Greg Glassman

2011 CrossFit Games

Greg Glassman's Insights into the Open

CrossFit's Founder and CEO Explains the Reasons Behind the Change

The first step in qualifying for the CrossFit Games will be different this year. For six weeks, athletes from around the world will compete in a weekly workout, with the best athletes from each region qualifying for the regional level of competition. The Open format will expand the reach of CrossFit competition, making it available to anyone with access to basic equipment and a video camera. 

Some have questioned the change to an online competition format, but CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman argues that they were an inevitable result of the expansion of the sport of fitness. With interest in CrossFit growing at a rapid rate, CrossFit HQ was going to have to begin gathering the results in an expanding online database, whether or not they stemmed from official Sectional competitions. 

With this destiny for the CrossFit Games in mind, it made sense to make the switch over to the new format this year, when it is a smoother transition, rather than waiting a few years to make the change. The end result will be a first in sports history, a universally available competition.

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16 comments on this entry

1. Nukemarine wrote...

I love hearing this stuff. It was obvious that sectionals would soon be outgrown requiring either sub-sectionals or what CFHQ is doing now. Plus, it's not like this hasn't been done before. There were last chance video qualifiers for regionals. In addition, CFHQ did a version of this with the masters qualification happening with the same workout at all the regionals. Basically, it's not new, just on a larger scale.

I hope that the success of the sectionals (which I do think will be a success) this year, can open the door to Quarterly sectional competitions. This can in turn can play into what was discussed on one video of the Tahoe Roundtable about a year-round competition circuit.

By the way, is it five bucks per week, or five bucks just to be able to submit up to six weeks?

2. Rebecca wrote...

Its very fun to see the qualification process evolve out of necessity just as you see in many aspects of life.

A few questions/concerns...

As far as judging goes, is there any guidelines around who will be able to judge at the gyms/affiliates? Will they have any skin in the game if they count bad reps and its discovered? What are the basic standards we are setting up for this since it seems likely the athletes competing will be judged by their peers at the gym and not necessarily the trainers or owners?

As far as it being called "online" I would like to see every gym/affiliate manage to that goal and video tape their athletes performing these workouts. Not only do we get to see awesome athletes around the world but it also might help with universal standards. I have visited other affiliates and what my hometown gym would say is standard full range of motion, I have seen many others short full ROM quite a bit.....which is such a shame to say it happens but the reality is that it does.

Could you address any of the above?

3. Patrick McCarty wrote...

Rebecca, my guess is that any athlete who routinely shorts ROM will never even be CLOSE to the cutoff for the regionals. Now, I am 48 and trying for Master bracket 45-49 but if I was 26, I would not be worried about the guy doing poor squats at his affiliate and his affiliate certifying a bogus score, I would worry more about the hundreds of monster badasses whose times will be miles ahead of bad-squat guy. I am telling you, there are just too many elite athletes out there whom the cheaters and half-assers will never even approach, score-wise, battling for too-few slots.

The only exception I can forsee is if there is an already elite athlete who is right on the cusp, and his affiliate nudges him over the edge by allowing a bad rep or two. But that's the margin of error we have to live with, as does ANY sport, professional or amature. Refs miss illegal hits. Umps call strike on pitches that are clearly balls. Teams have made the world series on controversial calls. It's the reality of an imperfect world.

And we'll never know if it happens, really. So I say why worry. I am just going to work as hard as I can, bust my ass in the wods, and hope my scores carry me to LA.

4. Rebecca wrote...

Patrick...couldn't agree more, I just hope that there are videos with guidelines on what counts and what doesn't, just so there is a visual and also written guidelines for those of us who don't frequently have to judge or call we know what exactly we are looking for...

5. RayG wrote...

The masters have been doing something like this each week through and the WOD of the week. We are working on our 5th WOD. Take a look and do a WOD and post a time if you are over 40 and breathing. The method CFHQ has proposed is going to be great...a truly open qualifying methodology that will provide access to everyone who wants to try. May be we can even have "fantasy CrossFit Teams"!

6. Ron McKinstray wrote...

Cannot stop thinking that an opportunity has been missed. With this format CrossFit HQ could have advertised the Games in the fitness press complete with fantastic prize money and stipulated that anyone could enter but must qualify at a registered affiliate.

This could have driven people to boxes who had not ventured there before and with exposure to CrossFit and the box, created a new group of CrossFitters.

Whilst I can understand the desire to make the games open to all, the above could have been an excellent marketing tool and would have provided some control on the standards of ROM that everyone fears will happen.

CrossFit is the Community, not just a video of some guy in a "Big Box" doing a bad ROM workout.


7. Jeff wrote...

I'd like to make a suggestion on the "format" of this Games website. What is happening is that important details or being released piecemeal as basically blog posts by HQ. Sometimes, important details are contained in the following comments by HQ staff to a blog post.

I'd suggest that you somehow create a single page related to the 2011 Games with the details all in one place. So, dates, fees, tickets, standards, etc. can all be found together in one place rather than spread over weeks buried in posts and comments.
Please continue the daily/regular posts on scouting, athletes, human interest stories. But pull all important details and info together in one place and update that one place as new information is revealed.

8. Evan wrote...

To HQ:

I'm an affiliate owner, and as Coach suggested we are trying to get a bunch of affiliates together, but one of the things that slow it down is not knowing what equipment we will need, so if a smaller affiliate wants to take a turn hosting it we can't plan ahead. Is there any info that will be disseminated to us? Maybe a list of equipment needed, ropes, GHD's, and rowers probably being the biggest issues. With this input we could plan a much bigger event. Thanks for the input and we definitely look forward to the new format.

9. Tony Budding wrote...

We are programming the Open workouts as simply as possible so that we maximize the opportunity for everyone in the world to participate. We know what gear is most common and available for the majority of CrossFitters. We're not going to release the workouts early or even the equipment required. But we certainly recognize the implications of the programming and are taking that into consideration.

10. Jewels wrote...

@ Jeff#7 - agree with your suggestion! A common place for all 2011 information would be very helpful!

11. Cody Bradford wrote...

I still don't buy any of this. I was looking forward to a weekend event, and was so disappointed to find out the new format. I wish a 'phone in' competition like this was used more as a way to have some type of 'regular season' competitions, perhaps as a way to establish some type of standings going in to sectionals. The 'it would've been too complicated' explanation seems like such a cop out. In my opinion this is a huge leap backwards.

12. Billy Hicks wrote...

When is the first day the open begins? And as Tony Buddings video stated, it will be $10 per individual residing in the U.S. for the open, but when is the money due and all we need is a video submitted by the end of the week of our clients who wish to compete?

13. Heath Powell wrote...

It looks like March 13th is the first week.

14. Clay Hamilton wrote...

I understand that team members all register first as individuals. However I am not clear on the distinction between the two.

If you attach yourself to a team are you out of the individual competition? Is it one or the other? Or do you basically have the choice to try for an individual spot and if you dont make but your team does, go as a team member? (provided you added yourself to that team at registration)

15. Clay Hamilton wrote...

Sorry Tony one more question.

The wording states "the best athletes from each region qualifying for the regional level of competition". To me this indicates that athletes are not selected by sections anymore. Is this correct. Last year X amount of athletes were taken from each Sectional. This year is it just one big pool? So the top 60 athletes from each Region regardlesss of what state or section they were from?

16. John wrote...

I've noticed that there is some talk of ROM problems as athletes, I know that there will be margen of error in some movements in the WOD. We are given regulations as athletes , but what about being a do we know that aren't a new person to Crossfit or a crossfitter that's been in the game for a couple of years and cert 1 qualified? I'm just worried that someone will put in a bogus score and push a elite athlete out of a spot!
I'm not a big fan of this way, but rather like going for a weekend over a couple of weeks seeing other athletes compete in full comp atmosphere!


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