Background on CrossFit Games

Jim Kean

Jim Kean | COO

In 2007, a number of the early Crossfit pioneers decided to hold an event to see who was the “fittest” and thus was born the Crossfit World Games. Since 2010, the Games have been held at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles to allow the many fans and spectators to follow.

The 2011 Games represented a watershed event for Crossfit in a variety of aspects:

  • Sponsorship: For the first time, the 2011 Games were sponsored by a large corporation, Reebok. More significantly Reebok anted a large cash pool of $1 million for the top finishing athletes.
  • Athletes: Crossfit allows anyone to compete but with the large cash prize, the highest level CrossFit athletes can make a living.
  • Coverage: ESPN3 covered the 2011 Games, rebroadcast the games in 2012, and is providing more coverage for the 2012 Games.

The structure of the Games follows the grassroots democratization ethos that runs strongly through Crossfit’s culture. The Games run through three levels culminating in the World Games.

First level – the Open:

  • Beginning in late February, Crossfit Headquarters posts a workout every Wednesday at 5pm PST with specific instructions on what constitutes an acceptable workout. An athlete then has five days to submit their results.
  • Your workout can be judged either by a registered Crossfit Affiliate or via a  videotaped and posted workout.
  • The structure of the Open workouts is based on totaling up total repetitions and then assigning you a score of based on how you ended up placing vs. the rest of your group. For example, the first Open Workout of 2012 was an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) of Burpees (a hellish combination of a pushup, squat, jump) in 7 minutes.
  • Workouts are posted to the Leaderboards and ranked according to completion. For example, as a Masters 50-54 Male I did 99 reps in 7 minutes. This ranked me worldwide at 98th meaning 98 people either did more than me or the same. This result gave me 98 points.
  • There will be 4 more workouts in the next 4 weeks. They will attempt to hit all manner of movement related to strength, speed, skill, endurance, etc. as well as attack any weak areas an athlete might have.
  • After the five weeks of workouts, the 60 athletes with the lowest total scores in the Open Men’s and Women’s Categories in each of the 17 Worldwide Crossfit Regionals will be sent to a regional competition.
  • As well, each affiliate will send 3 men and 3 women to compete as a team.
  • Lastly, the top 20 Masters athletes worldwide in eight categories will bypass Regionals and go directly to the World Games in July.

Second level – the Regionals:

  • In April and May the Worldwide Regional Games will be held in 17 Regions.
  • These will generally represent 7-10 different workouts over 3 days.
  • The top three individual men and women athletes as well as the top three teams from each region will go onwards to the World Games in July.

Third level – the 2012 World Games:

  • The Games follows the same format of 3-4 days of competition in a variety of skills and events.
  • On the last day, the top 10 competitors in each category will be selected for the final workouts.
  • The top three finishers in all categories will ascend the podium.

This year’s Games should be huge for Crossfit worldwide. Last year saw 20,000 participants. This year it is estimated the 55,000 will be registered. Last year’s Open Leaderboard and televised segments were some of the most popular sites on the world wide web and it should only be larger this year. We’re excited to see what’s in store, are you?

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