Morning Chalk Up Community

Quantifying Games Experience in Games Qualification, pt. 1

April 28, 2022 by

The chances of competing in the CrossFit Games are preeeeeeeetty slim.

Consider this: let's say you're a North American female competitor in 2022. In the Open there were approximately 64,000 North American female competitors vying for that 10% cutoff to make it to Quarterfinals.

So, road to the Games starts with a 10% step from stage 1 to stage 2.

Of those approximate 6,400, only 120 will make the next step to Semifinals: 1.875%.

Still not done. Of those 120 semifinals competitors in North America, only 20 (5 per Semifinal with 4 30-competitor Semifinals): 16.67%

Calculating the probability of multiple steps is simple arithmetic: 10% x 1.875% x 16.67% = 0.0313%.

You could also do the quick math: 20 Games competitors/64,000 participants = 0.0313%.

Here's a short list of Open to Games probabilities for female & male 2022 competitors based on continent:

  • Africa: 0.031% | 0.023%
  • Asia: 0.041% | 0.021%
  • Europe: 0.027% | 0.018%
  • Oceania: 0.035% | 0.033%
  • North America: 0.031% | 0.028%
  • South America: 0.044% | 0.030%

These numbers assume everyone has the same odds at the very start of competition, that those who make the Games are simply a random sampling.

You & I both know that isn't the case. Many factors play critical roles in a Games-level competitor making their way to the Games—training history, genetics, lifestyle, competition experience, etc.

It's that last attribute I hope to shed a little light on.

Specifically, what do the numbers say regarding Games veterans & their odds of returning to Madison? Once athletes take the floor at the Semifinals level, do rookies make the final step to the Games at the same rate that Games veterans do?

Assumptions

First things first: an Open participant does not a Games competitor make. Nor does a Quarterfinal participant. You could even make the argument that not all Semifinal competitors are Games ready. But then we'd have no reason for this analysis. To reduce the noise of Open & Quarterfinal participants not Games-ready, I'm only looking at the final step of Games qualification: Semifinals (& Regionals for pre-Semifinals).

The big assumption the following numbers make is that at the Semifinal level the only differentiating factor between athletes is their prior Games experience. (Which, as mentioned above, is only one of myriad factors that make the fittest the fittest.)

Looking at Games participants from the 2015, '16, '17, '18, & '21 seasons (I threw out 2019 because of the unique roster size & 2020 because of the cut to the Semifinals season), there are some interesting trends for the rookie & veteran groups.

Results

In 2021, of the 300 Semifinals male competitors, 249 (83%) were rookies, 51 (17%) were veterans, & 40 qualified for the Games (13%).

If the success rate were equal for rookies & veterans, you'd expect the 40 2021 Games athletes to follow the same or a similar distribution: 83% rookie/17% veteran, or ~33 rookies/~7 veterans.

In 2021, there were 14 rookies (35%) who qualified for the Games & 26 veterans (65%).

Of the 249 rookies, only 5.6% qualified compared to 50.9% of the 51 veterans competing for a Games spot.

Maybe 2021 is an anomaly, though. 2019 & 2020 certainly were, right?

  • 2015: 322 Regional competitors | 273 rookies | 49 veterans | 5.49% rookie to Games | 46.94% veteran back to Games
  • 2016: 323 Regional competitors | 269 rookies | 54 veterans | 7.06% rookie to Games | 38.89% veteran back to Games
  • 2017: 327 Regional competitors | 269 rookies | 58 veterans | 5.20% rookie to Games | 43.10%veteran back to Games
  • 2018: 360 Regional competitors | 308 rookies | 52 veterans | 5.19% rookie to Games | 46.15%veteran back to Games

Seems that 2021 holds up with previous Games seasons. About 5% of the rookie Semifinals competitors will qualify to the Games each year alongside about 45% of the veteran Semifinals competitors.

What does this mean for rookie:veteran makeup at the 2022 Games?

At the time of writing, there are 227 rookies & 54 veterans registered for Semifinals. Using 5% as the rookie probability & 45% as the veteran probability, we've got 11 rookies & 24 veterans, leaving 3 spots outside the numbers (with an additional 2 coming from the Last Chance Qualifier).

Here's the fun part:

Using the Tyler Watkins' Power Rankings & the Semifinals cut offs, you get the following lineup:

  • Justin Medeiros
  • Scott Panchik
  • Jayson Hopper
  • Taylor Self
  • Scott Tetlow
  • Patrick Vellner
  • Jeffrey Adler
  • Cédric Lapointe
  • Alexandre Caron
  • Alex Vigneault
  • Ruan Potgieter
  • Guilherme Malheiros
  • Agustin Richelme
  • Roman Khrennikov
  • Morteza Sedaghat
  • Matt Dlugos
  • Brent Fikowski
  • Phil Toon
  • Anthony Davis
  • Travis Mayer
  • Lazar Đukić
  • Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson
  • Nikita Yundov
  • Uldis Upenieks
  • Luka Đukić
  • Saxon Panchik
  • Noah Ohlsen
  • Dallin Pepper
  • Cole Sager
  • Spencer Panchik
  • Jonne Koski
  • Ioannis Papadopoulos
  • Willy Georges
  • Giorgos Karavis
  • Alex Kotoulas
  • Ricky Garard
  • Royce Dunne
  • Bayden Brown

Guess what the break down is rookies:veterans? 12 rookies v 26 veterans.

Check out the upcoming parts of this series:

  • Pt. 2 a breakdown of the women's field
  • Pt. 3 a breakdown on how likelihoods change based on years of Games experience
  • Pt. 4 a breakdown of qualification probabilities based on continent

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