YIKES! There are less than 4 weeks til the 2020 CrossFit Open kicks off on Thursday October 10th (2019).
It only seems like a few weeks ago that the CrossFit Games finished and crowned our winners, Tia Toomey and Mat Fraser but this is CrossFit, and you should be used to the fast pace of things by now.
What? You’re new to Crossfit? Or are you’re suffering with some lingering mid-wod brain fog and don’t know what I’m on about? Well, here’s a recap for you... check out the incredible Engine Sam Briggs vs Froning vs Thorisdottir vs Khalipa vs Holmberg in 14.5
Greg Glassman (man in charge) first set up the CrossFit Games in 2007 at his mate’s ranch (Dave Castro’s parent’s ranch to be exact). About 100 local crossfit enthusiasts showed up (plus some body builder types) to determine who was the fittest (er, it was the CrossFitter of course).
Fast forward to 2018 and you’ve got 430,000 CrossFitters from around the world competing. Obviously this was too many people to compete at the same venue, so in 2011 the online CrossFit Open was created so that the field could be whittled down and the best athletes from each geographic region went forward to a Regional Competition. The Regional winners then qualified for the CrossFit Games, held in August
So until recently everyone competed in The Open, including most people in your box, the full time athletes and even your own coach. Everyone completed the same WOD, announced in theatrical style on a Thursday evening. You then had until Monday morning to complete the WOD as best you can and submit your score.
Many boxes have a dedicated Open WOD day where everyone completes that week’s workout. It’s usually a crazy, electric atmosphere where all athletes are cheered on. In my box, it is the highlight of the week, known as “Friday Night Light’s” and we celebrate with great food and maybe a few drinks afterwards.
Simple huh? Well yes, the WODs were simple and available scaled or RX. But do not be fooled, these were designed by a devilish mind and not only ripped the living soul from your body in less then 7-12 minutes, they also had you questioning “should I do it again?”
So what’s different now?
Controversially Mr Glassman decided to make some changes to the way athletes qualified for the 2019 CF Games. For a couple of reasons:
- The numbers of people taking part in the Open has grown massively so a new format was inevitable
- The Regionals were extremely expensive to run and organise
- Mr Glassman likes to mix things up (my opinion)
So the way athletes qualified for the Games changed a bit:
- The Open ran as usual for everyone with the Number 1 Male and Female from each country automatically qualifying for the Games (In the UK this was Elliot Simmonds, CF YAS and Sam Briggs, Train Manchester) Hurrah! And we all got to have a bash too.
- Athletes could also qualify at a SANCTIONAL EVENT. This is a fancy name for a CrossFit Competition held by an external company, authorised (sanctioned) by CF HQ. In Jan 2019, Strength in Depth held a Sanctional event in London. It was a fab event and you should defo go if you can, in 2020.
- WILD CARD! It seems a little unclear what decision making process guides these wild cards, but apparently CF HQ has 4 places that they can hand out to athletes who have not qualified through either of the above ways. In 2019, Ben Smith (CF Krypton) and Hunter McIntyre (not a CrossFitter) were awarded places. Of course most of us understood how Ben had earned his place. Competing at the CrossFit Games every year since 2009, finishing on the podium 4 times and a WIN in 2015. His qualification for the Games in 2019 only prohibited by knee surgery. However he put on an impressive performance at The Games.
So now, as we approach the 2020 Open (held in October 2019), there are 28 Sanctionals lined up across 21 countries. It will be interesting to see how the athletes approach things. What strategy will they decide upon in order to maximise their chances of qualification. How many “Games Level” athletes will actually compete in the Open at their optimum level of fitness?
The Open for YOU
For the rest of us, the Open has a different purpose. We know we are not going to qualify for anything (not even in your dreams are you likely to be in the mix for the Master’s online qualifiers). But it gives a real opportunity to test yourself, against your friends at your box, friends at other boxes, against yourself from last year. You will be surprised at how competitive some people get, and how many “injuries” people get if they don’t do so well. The ones that like to “accidentally mis-count reps” are found out at last, hurrah!
It also gives a very public declaration of what your weaknesses are and what you can focus on going forward, to make you a more rounded athlete.
But most importantly, it gives everyone the chance to cheer the whole box on. Fostering some good old CrossFit spirit. It’s so easy to get bogged down in your own performance sometimes that we forget to notice the challenges and achievements of others.
Sure, I’m going to get frustrated with my performance, ability, limitations and bad attitude! But there’s nothing like shouting at someone at the top of your voice and cheering their success to get some perspective back in your head. I’m going to make it my mission to not go home sulking after the WOD this year! Surely I can achieve that?