On Saturday, CrossFit released some news that many of us in the space had been expecting, and yet the details of the pending announcement were mere speculation until now.
The cancellation of the team competition for this year came as a surprise to no one. In fact, many of the teams who had qualified had already begun making arrangements for an opportunity to compete this summer independently of CrossFit headquarter’s decision.
More importantly, as a part of CrossFit’s announcement they made it clear that the intention is to host the elite individual competition on “The Ranch” in Aromas, California (specific dates still to be determined), only in a significantly reduced capacity. Instead of having over 250 total individual athletes as was originally planned for this season, there will instead be a maximum of 30 men and 30 women who eventually make up the field for the 2020 CrossFit Games, if they happen at all.
One big takeaway from this announcement is that nothing is guaranteed. The very last line of CrossFit’s announcement states that they “will continue to monitor events ... and provide updates as needed.” Finishing with the declaration that, “the field of athletes invited may be adjusted based on (future) guidelines.”
On April 16, we announced that we are reviewing all options to host the CrossFit Games in Aromas while monitoring events globally. That effort is ongoing. Due to current limitations on social gatherings, and professional sport in particular, the field of athletes in attendance will be reduced. The Open Since the inception of the CrossFit Open, the top 20 athletes on the Open leaderboard have always included the future CrossFit Games champion among their ranks, and the Open winner has gone on to become the Games winner eight times. The top 20 men and 20 women worldwide will receive invites to Aromas. If an athlete declines their invite, the invite passes to the next athlete. Sanctionals The ten Sanctionals that were able to host in-person competitions this season will be invited to send their champions to this year’s CrossFit Games. Sanctionals invites are affected by placement in the Open. If a Sanctionals champion has already qualified through the Open, the invite passes to the next athlete. This process will hold true for this reduced field. For this reason, some invites that were extended before the government lockdowns may pass back to the original invitee. Beginning today, all previously invited individuals will be contacted with an update on the status of their invite. There will not be a team competition at the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games. National Champions Last year, CrossFit Headquarters expanded the field of athletes in attendance at the Games to include the fittest athlete in every eligible country. In light of current constraints, it will not be possible to host the previously invited 239 national champions in Aromas. The national champion race will reset in 2021 with invites extended to champions who earn top placement in the upcoming CrossFit Open. 2021 Season The changes above have been made in consideration of the current challenges globally. The CrossFit Games will reset for the 2021 season with the intent of returning to crowning national champions and including teams, age group athletes, and a deep field of individuals competing for the title of Fittest on Earth in Madison, Wisconsin. #CrossFitGames @crossfitranch
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Having acknowledged that there is still a large degree of unknown surrounding if, how and when, the 2020 Games will happen, there are a few things we do know.
CrossFit led with a statement meant to assure its audience that this restriction in the number of participants should not affect the overall goal of the competition, which as stated by CrossFit Games director Dave Castro, is to find the fittest on earth.
“Since the inception of the CrossFit Open, the top 20 athletes on the Open leader board have always included the future CrossFit Games champion,” read the statement. That’s exactly who CrossFit will extend the first 20 invitations to – the top 20 in the Open – regardless of national champion status.
This leaves several athletes in a very precarious situation. Many who thought they had secured a spot at the Games, are now in limbo, unsure if enough athletes ahead of them on the leader board will decline, or potentially be unable to make the trip to California due to travel restrictions. Speculating about who will eventually comprise those athletes doesn’t seem worth the time yet, but still, the list of athletes in the top 20 of the Open is extremely impressive.
The remaining 10 spots for each gender will come from the winner (or highest finisher who was not in the revised top 20 of the Open) from each of the 10 sanctioned events that have already concluded. Again, in some cases, athletes who thought they had earned a spot, will find themselves once again on the outside looking in.
While this new format is bad news for certain athletes, ultimately, this is probably really good news for fans. CrossFit still has the potential to run any kind of competition they deem appropriate, but the idea of having only 30 men and 30 women compete at the Ranch brings both a certain level of prestige, and nostalgia with it.
Hopefully, with such a limited field, a majority, if not all, of these athletes will be able to compete throughout the weekend. With smaller numbers, and a legendary location, you can bet that Castro’s creative juices are flowing.
While there is still much that is up in the air, the most recent news from headquarters brings with it high hopes of restoration to a format and style of competition fans around the world are clamouring for.
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