One of the changes that came from the restructuring of the 2019 CrossFit season is the race for National Champs. Now that each country claiming an affiliate has an athlete recognized in the Open, how does each country compare?
So how did each country’s “typical” Rx athletes stand in relation to other countries?
- Some methodology: We’ve defined a typical RX athlete as someone who ranks between the 25th and 75th percentile. To keep this comparison apples to apples, this review only includes countries with at least 300 male athletes or 200 female athletes between the ages of 18 and 34 and who submitted Rx scores for all five workouts.
- For both men and women, Russia and New Zealand stand out as having the fittest general populations. In Russia, a male athlete in the country’s 75th percentile ranks in the 87th percentile worldwide and female athlete in the country’s 75th percentile is in the 86th percentile worldwide.
- New Zealand has a higher Rx participation than the United States per capita.
One early concern about the new format was that the field of U.S. based athletes, who had qualified for previous CrossFit Games, would be decimated. The Open’s top 20 format has largely reduced that concern. Here’s a look at the countries sending the most athletes to the Games through the Open.
- The U.S. is still sending the most athletes to the Games at 34 total. While this number is down from 42 total last year, remember not everyone who competes at U.S.-based Regionals is a U.S. citizen, but if you factor in the number who’ll qualify from Sanctionals, it’s likely not that far off.
- U.S. based athletes will only represent 11% of the overall Games field in 2019, as already close to 300 athletes can earn a Games invite with 10 Sanctionals left and four wildcards remaining.
- Iceland, no surprise, stands out for sending three of the best female CrossFit athletes in the world from a very small pool of eligible athletes.
But when it comes to representation at the Games per Rx participant, consider this:
- The US is currently sending one Games athlete for every 1,266 athletes who completed the Open Rx, and is between the ages 18 and 34.
- Poland is sending one Games athlete per 65 athletes.
With the new qualification format and somewhere around 300 athletes, the disparity in fitness level is going to be a lot wider.
- During the Regionals era, athletes who made it to the second stage tended to hold an Open ranking inside the top 400.
- If we use that as the threshold, so far only 31% of the female national champions and 34% of the male national champions are at or above this level.
- Fun fact: In total, 23 national champions competed out of an affiliate located in the US.