Four Takeaways From the CrossFit Games Meeting with Individual Athletes on the 2021 Season
On Wednesday, the CrossFit Games released a video of a ZOOM meeting held two weeks ago with Games athletes on its official YouTube Channel.
The 35-minute long video was hosted by CrossFit Games Head Judge and Competition Director Adrian Bozman as he gave a presentation and discussed in further detail what the 2021 season will look like for athletes, discussing important dates, best practices, pertinent rules of competition and the format. Here are four big takeaways from that meeting.
Semifinal contingency planning: Even with the announcement of ten live, Semifinal competitions, CrossFit recognizes that the world is still in the midst of a global pandemic and because of that they have created contingencies in case the events or athletes are affected by restrictions due to COVID-19.
- There are a number of athletes who currently live in countries outside of the ones they are citizens of that will host a Semifinal. Four-time, reigning “Fittest Woman of Earth” Tia-Clair Toomey headlines that group. She lives in and trains in Nashville, TN but if she qualifies for the Semifinals, she would have to travel to her native Australia to compete at the Torian Pro in Brisbane, Queensland.
- Traveling and entering Australia is incredibly challenging due to the many restrictions officials have enforced due to the pandemic. Currently there is a cap of how many people can enter the country and upon entering, they must quarantine for 14 days at their own cost even if they tested negative for COVID-19.
- If CrossFit determines that an athlete under no fault of their own cannot compete at their assigned Semifinal event due to COVID-19 restrictions, that athlete then would then be assigned to compete in the online Last-Chance Qualifier.
- This means that if Toomey could not travel to Australia to compete at the Torian Pro due to the pandemic restrictions she would have to earn her invitation to the Games by finishing either first or second in the online Last-Chance Qualifier.
- If COVID-19 restrictions make it impossible for a Semifinal to host a live, in-person competition, CrossFit will then host an online competition for that entire field of athletes and the number of spots advancing to the Games would remain unchanged.
- The online Semifinal would be similar to Stage One of the 2020 Games and, if necessary, the announcement that the competition will go online will be made no later than 3 weeks prior to the competition date.
- Bozman said that CrossFit is taking a hardline approach when it comes to athletes requesting to compete in the Last-Chance Qualifier instead of their assigned Semifinals, saying they will look at each request on a case-by-case basis.
Seeding for the Semifinals: One of the questions brought up by a number of athletes on the call was how were athletes going to be assigned to Semifinal events in North America and in Europe.
- Bozman said that the selection would be based on two factors, athlete preference and the discretion of CrossFit.
- Athletes will be able to send in their preference for what Semifinal they would like to compete at after the Quarterfinals.
- CrossFit will then factor in the athlete’s preference while also using criteria like ranking, proximity to the athlete’s selection and more.
- CrossFit will then start seeding those events.
An online season: One of the biggest changes to this year’s pathway to the Games unlike past years is that athletes need to prepare themselves to compete for not one but two, possibly three or four Open-style, online competitions in order to punch their ticket to the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
- This is different from past years where the pathway started with the Open and then followed with a live competition, either in the Regional or Sanctional format.
- In some cases, some athletes qualified by only competing in the Open or through a Sanctional.
- The new format will require athletes to compete online during three weeks of the Open from March 11 to March 29 followed by the online Quarterfinals nine days later from April 8-12.
- There is a possibility that an athlete who qualifies for the Semifinals will have to once again compete online if that competition is forced to cancel their live, in-person event due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- If an athlete doesn’t qualify from the Games through their Semifinal but qualifies for the Last-Chance Qualifier, they will have to compete in another three days of online competition either two weeks or five weeks after their Semifinal.
- There is a chance an athlete could compete in the entire 2021 season (roughly five months) and not compete against another individual, live until the Games.
Open Prize Purse: For the first time in Open history, a prize purse will be awarded to the top overall individual athletes at the conclusion of the Open.
- CrossFit will be paying out to the top five finishers in the Open with the overall winner of the Open receiving $15,000.
- Second place will receive $10,000, third place receives $7,500 followed by fourth and fifth place each receiving $6,000 and $5,000 respectively.
- CrossFit will continue to pay out Open event winners, each receiving $2,021.