Now that the dust of the CrossFit Games settles down and our mind is on the season to come, it’s time to state our view of the last season’s top CrossFit competition, the 2019 CrossFit Games.
The Games were impressive, well-schedule and organised and gave many thrills, like they have us get used to every year since their creation. But this year’s changes to the system gave many something to talk about. As far as we are concerned there are two subjects we noticed, and how couldn’t we, that need to be mentioned:
The first Cut:
The introduction of the National Champions in this years Games gave a new touch to the competition, you could feel the community and the excitement of the people competing and spectating (the opening ceremony was really amazing) but the truth is that the level of skills and athletic performance was reduced and with it the prestige of many Games Athletes.
The best evidence was the first event which, in our opinion, was a no go for many athletes as it would really exceed the athletic capacity of the average. CrossFit games should have foreseen that the majority of the athletes wouldn’t be able to perform on such demanding exercises (legless rope climbs and heavy squat snatches) and even so, try to make the procedure a little more pleasant and motivational.
There were athletes that trained for this, waited for this all season and travelled from the other side of the world, all for a 400 meter run, a couple of rope climbs or at best, some squat snatch attempts with the barbell. No question the CrossFit Games crew designed this demanding workout to clear the fog early in the competition but probably wasn’t the best welcome to the many National Champion rookies.
There have been made some unofficial announcements early after the end of the Games concerning the cuts (minimum 3 CrossFit style events for all athletes before the first cut occurs) and all we have to do is wait to see what other changes might show up and how are these gonna motivate and affect the Open Top 20 and Sactional winners and whether there will be a chance for the National Champions to advance on and enjoy more the competition.
The early Τop 10:
Last time we came across the Cutting system was back in 2014 when after 11 events the field reduced from 40 to 30 athletes. Since then, in every season all 40 qualified athletes got to compete in all events without any Cut. This year, the cuts came back and even though the point system was ok, the whole concept left us with a bitter taste and a sense of unfairness.
There are examples in the past of athletes (like Pat Vellner or Scott Panchik) that even if they didn’t start strong on the first events or had some upside- downs during the weekend, they managed to come back and finish in the Top 5 or the Podium. What we get of this is that the more events there are to compete in the better and more accurate evidence you get of an athlete’s performance and level of fitness. So 6 events in total is a very incomplete test (especially for the CrossFit Games) to find the 10 fittest athletes.
The fact is that in these Games no one afforded to have a bad performance in any of the cuts, the top 10 athletes achieved that but what happened next is really interesting, many of them didn’t perform well in the next “cut-free” events (performances that would have left them outside the Top 10 if these events were cuts) with some even being unable to meet the standards of their ranking position (not to mention that the competition standards among 10 individuals differ in difficulty than those among 40).
We are not trying to judge the athletes but state that if the first events where different, probably many of the top 10 athletes wouldn’t have passed all the cuts and we would be talking about a different Top 10 heat. How can this be a reliable and fair system for the top fitness competition in the world?