CrossFit Games

Why Wodapalooza Was Great For The Sport

March 4, 2020 by
Credit: @wodapalooza
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In sport, sometimes competition is about more than just the competition itself.

The success of a given sport has never been entirely predicated on what happens on the playing field but rather, the atmosphere it generates, the presentation of the product, and the ability to create and maintain a dedicated fanbase in the absence of anything spectacular once the whistle blows.

Looking at the leaderboard, the media highlights and chatter coming from the community after Wodapalooza last weekend, it’s difficult to walk away without a sense of resolve around the events that took place in Miami and what it means for the sport going forward.

But first, the nitty-gritty: Wodapalooza is an “information overload” weekend, but there are a handful of things worth noting that really rise above the fray within the context of the bigger picture for the season.

  • The top spot in all three elite divisions was hotly contested down to the final workout, and for the first time ever, a tiebreaker came into effect after Patrick Vellner and Cole Sager finished deadlocked in points.
  • The timing buzzers had a huge impact, in multiple divisions. A .27 second difference in the final event is what separated Mayhem Freedom and GoWOD overall in the Elite Team division, and just .45 seconds was the difference in the race for the Games invitation between Emily Rolfe and Colleen Fotsch.
  • Over 2,000 athletes registered and took the competition floor in 38 different divisions over the weekend.
  • More than 40,000 fans showed up to the competition over the weekend, packing the stands in four different competition venues at Bayfront Park.
  • 120 brands from across the fitnessphere showed up and showed out, bringing exclusive Wodapalooza themed gear, apparel, and even food options.
  • At least 8 other Sanctional directors (by our count) were present onsite at the event, exchanging ideas and volunteering their time.

Why this is significant: One could argue that Wodapalooza was a major event prior to the new Sanctionals system and the purchase by Loud And Live Sports. In reality, given everything that has transpired in the last year at the Games, at other Sanctionals, and in the Open, these are promising signs.

The parity amongst the elite division was a huge boost. Make no mistake, there’s nothing wrong with sheer dominance like we’ve seen from Mat Fraser and Tia Toomey. True expression of fitness and all-time greatness are paramount, but if others are truly worthy of pushing them at the top, then the sport will certainly reap the benefits.

  • Parity breeds interest, interest creates investment and innovation, which over time brings growth and sustainability.
  • Case in point: The precision timer added a tactile and visual technology that was that the hot topic amongst athletes, and media personnel on the ground, and has put innovation on that front into high gear.

Speaking of investment: The participation from fans, athletes, brands, and other events really highlights the willingness of the community at large to invest in the sport on multiple levels.

  • Fans and brands bring investment on the monetary front, as well as time. The obvious benefit of financial resources flowing in is supplemented by the attention they are willing to pay on the sport. Capturing (and keeping) people’s attention is the essence of sports media.
  • The presence of the directors from other Sanctionals represents a more unified front in terms of events working together to solve issues within the system, and if anything else, showcases their personal investment to support a fellow member of the Sanctionals family.
  • If the remaining events, and powers that be can properly harness this into a steady, reliable investment across the season, then the sky’s the limit.

This doesn’t imply that the current path is necessarily the best one, time will surely sort that out, but the thousands of fans, the excitement of the competition and sheer magnitude of the effort required to pull off such an event means that at the very least, the right pieces are on the table.

And much like a kid with brand new puzzle, a little bit of time, patience, and focus is all it takes until the whole picture is put together.

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