When the announcement was made of having the Open as a direct qualifier to the CrossFit Games, many presumed correctly that there would be, in the very least, a step up in programming to match.
What no one has talked about, at least so far, is how newly added implications of the Open would affect the administrative side of the Open as far as score verification, video validation, and the judging of top performances.
“We’re reviewing video from more athletes, and further down the leaderboard than in previous years,” confirmed General Manager of the CrossFit Games Justin Bergh. “It’s more time consuming but necessary. This is what top athletes should expect going forward.”
“We’re reviewing video from more athletes, and further down the leaderboard than in previous years. It’s more time consuming but necessary. This is what top athletes should expect going forward.” — Justin Bergh, CrossFit Games General Manager
Fans used to the 48-hour turnaround in announcing weekly winners perhaps have noticed a considerably longer delay in publishing official scores. Worldwide winners for 19.1 and 19.2 weren’t announced until more than a week after the score submission deadlines.
We spoke to several top athletes worldwide who all confirmed that CrossFit HQ has requested several of their videos thus far for further verification.
“That’s how it should be since we are going from the Open to the Games,” said Travis Mayer, who currently sits in 6th place worldwide. “Videos should be sent in every week, anyone in a qualifying spot should send all five.”
In workout 19.2 Rich Froning and Brooke Haas – who initially had the top scores in the world – were assessed a three second penalty for every missed double under rep during the additional video verification.
A completed double under rep takes less than a second, meaning the penalty is significantly larger than the cost of performing the rep in the first place, and it knocked Haas from the top spot which would have netted her a $2,019 prize for the top performance worldwide.
CrossFit officials explained that penalties are being assessed on a movement by movement basis.
The actions taken so far along with the 2019 Rulebook certainly points towards a stricter standard like Mayer suggested, albeit not explicitly. Section 1.30 states that the top 5 in each country, and the top 40 worldwide “may be required to submit videos for review,” and that “Athletes may have their score(s) invalidated (changed to a score of “0”) for the requested workout(s) if they fail to submit video(s) as required.”
Conclusion: A cautionary tale, a word to the wise, fitness food for thought
The truth is, stricter standards are irrelevant if you’re consistently holding yourself, and your athletes to the highest standards on a daily basis, and the window for allowances otherwise is closing rapidly.
If you’re an athlete that’s anywhere near the top of your country’s or the worldwide leaderboard, there’s no excuse to not video your workouts, or expect that you’ll slide by with questionable movement standards.
The Open still isn’t perfect, and never will be. But rules and regulations are only going to tighten going forward, because they have to. This new system and the goal of finding the fittest on earth demands it.