A few weeks ago Katrin Davidsdottir and Annie Thorisdottir stood atop the podium together at the 2019 Butchers Classic, a CrossFit licensed event in Denmark. The former CrossFit Games champions teamed up as a pair and promptly dominated the event, walking away with a handful of prizes including individual spots at the 2020 Norwegian CrossFit Championship in February.
On the surface level, this news wouldn’t be more than a simple headline that wouldn’t cause much of a stir: two of the biggest names in the sport dominate a local event in their general area of the world and earn a spot at a Sanctional event that they could easily earn later anyways. However, the Sanctional spot earned by both of Iceland’s beloved “Dottirs,” points towards the building of a foundational system outside of the current scope of the CrossFit Games season that could help Sanctionals in the future.
More ways to qualify in 2019-2020 season.
The Norwegian CrossFit Championship (NCC) offering up a spot to their final event is just one of a handful of instances where sanctioned events are teaming up with other local and outside events to offer up competition opportunities and incentives to participate in the system.
- The NCC is also offering spots at their event for the individual winners of the Tyngre Tango event in Sweden, and the individual and team winners of the Norwegian Throwdown.
- CrossFit Strength in Depth has helped form the U.K. Event Alliance, where the winning teams from four different events will gain entry into their finals.
- The CrossFit German Throwdown is offering spots at their finals to top two individuals, teams, and top two German finishers at their sister event the German Throwdown Classic.
- The CrossFit Atlas Games will be awarding spots to the winning teams of the elite division for the Dtown throwdown, Element Team Challenge, Synergie Winterpalooza, and CrossFit 306 3on3 Throwdown.
- The CanWest CrossFit Championship is awarding individual invites to the winning male and female athletes from the Fraser Valley Throwdown.
- Mayan CrossFit Classic will give the male and female winners of FitLand and Black Challenge MX direct invites to the elite individual division.
Not all of the outside events above are licensed either, which means Sanctionals are being proactive in building organizational relationships outside the bubble of the CrossFit Games system to help reinforce participation in their event.
The choice of events is geographically specific as well. In the case of Norway, as a Scandinavian event, they’ve chosen to partner with events in other Scandinavian countries as a means of supporting the CrossFit community in their region. Mayan is partnering with two Latin American competitions.
The Sanctionals system gives each event plenty of room to operate freely and iron out best practices for the sustainability of their event, one of which being ways to encourage and increase participation from a wider audience. Working with other local events is a grassroots way to build relationships and market their event to athletes and affiliate communities who may end up getting lost in the fray of the season otherwise.
It also builds a natural pathway for up and coming athletes to develop and progress their way to a Sanctional outside of the typical qualifier format. This practice is commonplace in other professional sports such as golf and tennis, where access to larger events can be gained through lesser-known regional events.
It would make sense then if more partnerships of this nature start to pop up as events look outward to their communities because there is a mutual benefit for both events by keeping athletes and affiliates engaged, while providing more earned opportunities to compete.