Anytime a sport changes the rules, there are going to be some unintended consequences for better or worse; it’s just a part of making large scale changes to the qualification process. It’s unavoidable.
One of these unintended consequences is the team roster loophole. Here it is from Section 4.05 of the Rulebook:
- “A team’s six (6) members must comprise the four (4) athletes who competed at the Sanctionals competition on the same team, plus two (2) alternates (one man and one woman).”
- “…the team may select only from among those six members to field a team at the Games.”
- “If an athlete is listed on a Games team roster, that athlete is not eligible to compete on another team.”
Now for the important part.
- “If a member of a team also earns a qualifying spot as an individual athlete and elects to compete as an individual, the team must use its alternate to fill the remaining team spot.”
Nowhere does the Rulebook state that an athletes who’s already qualified and accepted as an individual cannot participate on a team.
Here’s the loophole that athletes and teams are taking advantage of.
- Jamie Greene helped ROMWOD/WIT take home the WZA title. Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, Greene was a critical addition to ROMWOD/WIT’s Wodapalooza team, which was widely considered to decline their invitation. But after the Open, they accepted and added (their alternate) Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and now they’re good to go to Madison.
- Rob Forte added current qualifiers James Newbury and Maddie Sturt to his Down Under CrossFit Championship team. Sturt and Newbury are both expected to go individual and it’s widely considered that their presence is there to secure a victory in Australia only to be replaced by one male and female alternate.
- Yesterday, Mayhem announced a Mayhem Europe team comprised of Laura Horvath, Gabriela Migala, Kristof Horvath and Daniel Lundgren. They will be competing at Lowlands Throwdown at the end of May. Laura Horvath is the unofficial national champion of Hungary and expected to compete as an individual, but Migala is the fittest in Poland. This team can’t lose two athletes and remain eligible so it seems more likely that Horvath is the ringer.
The bottom line: Nothing these teams or athletes are doing is against the rules. On the contrary, it’s completely legal. But the ability to have the second fittest woman on Earth join a team with the intention of earning that team a qualifying spot only to back out and compete as an individual is probably not how the Gamesmakers intended it to play out.