As The Open Approaches, More Communities Brace For Lockdown

November 16, 2020 by
Photo Credit: West Fitness Santa Cruz (instagram.com/westfitnesssantacruz/)

Last week the CrossFit community crossed an important milestone in preparation for the 2021 CrossFit Games season, as the CrossFit Games instagram account announced that the Open was officially 100 days away. 

The announcement comes amidst surging coronavirus numbers globally, and with many undoubtedly occupied by looming restrictions, it brings new emphasis on how CrossFit will push forward when normally such a milestone would be cause for excitement and a refocus on training as the holiday season approaches. 

One big thing: CrossFit owner Eric Roza has repeatedly stated that his team is moving forward with plans to conduct a full 2021 season while making adjustments and contingency plans for whatever roadblocks might be in place as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

  • Roza: “I think we will have the most vibrant digital community competitive season, that CF has ever had in 2021, Dave (Castro, CrossFit’s Director of Sport) and I are hell bent on making that COVID proof, and COVID is not going to get us down in that quest”

Why this matters: Roza has also reiterated the importance of the sport in providing a rallying point and bright spot for the community while dealing with the many unfortunate circumstances of life during a pandemic, and given the current global trend it seems that Roza and the CrossFit Games team will certainly be put to task.

The world at a glance: The end of the summer season in the northern hemisphere has brought a new wave of cases, and looming restrictions as a result. In the United States alone, new records have been set with upwards of 150,000 new cases in a single day, and over 67,000 current hospitalizations (source 1 below). 

  • Lockdown 2.0: England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, France, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, and Hungary have all instituted some version of another lockdown with varying levels of restrictions until December.
  • In the United States, restrictions continue to vary based on local mandates and executive orders, with states like Oregon and New Mexico heading towards heavier restrictions via Governors orders.
  • Cities like Philadelphia are banning indoor fitness classes and states like Michigan imposing specific restrictions banning group fitness classes altogether. In larger states like California,where restrictions have continued to vary by county, reopening plans have been rolled back in 41 counties where 94% of the population live.

The big picture: A massive portion of the population will have limited access to equipment and their usual training resources. Roughly 88% of gyms globally and 96% of the gym in the U.S. have been impacted by restrictions and as result the scope of their training will be significantly narrowed. 

  • Even if restrictions ease with the turn of the new year, without indoor access the harsh winter weather in many parts of the world make outdoor training next to impossible. Thrusters suck bad enough without having to do them in snow or freezing temperatures. 
  • This puts the ball in CrossFit HQ’s court to build a realistic season structure while simultaneously addressing the pressing needs of a global affiliate ecosystem that has been under constant duress since the pandemic started.
  • In past years the rulebook and season structure has come in January, but with the ownership change and current landscape, event partners and members of the community could greatly benefit from having a plan in place sooner. It’s possible then that we could have a clearer picture by Christmas. 

It starts with the Open: Even with the Open being a largely accessible competition platform, the 2021 iteration could see programming adjustments as a result of the aforementioned restrictions. Dave Castro and his team will need to thread the needle of providing an adequate test while also appealing to a broader, potentially restricted audience, but how the season progresses from there will be the big revelation.

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