Does the CrossFit Games Need a 70+ Division?
The 2021 CrossFit Games season has brought some major changes for masters athletes in the sport of fitness. After a downward trend in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, athletes 35 and older have reasons to be optimistic about increased competition opportunities and increased media coverage from CrossFit LLC.
One big thing: Perhaps the most noticeable change for masters athletes has been the addition of the 65+ division. As the sport continues to draw in more and more masters athletes, to the point where this year, masters Open registration eclipsed individual registration, it was clear this year that another masters division was necessary.
- The addition of the 65+ division drew in a record number of athletes over the age of 60, exceeding 2020 registration for athletes 60+ by 27%.
|Total Registration For Athletes 60+|
|Breakdown of 2021 Registration For 60+ Athletes|
The future of the 65+ division looks promising, as more and more top athletes in the masters division age up. Looking at the top 150 athletes in the 60-64 division, 56 men and 62 women will age into the 65+ division in the next 3 years.
- This means that by 2024, 37% of men in the top 150 and 41% of women in the top 150 athletes of the 60-64 division will be competing in the 65+ division, as opposed to remaining in the 60-64 division as they had in past years.
- Looking at total registration makes it even more relevant, with 49% of all masters men in the 60-64 division and 43% of all masters women in the 60-64 division aging into the 65+ division by 2024.
- This becomes exceptionally important as the pool of masters athletes grows, as it has significantly in the past 3 years, with this year’s masters registration coming in at 48.7% of total Open registration.
While the 65+ division has provided a new division for masters athletes to age into, it begs the question of the necessity of the addition of a 70+ division.
- In the next 3 years, 32% of men in the 65+ division and 28% of women in the 65+ division will turn 70.
- Not only that, but current registration for athletes over the age of 70 sits at 257 women and 317 men, making up a grand total of 30% of the 65+ division.
- If the participation in the Open for athletes 60+ continues to grow at the rate it grew this year, these numbers are likely to increase and further prove the need for a 70+ division.
The big picture: As masters continue to grow the sport of fitness, it will be necessary for CrossFit to accommodate and expand the divisions available for these athletes. With 30% of the current 65+ division already in a possible 70+ division and 49% of men and 43% of women aging into the aforementioned division by 2024, it is clear that CrossFit needs to start making preparations for this change now.