Rogue Invitational Gathers Top Athletes for Online Competition
It’s been just over three months since CrossFit fans were able to watch top athletes compete in an official competition. This weekend, June 13-14, Rogue puts an end to the competition drought caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with the second annual Rogue Invitational. This year’s iteration has a dramatically different look than last year, electing to throw a live, online competition from the homes and home gyms of top CrossFit athletes around the world.
What’s on the line: This year’s competition has dealt with a date change, a change of format from a live event to an online event, cancelation of the team and Legends divisions and most recently disaffiliation from CrossFit for this season. But in true Rogue fashion, it has kept persevering and has pulled out all the stops to throw a top-notch event with the best athletes and with it a total individual prize purse of $375,000.
Event wins for the athletes will also receive $5,000.
The format: Rogue continues to adapt and has adopted a unique set-up for their competition.
- Rogue shipped out huge kits all over the country to each one of the participating athletes that included all the equipment they would need for the competition. Among the equipment shipped out were weights, rowers, Echo bikes, barbells and even chalk.
- Each of the athlete’s workout areas will include multiple cameras that will not only be used for the live feed but also for video reviews.
- A certified and professional judge will be on hand to maintain the standards and keep track of repetitions for each event.
- Six events over the two-day competition will be held — three events per day.
- Each event will consist of two heats of ten individuals in each division.
Who to watch: As advertised, the field will include the top athletes from around the world. Among that group are four athletes who have been crowned the “Fittest on Earth.” The biggest absence from the field is four-time CrossFit Games champion and last year’s Rogue Invitational champion Mathew Fraser, who withdrew to recover from an injury.
The men’s division: Eighteen male athletes will be looking to claim the top prize. That field consists of six top-ten finishers from the 2019 Games, five invitees and seven athletes who qualified through the Rogue Invitational Online Qualifier.
- Nine of the 18 competing men are currently in qualifying spots for the 2020 CrossFit Games in Aromas. Those athletes are Noah Ohlsen, Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, Jacob Heppner, Saxon Panchik, Cole Sager, Patrick Vellner, Chandler Smith, Jonne Koski and Alexandre Caron.
- Five athletes have climbed the podium at the CrossFit Games with Ben Smith being the lone champion of the group. Ohlsen and Gudmundsson were second and third last year. Vellner and Lukas Hogberg placed second and third respectively at the 2018 Games. Vellner has three podium trips in his four years at the Games.
- Vellner, the 2020 CrossFit Worldwide Open champion, is one of the favorites heading into the Rogue Invitational after placing second at last year’s competition.
- Sager was the third-place finisher at last year’s event.
- Other athletes who were invited back from last year include Chandler Smith (5th place), Ohlsen (9th), Colten Mertens (11th) and Ben Smith (14th). Adrian Mundwiler and Hogberg each competed last year but withdrew due to injuries.
- Mertens, for the second-straight year qualified for the Rogue Invitational through “The Q”, the name Rogue gave for their online qualifier. He won this year’s qualifier after placing fourth in 2019.
The women’s division: The women’s field features 17 athletes with eight of the top-ten finishers from the 2019 Games participating. The field also includes five at-large invites and four athletes who received their invitations through “The Q”.
- A stacked women’s field consists of 13 athletes who are in potential qualifying spots for the 2020 Games. Those athletes are Tia-Clair Toomey, Kristin Holte, Jamie Simmonds, Laura Horvath, Katrin Davidsdottir, Haley Adams, Amanda Barnhart, Kara Saunders, Brooke Wells, Samantha Briggs, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Danielle Brandon, Kristi O’Connell.
- Three Games champions will be competing, including defending Rogue Invitational champion Toomey who has won the last three Games. Davidsdottir has won two titles followed by Briggs who won her title in 2013.
- Eight of the women have climbed the Games podium including the three champions. Holte and Simmonds placed second and third respectively in 2019. Horvath was the runner-up to Toomey in 2018 as was Saunders in 2017. Sigmundsdottir placed third in 2015 and again in 2016.
- Sigmundsdottir was the runner-up to Toomey at last year’s Rogue Invitational.
- Davidsdottir (4th), Holte (5th), Wells (7th), O’Connell (9th) and Feeroozeh Saghafi (13th) all competed at last year’s competition. Horvath did as well but was eliminated after failing to complete the minimum work requirement in one of the events.
- O’Connell won “The Q” this year to earn her invitation. She is joined by Carolyne Prevost, Saghafi, and Cheryl Nasso as athletes who gained their invite through the online qualifier.
- Each day will kick off with a 30-minute edition of the Iron Game studio show, featuring highlights, athlete interviews, and expert analysis.
- The complete schedule and event descriptions will be available on the Rogue Invitational website.
- Check back each day with the Morning Chalk Up for recaps and analysis.