What are the Effects of the Age Group Games Season Changes?
When the changes to the CrossFit Games season were announced in August 2018, teens and masters athletes were left wondering whether age group divisions would return. Once the official 2018-2019 CrossFit Games season rulebook was released in January it revealed that the age group divisions would remain mostly intact but with a two key changes.
2019 Open By the Numbers:
- 172,388 teen and masters athletes registered the Open.
- 65,042 teen and masters athletes completed all five WODs RX.
The first change: An athlete’s overall Open placement will no longer contribute to an athlete’s overall score in the Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ).
- Context: Take a look at the 2018 AGOQ leaderboard for Male 35-39. You’ll notice the first scored event of five is an athletes’ Open Finish. At the top of the list, Kyle Kasperbauer finished 7th in the Open and so received 7 points. That accounts for 20% of his overall score.
- Going forward, all 200 athletes who qualify for the AGOQ start from zero. If an athlete wins their divisions in the Open they don’t start with a leg up. Starting in 2014, Open placement accounted for 20% of an athletes overall AGOQ score which is pretty significant.
- Scoring an athletes’ Open placement essentially eliminated 75% of the age group field from earning a qualifying position to the CrossFit Games. There are a handful of exceptions but very few.
- Similar to Regionals, the AGOQ workouts are heavier and more skilled. It’s designed to be a more advanced test to see who’s ready for the big show. Removing the Open score will allow athletes who are stronger and more skilled a chance to prove their fitness on a more even playing field.
The second change: All age group divisions have been reduced from 20 spots to 10.
Taking a look back at some of the previous years, this change has the potential to have some significant changes in the outcome for masters divisions, less so for Teens.
- 42 masters from the 11th to 20th AGOQ places (and 11th to 20th Open places from 2011-2013 before the AGOQ, 2010 had a global qualifier at each Regional) have podiumed at the Games. That’s 17.1% of all masters podium athletes.
- A total of 7 athletes actually won their division who placed between 11th and 20th in the AGOQ.
- Only three Teenagers (12.5%) have been 11th place or higher in the AGOQ and then went on to podium at the Games. None of them won their division.
The Bottom Line: Quite a few masters athletes from places 11 – 20 have gone on to stand on the podium at the Games. By removing an athlete’s Open score from the AGOQ it has the potential to balance this out a little more. It alleviates the pressure on masters to peak for the Open then maintain that peak level for the next two months. As one multi-year masters athlete shared with us, it’s usually the healthiest and the fittest athletes who stand on the podium at the Games.
The Age Group Online Qualifier kicks off May 2 – 6, 2019.