Updated: Sep 2, 2020
CrossFit has announced a change to the format for the 2020 CrossFit Games dates and format that will separate the Games into two stages: an online competition in athletes’ home countries where the top five men and top five women will advance and an in-person finals in California to crown the Fittest Man and Fittest Woman on Earth in California.
A recent briefing call with athletes revealed an insight into the first part of the CrossFit Games 2020 format, with details about potential workouts and equipment requirements for all athletes.
This news comes as a shock to the world, rocked by Coronavirus, who have had CrossFit Games spectating hopes dashed with the lockdown. Especially seeing as there are still travel bans in place for many countries, with the US Covid situation worsening still.
Many have criticised the change to the Games format. Some say that it is too soon to be running a competition and potentially risking the safety of athletes, judges, volunteers, media staff and potentially spectators.
However, new CrossFit CEO Eric Roza says, “The 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games are a go! At CrossFit, we are always energized by a challenge, and hosting a worldwide sporting event in the age of COVID is no exception. We are excited to be able to deliver the CrossFit Games to our athletes, fans, and CrossFit gym members in 158 countries through a two-stage format that combines a worldwide online competition with a small in-person finals in Northern California. This innovative format will help us protect the safety of our athletes while delivering a world-class Games experience to identify the world’s fittest individuals.”
Eric Roza has been a refreshing and welcome change from previous, discgraced CEO Greg Glassman, especially with Roza's recent CrossFit Town Hall, in which he outlined changes to the company, open and outlined the diverse and inclusive future of CrossFit.
In alignment with this news announcement, Crossfit outlined the main elements of the new CrossFit Games format:
A roster of the 30 men and 30 women who were invited to the 2020 CrossFit Games, competing from their homes or local gyms in one of 16 different countries.
A first stage that will determine final placements and prize money for Games winners from 6th to 30th place.
Invitations for the top five men and women to compete in Northern California in the finals under strict safety protocols.
Determination of dates for the competition based on input from the athletes. Dates will be announced by mid-August.
A first stage that will take place in September, and an in-person finals for the five top men and women roughly four to five weeks later.
Filming and streaming of all events for fans on the CrossFit Games site, and broad promotion of the Games across mainstream and social media.
The highest-quality judging for every athlete, in person by an experienced member of CrossFit’s Seminar Staff.
In a recent Fitness with Friends episode from the Talking Elite Fitness podcast, reigning, four-time CrossFit Games champion Mathew Fraser discussed the Zoom call this year’s Games athletes had with Dave Castro and Justin Bergh. During that interview Fraser said the athletes were asked if they had access to a 400-meter track.
This implies that Castro may be planning outdoor events as well as those in gyms. But as usual with Castro, it is all smoke and mirrors until he announces through CrossFit.com the actual events. We all know his cryptic Instagram posts and he rigorous planning and testing of events.
Some athletes however, may not have access to running outdoors or have concerns about the conditions they would be in, so this is something to bear in mind.
As per a recent athletes call, Castro has indeed revealed more information about the equipment requirements for athletes and other details around the 2020 CrossFit Games.
Athletes were told they would need certain items to help verify workouts (much like the open) like a chosen judge, scales, measuring tape and distance rollers to measure longer distances.
Another major point is that all athletes have been told they will compete alone in private at local times during a time window and scores to be shared upon completion by all athletes which means there will be no fans or spectators at all.
The equipment list was shared with the athletes but is not yet publicly available, according to athletes this list includes basic gym equipment used in programming for the open with one exeption, the GHD machine.
Absent from the list were machines like the Concept2 Rowing machin, Bike Erg, Assault bike and odd object items like d-balls or sandbags.
As predicted above, the call also revealed details of a running portion of the first part of the games online, using the distance rollers and certified judge. As a significant element of fitness, Running has been excluded from many online-style workouts for fear of accurate judging so it will be an interesting challenge to see how each athlete can verify this. In addition to this, the running surface may differ significantly, paved roads or tracks or trails will have different terrain and other elements such as weather, wind and rain will have a significant impact on running times.
Much like other CrossFit games formats, the full program of events is likely to not be released until closer to the time, to give the element of unknown and unknowable which the games loves to mention.
“The world is dealing with an unprecedented crisis,” said Dave Castro, CrossFit Director of Sport. “After extensive discussions with athletes and public health officials, we decided that this format was the best way to preserve the spirit and substance of the Games and ensure athletes can compete for the title of Fittest on Earth in a safe and fair manner.” We will certainly see what safety measures are in place for these changes, in addition to the timing and CrossFit Games 2020 dates and format. We'll keep our eyes peeled...