CrossFit Games

Athletes Control Time in Shanghai

April 29, 2019 by
Photo courtesy of Asia CrossFit Championship.
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Athletes and spectators, both in person and online, might have noticed something different at the finish line at the Asia CrossFit Championship last weekend in Shanghai — buzzers more similar to those on the finish line of American Ninja Warrior than a CrossFit competition. 

How they work: Athletes crossing the finish line have to tap the buzzer for the timer to stop. Their official time ends when that buzzer is tapped. 

What they’re saying: “The margin of error with the buzzers is much lower compared to the chip timers, and it’s much cheaper too. I got the idea from Ninja Warrior, we thought if we leave it up to the judge, or even the machines, it’s not as good as leaving it up to the athlete, and it gives it a fun game show feel,” said Max Max, founder and event organizer.

  • Patrick Clark, head judge: “I think it lets the athlete take some control over their finish, we keep two separate times, we keep the stopwatch and the buzzer time, but it gives an athlete a better idea when they hit the button instead of just looking at a running clock as they finish.”
  • Rich Froning: “I think it’s one of the coolest things that’s been added to competition, it gives us some ownership over the finish. The chip timers can be a nuisance sometimes and it’s more convenient to have the buzzer and the individual lane clocks to see your time right there on the floor immediately.”
  • Chyna Cho: “I hope it shows up in more competitions, the chip timers were tough with trying to make sure you put the right foot across first, but I think it could be cool to do both just as a backup.”

Tommy Marquez, who was on the ground in Shanghai, mentioned he never saw a single athlete forget or miss it. 

  • “The buzzer provides a physical, tactile piece to the finish that allows for some emotion and excitement and it’s a great visual cue for the audience to see and look for at the finish line.”

The bottom line: They’re a lot less expensive than chip timers, more accurate than hand timers and you don’t need one for every athlete, just one for every lane. Back-up timers are still necessary in case the buzzer malfunctions, but this is a very innovative introduction to competition.

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