The 2019 CrossFit Games season officially kicks off tomorrow, but there won’t be an official rulebook for the season opener in Dubai, a fact which has alarmed top athletes and coaches trying to plan for the season.
The only clear indication CrossFit HQ has given regarding the release date is before the 2019 CrossFit Open.
“How will nationality be determined for national champions in the Open?”
“What happens when an athlete qualifies on a team via a sanctioned event and then as an individual in the Open? If that athlete accepts their individual invitation, who takes that team’s place?”
“If an athlete wins two sanctioned events, who does the next invitation pass to?”
“Who is handling drug testing at these sanctioned events?”
“As it’s been stated previously, will the top 20 athletes worldwide in the Open qualify for the Games or will that number change?”
These are just a few of the questions we’ve heard athletes, coaches and event organizers vocalized in the three-and-a-half-months since we broke news of the changes.
Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that publicly over the past three-and-a-half months, HQ has done little to publicly assuage concerns, fears of rule changes, or provide answers to some of these basic questions.
No athletes or coaches were willing to speak on the record for this story for fear of putting a target on their back, but privately several expressed concern over the lack of an official rulebook.
“Nothing is set in stone until we have the rulebook,” said one top CrosFit Games coach, who asked to remain anonymous.
That uncertainty has also caused several in the elite community to sit back and remain on the sidelines rather than dive in only to find the assumed rules changed once the official ruling is released.
However, according to a Sr. CrossFit aide involved with sanctioning events, CrossFit HQ is taking into consideration the sanctioned events that will take place before the rulebook’s release “so that there’s nothing in the book that would retroactively harm or disqualify them.”
The rulebook has far reaching consequences.
In previous seasons, competitors have paid close attention to CrossFit’s nuanced rule changes. Failure to comply with any rule has been subject for immediate disqualification.
Back in June of last year, CrossFit Riviera, who won the Meridian Regional team division, was disqualified and their invitation to the 2017 CrossFit Games revoked for a minor rule infraction.
CrossFit Riviera violated CrossFit’s Licensee of Record statute according to CrossFit Games officials. However, the only way a team could abide by that would be to have the rulebook months before the season began.
In the 2017 CrossFit Open, the top two worldwide scores for 18.1 were invalidated for violating the rulebook’s “uncommon movement clause.” Presumably due to a large online backlash over the decision and some supporting evidence, the ruling was eventually reduced to a 30% penalty but the point still remains, but the point still remains — every detail in the CrossFit Games rulebook matters and some require months of pre-planning to abide by.
For now, the CrossFit community will have to wait a little longer before their questions get answered.