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The Zelos Games Adds Large Prize Purse, Raffle Prizes to Online Competitions

September 29, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Vincent Franzeo
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When the calendar turns to October, Games athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike will band together to test themselves physically in the first-ever iteration of The Zelos Games, a new lucrative online-only competition that will also offer raffles and prizes from brands like FITAID, Reebok, Tru Grit, Mayhem Athlete, Xendurance, and Toe Spacer. 

The details: The Zelos Games will take place entirely online, a la the CrossFit Open, starting on October 4. There will be three workouts — though the final is a two-parter — each with a seven-day time frame. The cost to participate is $19.99 per workout, but the top 10 athletes win prizes ranging from $50 to $2,000. The overall winner takes home $4,000. 

  • WODProof will play a significant role in the competition. The athletes will film their workouts on the app — preferably with a judge standing by — and submit the videos. The app will also track the calories on Workout 0.3 with the direct connection to the Concept 2 Rower. 
  • A panel of professionals yet to be identified will be in charge of determining the leaderboard. They will examine the videos and confirm each athlete’s time based on the previously released movement standards. 

Jared Graybeal, founder of the Zelos Games: “We’ll publish those standards and if somebody loses points or time, then we’ll explain to them why. I’m going to have a panel of judges/analysts watching these videos and scoring them and we’ll identify a true top 10 by the end of October.” 

  • The Zelos Games also offer a scaled option to perform the workouts with participants being eligible for over $10,000 of raffle prizes.

Community members can get an early glimpse of the workouts on Monday, October 4. Bethany Shadburne, Kari Pearce, and Danielle Brandon will go head-to-head at 1:30 p.m. PT on The Zelos Games YouTube channel. The live workouts will continue the following weeks with such athletes as Dallin Pepper, Meg Reardon, Christian Harris, Alexis Raptis, and Baylee Rayl.

A collaborative effort: The workout themselves started as a framework that Graybeal created. He knew that he wanted a short, medium, and long workout for the Open-style competition. He then added in some heavy-hitters that he met after selling Superfit Foods and traveling the country. They helped him take the programming to the next level. 

  • Jake Lockert, the director of Mayhem Athlete, was the first to get involved, along with 8x champion Rich Froning. Underdogs Athletics coach Justin Cotler rounded out the group. 
  • Froning and Lockert designed Workout 0.1, a combination of wall walks and deadlifts. Graybeal brought in Open workout 20.2, but the champ suggested doubling the reps to decrease the transitions during the AMRAP. Cotler became a key figure in the creation of Workouts 0.3 and 0.4, as did Kari Pearce, who served as the guinea pig. 

“The objective for the first workout is ‘let’s make this universal.’ Like, even non CrossFitters can jump in this. The second one, I wanted familiarity. And I wanted a unique proposition to the testing. So we looked at notes. If you beat the Open score from that year you get an additional cash prize.”

Photo Credit: Vincent Franzeo

And the reason is you: With so many events littering the calendar — such as Wodapalooza and the Rogue Invitational — why did Graybeal decide to create The Zelos Games? The answer is simple. He wanted to provide ways for them to earn money without worrying about obtaining a Visa or shelling out $20,000 for travel, lodging, and food. 

  • Graybeal’s other reason for creating The Zelos Games was to help out some nonprofit organizations. For example, a portion of the proceeds from The Zelos Games will go to support Mayhem Mission’s upcoming trip to Nicaragua.
  • “With all my entrepreneurial ventures in the past, although it is certainly a struggle to maintain a profitable business, I’ve always made it not just a responsibility but an element of the business plan to partner with nonprofits.”

A proof of concept: The first-ever iteration of The Zelos Games is a beta. Graybeal has a strong foundation with a long list of partners and workouts designed by the best in the business. However, he remains focused on perfecting this competition and making it even better for the future for both athletes and community members. 

  • The $10,000 worth of raffle prizes serves as a way to reward community members who are participating with scaled movements as well. Maybe they don’t crack the top-10, but they might win a $250 Reebok gift card or a Tru Grit Fitness home gym starter kit worth $3,000. 
  • The workout themselves will continue the community appeal of the Open. Boxes will have the opportunity to bring members together for massive throwdown events each week, creating a fun and competitive atmosphere. 

Bottom line: The CrossFit Games are the biggest part of the season. They are the Super Bowl of fitness, and Graybeal has no intention of replacing the annual trips to Madison. Instead, his goal is to build a sustainable online competition that can take place multiple times throughout the year, supplement the athletes’ income, and involve the community in a fun way. 

  • “What I’m trying to do is build a season going into 2022 and moving forward. Where athletes can plan their life around competing, but they don’t have to risk everything to do it. I’m looking at maybe six months of 18 to 24 online competitions with overall cash prizes and those prizes would increase in percentage to the registration.”

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