The 2021 CrossFit Games Adaptive Division: What You Need to Know

January 8, 2021 by
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Among the new additions and changes in Thursday’s release of the 2021 CrossFit Games Rulebook was the introduction of the adaptive athlete division for the upcoming season. Accompanying the rulebook was a 15-page adaptive athlete policy which goes into further detail on the new division, classifications, rules and standards. Here are the highlights.

New divisions: There will be 16 divisions for adaptive athletes, eight each for men and women. The divisions are as follow:

  • Upper extremity
  • Lower extremity
  • Neuromuscular
  • Vision
  • Short stature
  • Seated athletes (with hip function)
  • Seated athletes (without hip function)
  • Intellectual 

Any athlete that competes in the adaptive division will complete a self-assessment and then assign themselves into a specific division that best represents their ability during Open registration.

Eligibility: There are no age division cutoff dates to compete in the adaptive divisions, however athletes must be at least 14 years old as of July 14, 2021.

  • All adaptive athletes must prove the presence of a diagnosed and documented permanent impairment from the list of 10 eligible impairments that CrossFit has identified.
  • Among the eligible impairments for the division include Ataxia, Athetosis, Hypertonia, impaired passive range of movement, impaired muscle power, limb deficiency, leg length difference, vision impairment, short stature and intellectual disability.
  • Athletes must also have significant functional limitation(s) that will prevent them from inclusion in fair competition against athletes in the other non-adaptive divisions.
  • Athletes must meet the minimum impairment criteria listed in the description of each specific division’s sport classes.
  • The handbook noted that changes to eligibility may occur as the division grows in the future.
Image – Athlete’s Eye Photography

Classification: The purpose of classifications for the adaptive divisions is to minimize the impact of the adaptive athletes’ impairment during competition. This is so their fitness is tested and not the degree of their impairment.

  • Within each division, athletes will be given a sport class that identifies the severity and limitations of their impairment.
  • The level of identified sport class will also determine what, if any additional equipment or assistance is needed to perform certain workouts.

Leaderboard: Adaptive athletes will have a leaderboard for each division available online and will fall under the same submission rules as the other non-adaptive athlete divisions.

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