In late 2018 CrossFit founder Greg Glassman stated that CrossFit HQ would be placing more of an emphasis on CrossFit Health and withdrawing resources from the competitive side of CrossFit. Due to these changes the qualifying process for the 2019 CrossFit Games underwent a drastic transformation, CrossFit HQ announced that “Regionals” were to be replaced with independently run sanctional events which CrossFit Inc. trademarked as “Sanctionals”. The once exciting yet simple qualification process of Regionals was replaced by an inconsistent and chaotic system which confused even the most die-hard CrossFit fans.
Through the confusion of the new qualification format, there began to emerge an opportunity, if executed correctly, for media outlets and event organisers to develop ‘The Sport of Fitness’ into a legitimate professional worldwide tour which would allow athletes to make a living doing what they loved most…..but after the 2019 season (16 events in 11 different countries) had concluded we could see that something was seriously wrong with this new format.
Fittest in Cape Town, 2019 - Source: fittestincapetown.com
Because the majority of top athletes automatically qualified through the Open by finishing top 20 worldwide or by finishing first in their country (National Champion) it was unnecessary for them to compete at any of these Sanctional events. Many other well established individual Games athletes chose to go team because of the uncertainty of the Games season.
Brooke Wells after the Sprint event, CrossFit Games 2019 - Photo: Patrick Clark
A more complete and consistent qualification system must be developed.
- The Open will act only as a qualification into Sanctional events.
- Athletes will earn points by competing at Sanctional events and ranked after each competition.
- Athletes who do not automatically qualify to compete at Sanctional events may still qualify through each Sanctional event qualifier
- After the final Sanctional event of the season the top 20 or 30 ranked athletes would qualify to compete at the CrossFit Games.
- This new format will ensure that we see the fittest athletes qualify for the Games and also give fans around the world the chance to see the worlds best athletes compete head to head throughout the season on various occasions just like you watch the world’s best tennis players compete against each other week after week on the ATP Tour.
Fitness competitions must deliver a compelling, entertaining product that fans will want to watch, media outlets will want to cover and companies will want to sponsor.
- Events must be delivered in an entertaining, timely manner. This may take the form of having shorter, indoor lifting events, Friday night lights style say from 6pm – 9pm followed by a Saturday day session featuring classic CrossFit and endurance events where winners would be crowned in the afternoon with time left…of course…for the after party.
Tia-Clair Toomey, Clean event, CrossFit Games, 2019 - Source: thebarbellspin.com