As many have been hoping for, CrossFit headquarters has released this season’s rule book in a rather timely fashion. As always, there is a ton of information to sift through. The first question people have been asking is, what are the continents? The first stage of competition will once again be the Open. This year, however, it is the continent you represent, based on your citizenship not your residency, that will serve as the funnelling process into the second stage of competition. The recognised continents are North America, Europe, Oceania, Asia, South America and Africa. This is a notable distinction. There will be a new Continental Leaderboard this season that will be used to determine which athletes advance from the Open to the quarter-finals stage of the season. As always there will be prize money for the top individual performances in each Open event. This year, however, there is an additional financial incentive for top performers. The first place finishers worldwide will earn US$15,000, with prizes paid out for the top five finishers in both the men’s and women’s individual divisions. Can Sigmundsdottir or Davidsdottir ever beat Toomey? From 2007 until 2017 athletes who competed on teams in the official CrossFit Games season were required to (primarily) train at the same location. In 2018 and 2019 CrossFit did away with that rule allowing for the creation of global super teams. It seems that era is no more. Once again teammates must meet specific training and geographical requirements to be part of the same team. This is also in line with the mantra CrossFit’s new leadership under Eric Roza has been preaching which is to reinvigorate the importance of the affiliate. Inclusivity seems to be a huge cornerstone of the new leadership at CrossFit headquarters. This year there are eight adaptive divisions available for each gender. This is a massive step forward in terms of representing a sometimes underappreciated part of the CrossFit community. Another seemingly positive addition this season is a third option for each workout. In addition to the RX and scaled versions, there will be a third foundations version for each event of the Open. There will be specific leader boards for athletes who do all the Open workouts scaled or as foundational. View this post on Instagram A post shared by CrossFit Games (@crossfitgames) Due to the various Coronavirus pandemic restrictions across the world, CrossFit headquarters is also providing an equipment-free version for all tests throughout the Open. Once again, for athletes who do all the workouts in this way, there will be a separate leader board. However, athletes who perform equipment-free versions of the Open events are unable to advance to the next stage of competition. While the Open is the primary competition for most CrossFitters, the introduction of the quarter-finals this year will open the door for hundreds, if not thousands, of CrossFit hopefuls to advance beyond the first stage of competition. According to section 2.01 of this year’s rule book, based on Open rank, individual men and women in the top 10 per cent on each continent are eligible to participate in the quarter-finals. The top 25 per cent of the total number of teams per continent will be eligible to participate in the quarter-finals. As this is an entirely new stage of competition, there are several sections detailing the event format, scoring, judging and video submission. Froning responds to Fraser’s ‘boldfaced lie’ As in years past, age groups will send a select group from the Open to an online qualifier. This year, however, based on Open finish rank, the top 10 per cent of age-group athletes worldwide in each division will qualify for the Age-Group Online Qualifier. Age-group divisions at the Games will return to the format of including the top 20 qualifiers in each division. So, what does all this mean? As is the case every year, the rule book is extremely dense (as it needs to be). But this year the overarching themes are more apparent than ever. The CrossFit methodology is meant to be inclusive and within reach for anyone. The changes to the competitive season for 2021 do a phenomenal job of creating realistic opportunities for anyone to register, compete and feel good about their participation in the Open this year.