The CrossFit Games dropped a bomb today on the individual competition, revealing the progression of cuts for the competition at the Games via a series of tweets and a formal announcement on the CrossFit Games website.
Here’s what we know:
- Approximately 50% cut in event 1. The field of 148 men and 134 women will narrow down to 75 athletes in each division after the first event.
- Cuts will be made to progressively to narrow the field down to 50, 40, 30, 20, and then to the final 10 athletes respectively.
- The team competition will also have cuts but we don’t know when.
- Announcements on scoring and schedule are on their way in the coming weeks.
Although fairly thin in terms of the full details, this announcement could have some major implications when you consider the following:
- Roughly 47% of the individual field will be sent packing after just one event at the Games, meaning that most of the lower-ranking National Champions or anyone who has a bad event will step on the competition floor once, then become a spectator.
- Through correspondence with athletes, we’ve learned that there will be a gear re-outfitting after the Friday events, which points towards the field being cut down to at least 40 athletes (the Games field size the past 4 years) by the end of competition Friday.
- That would mean nearly 72% of the field is cut at the halfway point, leaving another 2-3 cuts on Saturday to get down to the final 10 athletes by Sunday that Greg Glassman has stated was his goal.
- Multiple scoring table adjustments will need to be made throughout the competition to account for the largely fluctuating field early on. Different scoring tables add more or less weight to different events based on the spread.
- The team competition is already small so any cuts to the field carry significant weight, and open up a host of programming options with fewer bodies out on the competition floor. We discussed this more in “The Showdown of the ‘Super Teams.’”
- For what it’s worth: In 2017, the team competition was cut to ten teams for the finale, and the scoring table was not changed.
- We still don’t know the implications of athlete seedings that are based on Open scores, which is explicitly laid out in rulebook section 4.13.
The Elephant in the Room: When will the remaining cuts happen, and how will it affect the scoring system? In the modern era of the Games the scoring system has never had to account for 50 or more athletes, and the 100 point scoring table has never been adjusted mid-competition – both of which are all but guaranteed this year unless there is a drastic change in format. It’s possible that they could do a placement dependent system early on where points don’t matter, and you just have to stay above the cut line before the system resets with 40 athletes but that seems unlikely. Perhaps most important is the question of will they adjust the scoring table once the field gets below 40. Doing so would increase the points gap between placements and place a vastly larger emphasis on later events. This particularly hurts someone like Mat Fraser, who typically amasses a 100 plus point lead by Sunday and could see it evaporate despite finishes that would still be top five or ten.