The 2021 CrossFit Games Open is UPON US!!! Actually, sorry, it’s the NOBULL CrossFit Games!! NOBULL is probably the first in a long list of major changes to the CrossFit Games that you might not have known about. Before we get too far down the road, WHAT ARE THE CROSSFIT GAMES? Well, the CrossFit Games began in 2007 and it was a small and very gritty affair. In 2010 the CrossFit Open was born. The CrossFit Games Open or “the Open” is an international event that represents the first stage of competition to qualify for the CrossFit Games (the one on ESPN). Before 2010 there were sanctionals (more on this later) where people competed to qualify for the games. Then in 2010 the Open brought online qualifiers to all CrossFit gyms. This has grown and morphed over the years, but generally scores are submitted on the honor basis and if you are good enough for someone to care how you did you would need video evidence proving that you did what you said.
The Open is largely responsible for the “standards” that every CrossFit gym adheres to. By nature, CrossFit is a time-based activity and for there to be equity in judging a winner there need to be widely used and understood standards. These standards are why we all stand up on top of the box during box jumps or why we make sure our hip crease passes below our knee in the squat. These standards coincide with best practices in almost every case – they make the movements harder and generally establish a greater range of motion around the joints. In that way, the Games standards are just a method for establishing the three major tenets of CrossFit: Safety, Efficiency, and Efficacy.
The way the Open has functioned has actually been quite fluid for a long time. When I started CrossFit I was one of 60 (I think) people that qualified for SoCal Regionals through the Open. Each year the pool of athletes accepted shrank and a few years later they only accepted 20 people. And that number has gone down every year since. New avenues for qualifying for the CrossFit Games have been created as those Open spots have been reduced. Regional competitions, not sponsored by CrossFit, like the Granite Games and Wodapalooza, also called sanctionals – a real blast from the past, popped up a few years ago after being discontinued in 2010.
This year things are VERY different. The Open has always been 5 weeks long with the workouts coming out on Thursday night and submissions closing on Monday. These are workouts created by Dave Castro (the head of the CrossFit Games) and they are done in almost all CrossFit gyms around the world. All of our classes will do the 2021 CrossFit Open workouts on FRIDAY. There is an RX (just like our workouts) and there is also a specific RX for the “Scaled” workout as well. In this way, there is a difference between our regular programming and the Open. But unless you sign up for the Open and are intent on making it to the next level, we can always scale as appropriate for you and mix and match weights, movements, etc.
One of the ways that this year is different is that it is ONLY 3 WEEKS LONG. So this will be a shorter Open period than normal. Based on the limited information that has been given to the public regarding the workouts it seems likely that there will not be terribly complicated gymnastics in the Open this year. The second major difference is that the next step is actually called the QUARTERFINALS. If you are a top 10% finisher in your continent then you will continue on to this (there will be quite a few people that fall into this category from the gym) in April. The top 10% of Masters athletes in their division (as a total) will also move on to the Age Online Qualifier in May. The top 25% of teams in the Open will also advance to the quarterfinals. The other major difference is that this year is the first that CrossFit has a new sponsor, in this case NOBULL. The purveyor of dope looking shoes and cool clothes. And a brand born of CrossFit which is really cool.
You do not need to sign up for the CrossFit Open! If you do there is a worldwide leaderboard that will give you a sense of where you rank in the world as a whole and on each workout. There are custom leaderboards between friends as well and a whole myriad of other things you can do with that info. For those of you looking to push yourself in a new way, this is a great opportunity. For a lot of people, the Open was a way to interact with their favorite athletes, be part of a global community, and even put their hat in the ring for some CrossFit greatness. As the sport has evolved it has unquestionably become harder to make it to the Games. And when official CrossFit regionals were discontinued in 2018 many people stopped doing the Open. The Open is a benchmark like many others in CrossFit, think Fran, Diane, Karen, Murph, 1 rep maxes, etc. In my opinion, this is an easy, cheap, and ready-made method for self improvement and self testing. For the most part, all of you know CrossFit; you know the movements, you understand what working out hard feels like, and many of you participate in CrossFit everyday. I would highly encourage everyone to come on Fridays for the next 3 weeks to participate, if you can. If you cannot make it on Fridays there will be an opportunity to do the Open workout on Saturday. You will need to have some personal agency in this, you’ll need to know the workout, and know how to pull up the warm-up from Friday on your phone. If you do want to do it on Saturday please come either at 9 or 10 promptly and not in the middle of one of those classes!
Finally, if you look on the Americana Boulevard wall you’ll notice a Masters vs. Millennials banner paying homage to the Masters of the gym that won our intergym community event in 2019. This year we will have another community event! How do you know what team you are on? You need to know your first name! That’s it. Expect some more information on Wednesday!!!