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Three Major Hurdles For The 2020 CrossFit Games

Jun 19, 2020 by

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The Rogue Invitational gave us a small taste of what life was before the insanity of the last few months set in, with compelling competition between elite athletes throwing down in a new, but still entertaining setting.

The only thing left on the schedule now as far as competition is concerned is the CrossFit Games. Typically this would be cause for excitement but the entire sport (and community) is currently in a state of flux, and when examining the landscape on the path to Aromas, there are three major hurdles standing in the way.

Hurdle #1 – Red Tape

The thing no one is talking about is the fact that despite all the other issues that have been swirling is the need for an actual event permit and legislative permission for the event to happen in the first place. Any natural timeframe for doing so has undoubtedly been delayed or muddled by the restrictions and processes put in place by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Monterey County which is where the Ranch in Aromas is zoned, is one of only a handful of counties in California that has moved into stage 3 of reopening which includes business offices like the county administrative offices, and has cleared the way for events like the Games to take place.
  • The Games team announced on April 16th that they were evaluating options for hosting the Games in Aromas – giving them more than 3 months to plan.
  • The Games permit was filed April 27 with the county having signed the application as officially received on May 1st.
  • Per our conversations with the county, in a “typical year” it is recommended that six months be budgeted for the permitting process, with construction permit applications needing to be submitted 60 days prior, and processing times for additional permits taking up to 45 days. However office closures have undoubtedly extended that timeline.

Hurdle #2 – Fielding A Roster

Assuming the permitting gets approved, the elephant in the room with the Games currently is the difficulties they might have fielding a full and legitimate roster due to travel issues and athlete boycotts. Currently 20% of the field has stated publicly that they will not be making the trip to Aromas due to these reasons.

  • Competing athlete countries include: Iceland, Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Sweden, Argentina, Slovakia, Norway, Spain, Finland, and Russia, most of whom cannot legally travel to the United States currently.
  • Canada currently is one of the few countries allowed to travel by air to the U.S. under the condition that the person has not been in a banned country for at least 14 days, but travel to Canada from certain countries is also restricted.
  • Podium finishers in both divisions have also publicly boycotted the Games due recent comments from and revelations about CrossFit founder Greg Glassman — with many more stating their participation is dependent on more change within the company.

The CrossFit Games would likely backfill any of the boycotting athletes or athletes unable to travel, but the same issues would still persist with any of those backfill athletes choosing to decline or being physically unable to attend. The next four women on the Open leaderboard all come from outside the U.S.

Hurdle #3 – Picking A Date

The delaying of the Games from the original date in the first week of August puts basically every other process on hold until a date is actually settled upon, but understanding the previously mentioned hurdles — in addition to the current state of flux within the company — as the cause and how it determines the criteria for picking a new date as a replacement will be key.

  • The administrative log jam from the coronavirus has likely created a backlog of paperwork that has likely extended the permit approvals process well beyond the original date, and the nebulous “soonest potential start date” of August 17 announced by the CrossFit Games will likely be dependent on permitting.
  • The current fallout involving Greg Glassman could have negative financial backlash which would require more effort on the Games team’s part to account for loss of sponsorship money, and the resources being allocated to the reorganization taking place internally.
  • The date will have to be announced soon, given that we are almost in July and any athletes — including backfill athletes from the boycott — will need reasonable time to plan and arrange travel to adhere to any additional international travel mandates.
  • With the Open slated for October, pushing the Games date back any further into September shrinks an already short offseason and turnaround for the 2021 season. There would be potential then that the Open could get pushed back as well.


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