Italian Showdown is First Sanctional to Forgo Qualifier

October 29, 2019 by

The 2020 Sanctionals season will showcase 28 different events on six continents, and all but one are using an online qualification process in order to determine who will take to the competition floor. But for the CrossFit Italian Showdown, now in its fifth year, the entry process will look a bit different from the other events.  

An open registration process: When registration opens for the CFIS on November 13th, 1500 spots across six divisions will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone who wants to register. All 1500 athletes will take to the competition floor for day 1 of the event, held in Riccione, Italy April 24-26, 2020, but only the top-ranking athletes will move on to the second and third days of competition.

Here’s how the competition structure breaks down:

  • Divisions include Elite 18-34, Master 35, Master 40, Master 45, Master 50+ and Teams of 4 (MM/FF). At the end of the three days of competition, the top elite male and female athletes will advance to the CrossFit Games, along with the winning team of 4.
  • All 1500 athletes will compete on day 1 in a series of 3 consecutive max-effort workouts, with a 1 minute break in between. The events are performed by all the athletes in a continuous flow throughout the entire first competition day. Once the day wraps, the athletes with the lowest scores will be eliminated from the competition.
  • Athletes have the option to register as an individual as well as in the team division. The 3 elimination workouts are the same for individuals and teams, and scores are tabulated by each team member performing the events individually. The total score for the team will be the sum of the scores earned by each single team member.
  • At the end of day 1, only the top athletes in each category advance to days 2 and 3 of the competition:
    • Elite (18-34): 60M + 45F
    • Masters 35-39: 30M + 15F
    • Masters 40-44: 30M + 15F
    • Masters 45-49: 15M + 15F
    • Mastes 50+: 15M + 15F
    • Teams of 4 (18+): 45 MMFF

It’s also worth noting that athletes will have the option of approaching each event with either Rx or scaled standards at any point in time during the competition. Scaled scores will begin populating the leaderboard below the Rx ones for each specific event. The thinking here is to view the competition in the same vein as the CrossFit Open – where everyone has the opportunity to participate and stay in the competition until the end.

The big picture: The ultimate goal is to create a fun, inclusive competition for the entire CrossFit community while showcasing the best of the best and sending athletes to the CrossFit Games.

  • Carlo Strati: “That’s why I decided to… remove the qualification phase, because our primary purpose is still to serve our community and celebrate fitness and health with as many participants as possible, no matter their age or ability level.”
  • “I’ve never liked all those competitions with a lot of categories, such as Experienced, Scaled, Intermediate, Rx, Elite… Let me explain why with an example: let’s say that I compete in the Scaled category and I’m strong enough to qualify for the live event. You are stronger than me, but you compete in the Rx category and you don’t qualify for the live event. The result is that you are stronger than me but I go to the live event and you stay at home. That’s not fair. That’s not the spirit of the sport and that’s not a good message.”
  • “So my decision was to make a competition open to anybody, with direct admission to the first elimination day, where everyone can compete in the same skill category and choose Rx or Scaled workouts based on his ability level. No more disputed video qualifications, no more strategies or tricks. Just register, compete, do your best and have fun.”

This isn’t the first time the qualification process has looked like this for the CFIS. From 2016-2018 athletes were able to register online the same way they will be able to next month. But in 2018, the event sold out in under 30 minutes, and more than 5,000 concurrent registrants caused the site to crash and athletes to get shut out. So for the 2019 event, registration changed to include 5 live qualification events across Italy and an online qualifier for international athletes.

  • Strati: “Thanks to the live qualifications, the event served over 2,000 competitors with no technical issues. The 2019 edition was a success with 1,000 competitors on-site and over 10,000 spectators in 3 days but we missed many ‘normal people,’ those first-timers and newbies scared by the qualification process or not strong enough to pass the selection,” said Strati.

More details: Getting to this point has meant a lot of changes for the CFIS over the course of the last four years, and this year’s event has even more new features to make note of:

  • Event location has moved from outside of Milan, to Riccone. Over 10,000 people participated in and attended the event last year, maxing out the capabilities of the previous venue. The new competition venue has 6X the capacity of the previous one, and allows for a larger floor with 15 lanes, ideal for the team competition.
  • The event weekend is a holiday weekend in Italy. April 25th and May 1 are national holidays in Italy, so event organizers expect to have even more spectators than previous years. The new venue is located in one of the best known seaside resort areas in Northern Italy, the main destination of tourism on the Adriatic riviera. As a result, the event has partnered with over 30 hotels to offer the best rates to athletes and spectators.
  • There’s a reduced registration fee for athletes this year and it’s all inclusive. Meaning – if an athlete makes the cut after eliminations on day 1, participation in the finals is included in the 59€ registration fee.
  • Introducing flexible registration: meaning that if an athlete registers but is unable to participate in the event, he or she may give their slot to another competitor. This change can be made online anytime up to 1 month before the event.

Bottom line – if you want in – you have to be among the first to register. Event organizers aren’t planning on utilizing special invites to stack their event with CrossFit Games athletes. “We will keep a small amount of spots for 2019 Games athletes who should miss the registration: if an elite athlete fails to register in time, we have the right to give him a spot. But that’s not a wildcard for the finals: everybody will have to go through the elimination round, no matter if his name is Mat Fraser or Average Joe,” said Strati.