Changes to the 2019 CrossFit Games Season
Whether or not you follow CrossFit HQ, the Games or dot com closely, you know now that the CrossFit Open is just around the corner. For most of us, all that means is we have five weeks of new tests to look forward to and tackle together. Luckily for us, the Open this year means that exact same thing. But for those who aim to compete at the CrossFit Games in August, the Open means something entirely different this year.
Shortly after the Games wrapped last year, CEO and founder of CrossFit Greg Glassman announced a major restructuring to the Games season. In the past, the path was pretty simple: 1) achieve a top 20 position in your region during the Open to earn a spot at Regionals; 2) finish top five at Regionals to earn a spot at the Games; 3) participate in and - if you’re good enough - podium at the Games. All of that changed after Glassman’s announcement.
In an effort to refocus CrossFit’s efforts on decreasing prevalence and risk of chronic disease and obesity, Glassman’s new structure rewards the spread of CrossFit throughout the world. There are now three ways that you qualify for the games:
Finish top 20 in the worldwide Open
Finish top in your country in the worldwide Open (there are currently ~160 countries in the world with at least one CrossFit affiliate)
Win a CrossFit-sanctioned event - weekend competitions like Wodapalooza, Granite Games and the Dubai Fitness Championships have become arenas for competitors to punch their ticket to the Games, instead of just being a way to make some extra cash (although they still do that too).
While these changes were received with mixed reactions upon their announcement, they actually make a lot of sense. Awarding a country “winner” a spot at the Games encourages more countries to not only open affiliates but open more affiliates, increasing the competition and chances of representing at the Games. Doing away with what had become a glitzy and likely costly production around Open workout announcements and running the Regionals competitions also make economic sense. Why not use existing infrastructure and make winning those competitions mean more?
Certainly there are some drawbacks: with the increased number of available spots, the Games themselves will have to take on a different structure, essentially having “elimination rounds” of sorts, where the field will be cut down quickly in the first few days to leave the final 10-20 athletes vying for podium honors. If that’s the case, do the athletes from less-established countries (established in the sense of their competitive CrossFit prowess) really want to participate in what might be perceived as an uneven playing field? Is it worth is to pay for airfare and accommodations to fly from Nigeria or Guatemala or Thailand or Croatia to Madison, WI, only to be sent packing after the first event? Further, is there really an off-season anymore? This coming year is an anomaly as the Open will switch to October, shortly after the Games. Then sanctioned events are run from November until June. If you keep just missing that top podium spot and don’t qualify via the Open, you run the risk of having to stay “peaked” for a really long time. Burnout and risk of injury for these athletes will be even more likely than it was before.
These are all questions and outcomes that remain to be seen. This year will be an interesting one as some athletes have already punched their tickets to the Games (read: Mat Fraser and Samantha Briggs) prior to the Open. However, for us, the only real strangeness will occur with the dual Open. After 2019, things will settle into a predictable pattern with Open prep now falling in September and our late winter/spring months being “Open free.”
As always, we look forward to the Open for the community and the challenge. But be sure that for some and on a global stage, the challenge just got a lot harder and the community just got a lot more competitive.
Metcon - For time:
10 - 8 - 6 - 4 - 2
Power cleans (135/95)
11 minute cap
*Athletes may use matadors, rings, boxes or benches for their dips. Coaches will spend time going over the movement standards and help you determine which progression is best for you today.