CrossFit Games

The 2022 CrossFit Games Rulebook Has Arrived, Here’s What Is New And Noteworthy

December 28, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Ginnie Coleman (instagram.com/ginniecolemanphotography)
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Last week while many were making final preparations for the holiday weekend, the CrossFit Games released the rulebook and drug testing program for the 2022 season. The announcement included most of the important dates and details, but also omitted a few key pieces of information that are still to be determined. 

Worth noting: The timing of the rulebook release sets a new precedent by publishing the necessary season information more than two weeks earlier than the previous year. The 2021 rulebook arrived on January 7, 2021, and the added benefit of not overhauling the season structure again means that athletes and fans will have the season mapped out before ringing in the new calendar year.

  • Prize purse and Semifinal event details weren’t included in the initial announcement or rulebook release. In 2021 the Semifinal events were announced in February, while the prize purse details were made public in June
  • The adaptive athlete policy was also absent, but the announcement stated it would be published soon following the previously announced adjustments to the language and competitive flow of the season for the adaptive divisions.
  • The importance of Semifinal selection and the contract terms – specifically length – cannot be overstated, as it can shift the balance of influence within the community for organizers that get the stamp of approval by running marquis qualifying events for the CrossFit Games. 
  • With ongoing pandemic-related issues surrounding live events in different countries, the timeline for Semifinal announcements could follow a similar path as 2021 to allow for regulations to become clearer given CrossFit’s goals of holding in-person events.

As with any year of competition, we highly encourage everyone – athletes and fans alike – to read the rulebook and drug testing policy in their entirety to educate themselves on the procedures that govern our sport. Below we’ve compiled the notable additions and changes to the season based on the competition stage. 

The Open

The 2022 CrossFit Games Open begins with the release of the first workout at at 12:00 PM PST, on Thursday, February 24. Registration for the Open will begin Wednesday, January 13, as the twelfth iteration of the Open will look to continue the build upon the trend of registration growth seen in 2021. 

  • The Open will follow 2021’s lead and be three weeks in duration, but the release time for the workout each week has been moved to 12:00 PM PST. In previous years, 5:00 PM PST was the standard release time, but in 2021 the Games team tested out new release times each week and made the change for 2022. 
  • Competing athletes from unaffiliated gyms or locations will now be able to submit a valid score if the workout is performed in the presence of a registered judge, opening a new pathway for home gym athletes to compete outside of the previously required video submission. 
  • A new leaderboard element this season is the addition of submitted scores being visible on the leaderboard immediately, and prior to validation by the affiliate manager. Managers will still need to validate scores by the  usual deadline, but gone are the days of submitting a score and waiting to validate it in order to hide your performance. 
  • January 13 is also the deadline for team athletes to move their residence within the required 100 mile radius of the affiliate to become eligible to compete for that team. Team names this season will also be adjusted to include the name of the affiliate first, followed by any additional descriptor or custom name addition. 
  • Example: CrossFit Mayhem Freedom, and CrossFit Mayhem Independence previously followed this naming convention already.

Quarterfinals

The 2021 Quarterfinals were a welcomed inclusion for the seasons last year, and provided an extra avenue of competition for athletes in the top 10% respectively for their division and continent. Quarterfinals are back in 2022 but this time a slight change has been made for the Age Groups in order to have a more cohesive season structure for all athletes. 

  • The Age Group Quarterfinals will replace the now defunct Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ) that existed as the intermediary stage between the Open and Games for the last half decade. The top 10% in each division will still qualify for Quarterfinals as they did in the AGOQ. 
  • New for the age groups in 2022 is an additional stage of competition after the Quarterfinals – the Age Group Semifinals – that the top 30 men and women in each age group division will qualify for. 
  • Athlete who qualify for Quarterfinals in multiple divisions will be able to compete in those divisions if they choose, and as Dave Castro previously alluded to during a podcast interview, there may be more variance between each division’s programming this season to encourage participation. 

Semifinals

While we may not know the dates and locations of the Semifinal events just yet, we do know that the Semifinals will have a wider reach this season as more athletes in more divisions will take part in the penultimate stage of competition. 

  • The adaptive divisions will take part in a virtual semifinal stage on June 2-5 this season, following a 2021 Games that marked their first official inclusion into the formal season. The top 20 athletes from all adaptive divisions will qualify to take part in the Semifinals. 
  • The top 5 athletes from the Neuromuscular, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity divisions will advance to the Games, while the Semifinal results will be used to crown the fittest in the remaining categories. 
  • The age group divisions will also take part in a virtual Semifinal over the course of two weekends – May 26-29, and June 2-5 – with the top 10 in each division moving on to the CrossFit Games.
  • One thing to note: The rulebook states that the “leaderboard will be finalized within one week of each competition concluding,” giving athletes and fans a clearer timeline for finalized results during virtual competitions.

The Games

The 2022 CrossFit Games dates are currently listed as running from August 4-7, meaning that the entirety of the CrossFit Games competitive week has been condensed this season to a four day span ranging from Thursday through Sunday. Along with 2019, the dates represent the shortest competition window at the Games since they first moved to Carson, California in 2010. 

  • In addition to the new naming convention for Affiliate Cup teams, teams are explicitly prohibited from using any form of a sponsor or sponsor name in their official team name.
  • For all athletes and teams, anyone unable to compete or travel to the Games for circumstances outside of their control will not have their spot backfilled. This is in-line with previous years, as CrossFit has honored those athletes by keeping their spot reserved specifically for them. 

Equipment

A welcomed new addition to the rulebook this year is a section specifically dedicated to equipment that outlines general stipulations around accepted attire and equipment. It also lays out procedures for event officials to inspect and regulate attire and equipment in live competition that may prevent fair competition. The full policy is robust, and should be read in its entirety.

  • Remind me: The interim executive committee of the Professional Fitness Athletes Association (PFAA) created and provided a document to CrossFit covering this exact topic, and confirmed via a blog post that CrossFit was utilizing that input. 
  • Section 9.01: “Athletes may not use protective gear in a manner that provides additional grip assistance or weight support, e.g., wrapping a gymnastics grip around the bar for deadlifts or pull-ups.”
  • Common support attire that is not allowed includes but is not limited to: knee or elbow wraps, gymnastics “hook and loop” grips, and tacky non-chalk substances used to enhance grip.”
  • Unless otherwise stated, athletes may not receive assistance moving or placing equipment during any workout. Athletes who receive outside assistance to manage or place equipment during the workout may face penalty or disqualification”
  • Athletes must also wear shoes at all times, and during live competition, slippers, socks, or open-toed shoes are not permitted as footwear outside of swim events where special exemptions may be made. 

Upon further inspection, the equipment policy falls in line with the suggestions outlined in the document provided by the PFAA, and it is a nice development to see CrossFit and the PFAA working in conjunction with each other for the betterment of the sport. 

Drug Testing Policy

For the most part the Drug Testing Policy remains unchanged from years past, however there are a few minor adjustments that are worth noting as far as procedural steps are concerned. The full policy can be found here

  • Recently CrossFit published a comprehensive list of all athletes currently serving sanctions for drug policy violations stemming from CrossFit’s own testing or elsewhere. The list can be found here
  • Results reporting: CrossFit explicitly states it will report all violations, and lays out a more specific timeline and procedure for announcing violations with additional stipulations involving chosen actions by the athletes. 
  • CrossFit, LLC will announce all violations of the CrossFit Games Drug Testing Policy. Such announcements will generally follow the conclusion of any appeals process, should one be requested by the athlete, unless the violation is announced by the athlete or shared with a media outlet or other source prior to the conclusion of the appeals process.”
  • If the athlete chooses to announce the violation or share any information about the violation via a media outlet or other source prior to CrossFit, LLC’s official announcement, CrossFit, LLC may confirm the violation or make its announcement at any time. CrossFit, LLC also reserves the right to announce an infraction for other exigent reasons prior to the completion of the appeal process.”

The timing of results reporting has been the most fluid element of the drug policy over the past few years, with CrossFit taking a more proactive approach in recent seasons by making violations known earlier in the process, even prior to appeals, for the benefit of the competitive season timing as a whole. 

One last reminder: As has been the case in the Drug Testing Policy for previous seasons, included is a stern reminder about the responsibility of athletes with regards to supplements and testing violations. 

  • “ATHLETES ARE SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT THEY PUT ON OR INTO THEIR BODIES”
  • Many dietary supplements or ergogenic aids contain banned substances. Often, the labeling of dietary supplements is not accurate and is misleading. Terms such as “healthy” or “all natural” do not mean dietary supplements are free of banned substances or are safe to take.”
  • In an investigation prompted by the International Olympic Committee in 2001, an analysis of 634 supplements worldwide found nearly 15 percent of these supplements contain substances that would cause a positive drug test, but these banned substances were not listed on the product label. In the United States, the percentage of supplements that were tainted with banned substances reached almost 19 percent. Thus, using dietary supplements may cause positive drug tests.”

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