The Affiliate Cup Returns: Which Teams Top Open Leaderboard?
One important change to the 2021 CrossFit Games has been the return of the Affiliate Cup. Not only does the Affiliate Cup bring the CrossFit affiliate community back together, it also brings some notable affiliate teams back.
In a field that spent the last two years being dominated by super teams, the return of affiliate-based teams to the CrossFit Games has brought a needed refresh to the competition space.
Remind me: For the past two years, teams have qualified for the CrossFit Games through Sanctionals. In 2019 and 2020, teams could be composed of any four athletes with no requirement to be from the same affiliate.
- With the return of the affiliate cup, athletes are required to train and compete out of the same affiliate, as well as live within 100 miles of said affiliate in order to be on the same team.
- Athletes are also only allowed to be part of one team, whereas in 2019 and 2020, they could switch between teams mid-season.
- In order to qualify for the CrossFit Games in 2021, teams must first qualify for the Quarterfinals by being in the top 10% of their continent in the Open.
- For the quarterfinals, team captains may select any six teammates (2 men, 2 women, and 2 alternates) from the listed roster of athletes who competed for that team during the Open.
- In previous years, teammates who opted to go the individual route for the season and accept an individual invitation for the next phase of competition (Regionals) were removed from their team’s ranking.
- This year, that will not be the case. All athletes who competed for the team during the Open will have their scores counted towards their team’s Open ranking that qualifies them for quarterfinals.
- According to the 2021 CrossFit Games rule book, “Team rankings will not be reshuffled from the Open should any members of the team choose to compete in the individual Quarterfinals.”
- This means that the names you see currently counting towards the teams’ overall scores at the top of the leaderboard will still count towards those rankings, even if those athletes choose to go individual.
- From Quarterfinals, teams will move to semi-finals, where the top teams will qualify for the Games.
One big thing: This year, the Open saw several teams once again rise to the top of the leaderboard for the first time since 2018.
CrossFit Mayhem Freedom: Not surprisingly, CrossFit Mayhem Freedom remained atop the leaderboard. While they were able to hold onto the team championship during the years of super teams, the move back to the Affiliate Cup has not slowed them in the slightest.
- Out of the four workouts in the 2021 Open, they took first place in three of them and 8th place in the fourth and final workout.
- The last time teams were included in the Open in 2018, Mayhem took 2nd place overall.
- Since 2015, Mayhem has won either the Affiliate Cup or team championship at the CrossFit Games, save for 2017, when they came in a close second to CrossFit Wasatch.
- This year, their team roster includes the usual suspects, including Rich Froning and Haley Adams (who will ultimately compete as an individual), as well as some new faces, such as Andrea Neisler and Taylor Williamson, former OC3 Black athletes.
CrossFit Invictus: While they certainly made their mark during the super team era, putting 3 teams in the 2019 CrossFit Games, including two top-ten teams and one podium finishing team, the heart of CrossFit Invictus’ competition program lies in their affiliate teams.
- This year, the 2014 Affiliate Cup winners posted two teams in the top ten of the 2021 Open.
- Both Invictus and Invictus Unconquerable boast a stacked roster of classic Invictus Athletes, including Eric Carmody, Brittany Weiss, Holden Rethwill, as well as a new addition this year to the crew, Dani Speegle (who will also likely compete as an individual).
- Invictus has been a perennial favorite at the Games, regularly sending two or more teams to the Games and making an appearance at the Games every year, since 2009.
Reebok CrossFit Frankston: From the land down under, Reebok CrossFit Frankston has returned to the top of the leaderboard. In the last Affiliate Cup in 2018, they took 20th and in 2017, they took 33rd.
- Their roster this year features a host of well known Games athletes, including Madeline Sturt and Rob Forte.
- They currently sit in fourth place overall at the close of the 2021 Open.
Pro 1 Montreal: In 2018, they came in 14th at the CrossFit Games. This year, they sit in 9th place overall at the close of the 2021 Open.
- The Canada-based team also made an appearance at the 2015 CrossFit Games after winning the East Regional.
- Aside from their Games appearances, Pro 1 Montreal was a regular competitor in the East and Canada Region, placing within the top 10 at regionals, every year from 2014 through 2018.
- While their roster looks significantly different from their 2018 Games appearance, there are still some familiar faces, including Manon Lesur.
CrossFit Butcher’s Lab: In 2018, CrossFit Butchers Lab came in 21st at the CrossFit Games. This year, they currently have two teams in the top 50, with Team Butchers Lab in 5th and Team Butchers Lab T-Bone in 50th.
CFR 1: Hailing from one of the most dominant countries in the sport, Iceland, CrossFit Reykjavik made its first Games appearance in 2017, where it took 38th. This year, they sit in 10th place in the world at the close of the 2021 Open.
Three Kings CrossFit: Three Kings CrossFit came in 21st in the 2016 CrossFit Games and currently sits in 16th worldwide at the close of the 2021 Open.
CrossFit Kilo: CrossFit Kilo has also made a return to the Affiliate Cup leaderboard, sitting in 37th overall at the close of the Open after their last appearance finishing in 19th in 2018.
Timberwolf CrossFit: In 2017, Timberwolf CrossFit finished in 8th place at the CrossFit Games. They currently sit in 43rd worldwide.
Other Notable Teams With Previous Games Appearances In The Top 100 Worldwide:
- Back Country CrossFit: Currently 45th Worldwide.
- CrossFit Fort Vancouver: Currently 61st Worldwide.
- Diablo CrossFit: Currently 68th Worldwide.
- Ocean State’s Finest: Currently 74th Worldwide.
- 12 Labours Lions: Currently 88th Worldwide.
Why it matters: The return of the Affiliate Cup is a call back to one of the key community facets of CrossFit. It gives gyms a chance to bond together and stand behind their gym as they compete for the ultimate title. While super teams are certainly fun to watch, the Affiliate Cup is a better reflection of the CrossFit community as a whole and the communal mission behind the sport. As the 2021 season progresses, it will be exciting to see former affiliate teams make their way back to the surface of competition.