CrossFit Games

The Case for a Ben Smith Wildcard is Stronger Than You Think

July 24, 2019 by
Photo Credit: Ben Smith
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When Ben Smith made this Instagram post a day ago it sparked an Internet conversation/informal petition around giving Smith a wildcard invite to the CrossFit Games.

  • Adam Klink’s comment — “Like this comment if Ben should be invited to the games” — has garnered just shy of 400 likes.
  • The post also garnered supporting comments from Noah Ohlsen, Jason Carroll, Laura Horvath, Tim Paulson, Kristi Eramo, Cole Sager and others.

While no one from CrossFit HQ has yet to reach out to Smith, there is technically a precedent for this type of invitation.

  • In 2013, Kristan Clever took 4th in the Southern California Regional, one spot out of a qualifying position. Only the top three qualified back then.
  • Clever suffered a shoulder injury during Regionals event 1, hindering her performance throughout the remainder of the weekend.
  • CrossFit exercised its right to offer Clever an invite to compete at the Games.
  • Per the rulebook at the time: “CrossFit Inc. reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to invite past winners, guest athletes, Teams or others, to participate in any stage of competition.”

Per Section 4.06 in the 2019 Rulebook: “CrossFit Inc. reserves the right to invite four individual athletes to compete at the Games. The means by which an athlete can earn one of the four at-large bids is solely up to CrossFit Inc.’s discretion.”

  • Hunter McIntyre is getting one of those invites.
  • Three invites remain but there’s no requirement that they’re used.

Smith, has been recovering from minor knee surgery a good portion of the season.

  • He withdrew from Dubai CrossFit Championship in December, deciding instead to go ahead with the procedure the following month. “Made the decision to go through with surgery to get my knee finally cleared up. Had a meniscus tear, cyst, and tears and wearing away of cartilage under my kneecap.”
  • He finished 4765 in the CrossFit Open worldwide despite being mid-recovery.
  • His best chance of qualifying was at the Rogue Invitational. However, Smith had barely more than a month of hard, dedicated training before the Sanctional. He finished 14th.
  • Smith’s last chance was at Granite Games 12 days later. He improved his finish to 10th but still far short of an invite.

Our take: While there’s a precedent for inviting Smith, given the time frame (1 week before the Games) and the fact that no one has reached out to him, makes it seem very unlikely an invite will be extended. On the flip side, Reebok would only have to spin up a uniform for one of their sponsored athletes and Smith has already stated he’s ready to roll if the invite came. If he did get the invite that would extend his streak to 11 straight Games appearances.

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