Introducing Wodcelona, the Most Adaptive-Focused CrossFit Competition in the World

September 15, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Limited Edition Athletes
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On September 16-18, hundreds of CrossFitters will test themselves in Barcelona, Spain. They will take part in Wodcelona, a CrossFit competition that heavily focuses on adaptive divisions with a variety of inclusive categories. 

The details: The three-day competition–presented by Nike and Limited Edition Athletes–will feature more than 1,200 athletes from 28 different countries between the able-bodied and adaptive divisions. They will take on the competition at Parc del Forum, the public gathering place located on the Mediterranean Sea. 

  • GRIT Programming, a Barcelona-based training platform, is in charge of programming the workouts for the three-day competition featuring teams and several individual divisions. 
  • The 2022 CrossFit Games had three main adaptive divisions – upper extremity, lower extremity, and neuromuscular. Wodcelona takes it a step further with seven adaptive divisions – upper extremity, lower extremity, neuromuscular, sensorial, short stature, seated-1, and seated-2.
  • Along with adaptive divisions, Wodcelona will also feature Elite/RX male and female divisions; male and female teams; three masters divisions; and intermediate/scaled divisions. 

Marc Gil, CEO of Limited Edition Athletes: “It all started back in 2018, actually. I think I was just back from Wodapalooza, and I had this organization, Limited Edition Athletes, happening. I felt like, ‘Hey, why not do something like what Miami is for the United States?’ Somehow Wodcelona can be for Europe. Why not do that but start it from the adaptive roots and then be inclusive by inviting the able-bodied divisions?” 

“That process, I started like in 2018 just going on a train on my way to my parent’s home. And after four years, pandemics in between. lots of talks, discussions, and people coming in, we’re going up now. … I couldn’t be more stoked and more excited about it. It just is like a dream coming true.”

Remind me: Limited Edition Athletes is a non-profit organization dedicated to adapting functional fitness to the capacities of everyone. Limited Edition Athletes works directly with seven gyms in Barcelona while helping them transition into a more inclusive space for fitness. 

  • Along with the focus on adaptive athletes, Limited Edition Athletes works directly with Hospital del Mar to assist those about to receive treatment for cancer through a program called Reps Against Cancer.
  • Another important project, PistOLDs, is one created in collaboration with Dr. Maria Rosa Gutiérrez and the Malgrat de Mar City Council. Limited Edition Athletes has a functional fitness program for people over the age of 65, which helps create a sense of belonging to a community. 

A unique environment: Wodcelona will take place in a picturesque location where all of the major festivals in Barcelona go. The CrossFit competition will coexist with Extreme Barcelona, a festival featuring competitions for BMX, scooters, skateboarding, and breakdancing. There will also be performances from rappers, DJs, and other artists. 

  • “We are expecting to bring around 6000 people during the three days, especially because it’s a free event, so it’s convenient,” Gil said. “And at the same time, because it’s happening when the festivities of the city… Those days when Barcelona has lots to offer like culture, sports, etc.” 
  • “So they’re going to be promoting it all around the city to make sure that anybody in the city can go there. So we’re expecting in three days 6000 people, which is quite a lot. But the venue is giant. So I think it’s going to give a really cool atmosphere there. And it’s also a really good chance for people to know more about our sport, right?”

The reason for the focus on adaptive athletes: There are multiple reasons why Limited Edition Athletes and Wodcelona are taking this adaptive division-focused approach. The first is to provide opportunities to compete to those that may not reach the CrossFit Games because there isn’t a division for them. 

  • The other is to change the conversation in future years. The goal is to reach a point where fitness enthusiasts see the name Wodcelona and automatically know that it’s a place welcome to everyone. There won’t have to be press releases listing the various divisions. 

“Our goal is not to be like the biggest competition or whatever,” Gil said. “We just want to make sure that everybody has a chance to go there and have fun and participate and be part of this. One of the things that we definitely realize is that we have athletes who might be in a quadriplegic situation, being absolutely impaired. Here they have the chance to compete.”

“It’s really cool what Marc is working with his NGO, with LEA,” said Tote Picañol, the man in charge of equipment for the competition. “That he is bringing that opportunity to many athletes that maybe they cannot make it to the Games because they don’t have the category to the competition that they will have at Wodcelona. 
“So we may even be able to make some noise. So who knows, right? Maybe even for the next editions of the Games, they can get even some ideas of how we want to structure the competition for all these athletes and how we can bring this maybe to a major competition like in Madison.”

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