinion, Mat Fraser is far more than an ‘just an athlete’. Sure, he made an exquisite career and name for himself in the sport, however, his impact goes so much farther beyond the barbell.

Like many of the one of a kind athletes that leave generational impacts, Mat Fraser is right up there with the heroes of the sports we love, like LeBron James, Joe Montana, Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods, to name a few. He’s a pioneer for both Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit.

Mat Fraser may have won the CrossFit Games in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. However, he didn’t just win the games, he won the heart of the sport. He doesn’t just represent excellence, he represents integrity, grit, passion and genuine hard work. He put his head down for years focusing on continually improving, adapting to challenges, and mastering not some, but all.

While we may never quite understand his fire, what burned deep down inside of him to continually fuel his passion for the sport, what we will know is the flame that will burn for generations to come, lighting the way for all to compete and pursue excellence within the sport for themselves.

Mat Fraser Retires - Swolverine

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What We Can Learn From Mat Fraser and His Retirement Announcement

If anything, the legacy that Fraser leaves behind is one that can, and should, evoke great passion and emotion within each of us as athletes and as humans. He calls to raise the bar on integrity, on the way that we live our lives and the ways that we carry ourselves through triumph and trial. His willingness to pursue such excellence should inspire us, those who witnessed, and those who are too young to have done so, to pursue moments where we feel completely illuminated. Ignited, and on fire, for our passions and our wants in life.

While the moments might be rare, while we might be in darkness of the gym or of our own minds, to have hope for the future. To have recognition that every little thing we do, and can do, matters. That if we want to be great, if we want to pursue something grander than what we have or what we are, that all we have to do is try, and try, and try again. To refine our patterns, to shut up and do the work, and to constantly show up.

Because it’s in the rare moments, the ones in front of nobody, that we find what we’re truly made of.


Mat Fraser Teaches Us To Not Fear Failure

Fraser was quoted early on with CNN saying that “For a long time I hated that [silver] medal,” the 29-year-old American said. “It kept me up at night. It was a source of disappointment. Now I wouldn’t trade that medal for anything.” What can we take away from a legacy like his?

To not fear failure. To not let it define us. But to instead, to welcome it, become at peace from it, and to most of all, learn from it. His legacy can teach us that progress isn’t this overwhelming dose of knowledge and improvement of life, but rather, simplicity, refining, and the clarification to the most basic questions of our lives.

  • What do I want?
  • What direction do I want to go?
  • What am I willing to do to achieve that?
  • What do I have to give up?
  • How will I do it?

In doing so, we can not only find fulfillment in our sport or our training or our athletic endeavors, but instead, in all that we do. In our lives, in our relationships, and in our experiences. In doing so, we can free ourselves from anything that obscures our passions and our desires for excellence, within our own selves. Whatever that may be, whatever podium or triumph you wish to stand tall upon with satisfaction and gusto.

Mat Fraser Retires - Swolverine

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The Hope Of The Future

In 2016, Fraser gave us hope for the future of a sport we love so dearly. In 2021, at the announcement of Mat Frasers Retirement, he gives us the same thing. It’s not a blind optimism, please don’t mistake it for that. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the daunting tasks ahead of us or the things that stand in our way. It’s not just sitting and watching from the sidelines or the stands, no, it’s not that either.

If you ever had the opportunity to be in the stadium when Fraser was competing, then you know the type of hope I’m talking about. Synonymously, if you have followed his journey on social media or in the news, you may feel just the same way. That’s the enormity of his impact, and the hope that he gave us through his example of the way he carried himself in the sport and in his personal life.

He didn’t shirk from a fight.

He welcomed it.

When we say he gave us hope, we mean this: despite the voice inside us that insists we’re not enough, despite all the evidence on the contrary, that we all have another voice within us, sharing that there’s something grand waiting for us, so as long as we have the courage to pursue it.

That destiny will not be written for us.
That we must get out into the arena, onto the platform, and earn it for ourselves.

That all the men, women, and children of the sport, can obtain greatness, most of all, within themselves.

That is the hope that Mat Fraser gave us.

Mat Fraser Retires - Swolverine

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