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2020 CrossFit Games to Move to Hybrid Online Model, Top 5 Men and Women to Compete in Person

The Games will likely occur across two weekends starting in September.

On Friday, August 7th, CrossFit Games organizers held a group call with qualified Games athletes regarding plans, dates, and format for the 2020 CrossFit Games. A source familiar with the call tells BarBend that CrossFit organizers will be moving the competition’s format to a hybrid online/in-person model.

The first portion of this year’s CrossFit Games will take place online, with athletes competing virtually.

After an initial qualification series, the top 5 men and top 5 women will move on to compete in person in California, presumably at the CrossFit Ranch.

The athlete field — just 30 men and 30 women — was already dramatically reduced as compared to last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting scheduling changes. Team, Masters, and Teens divisions were also canceled for this year.

(Update: CrossFit has confirmed the new competition schedule.)

In addition, our source says CrossFit organizers will seek athlete input regarding Games dates. Athletes will be able to vote based on their preference for the initial qualification weekend, which is the event’s online portion. The in-person portion of the event will occur 4-5 later. 

The news comes a little over a month after it was announced the Games would be delayed once again from August until September 14th at the earliest. 

Note: An earlier version of this article listed 20 men and 20 women as the size of this year’s field. This version has been corrected.

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On April 16, we announced that we are reviewing all options to host the CrossFit Games in Aromas while monitoring events globally. That effort is ongoing. Due to current limitations on social gatherings, and professional sport in particular, the field of athletes in attendance will be reduced. The Open Since the inception of the CrossFit Open, the top 20 athletes on the Open leaderboard have always included the future CrossFit Games champion among their ranks, and the Open winner has gone on to become the Games winner eight times. The top 20 men and 20 women worldwide will receive invites to Aromas. If an athlete declines their invite, the invite passes to the next athlete. Sanctionals The ten Sanctionals that were able to host in-person competitions this season will be invited to send their champions to this year’s CrossFit Games. Sanctionals invites are affected by placement in the Open. If a Sanctionals champion has already qualified through the Open, the invite passes to the next athlete. This process will hold true for this reduced field. For this reason, some invites that were extended before the government lockdowns may pass back to the original invitee. Beginning today, all previously invited individuals will be contacted with an update on the status of their invite. There will not be a team competition at the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games. National Champions Last year, CrossFit Headquarters expanded the field of athletes in attendance at the Games to include the fittest athlete in every eligible country. In light of current constraints, it will not be possible to host the previously invited 239 national champions in Aromas. The national champion race will reset in 2021 with invites extended to champions who earn top placement in the upcoming CrossFit Open. 2021 Season The changes above have been made in consideration of the current challenges globally. The CrossFit Games will reset for the 2021 season with the intent of returning to crowning national champions and including teams, age group athletes, and a deep field of individuals competing for the title of Fittest on Earth in Madison, Wisconsin. #CrossFitGames @crossfitranch

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More Details Announced

Shortly after our initial report went live, CrossFit confirmed more details on the CrossFit Games website. Important takeaways include:

  • All events will be streamed on the CrossFit Games site
  • Each athlete will be judged in person by a member of CrossFit’s Seminar Staff
  • Final dates for this year’s CrossFit Games will be announced by mid-August
  • The initial online competition stage will determine placements and prizes for athletes ranked 6th through 30th

Travel and Event Challenges for CrossFit Athletes

The updates come amid continued travel complications and restrictions for people around the globe. On July 29th, Rich Froning announced the Mayhem Madness Team Event — widely seen as a replacement for this year’s CrossFit Games Team competition — would be canceled, citing travel restrictions imposed due to the continuing pandemic. 

The move to an online model isn’t without precedent. This year’s Rogue Invitational, originally scheduled for May, was postponed to June and moved online. Athletes competed virtually in heats in their local boxes and garage gyms. The event was widely praised in the fitness community for the consistent viewer experience, use of guest commentators, and relative lack of technical glitches and down time. It’s unclear if this year’s CrossFit Games will take inspiration from the model used by Rogue for that competition.

The Eric Roza Era: New Ownership Finalized

Earlier on Friday, new CrossFit CEO Eric Roza announced via Twitter that the purchase of CrossFit, Inc. had been finalized and approved by governmental regulators. This is roughly two months after CrossFit founder and former CEO Greg Glassman sparked controversy with his tweets regarding George Floyd; in the weeks after, allegations surfaced regarding a toxic and sexist work culture at CrossFit HQ, and Glassman stepped down as CEO, with Games Director Dave Castro temporarily assuming the role. 

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So many thoughts in Aromas. Camera 1: @mathewfras, @vigneaultalex, Albert-Dominic Larouche, @bstoneberg, @thetravismayer, @alexanderson29, @marcusfilly, @bk_gudmundsson, @thedavecastro ,@nohlsen, @bridgesj3, @pvellner tells the best jokes, @fikowski, @samuelkwant, @scottpanchik mid fart, @stacietovar on her phone, @321gaux, @crossfitcowboy45, @camillelbaz, @katrintanja deep in thought, @anniethorisdottir, @tasiapercevecz asleep, @karasaundo, @maddiesturt, @holtekristin, and @kristieramo. Camera 2: @carlyfuhrer, @teamcarleen’s first selfie, @beccavoigt , @sheila_sue being Shiela Sue, @christyphillipsadkins, and @CHYNACHO. 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games field trip group photo at The @crossfitranch, taken by metconphotos. #CrossFitGames #CrossFit #Fitness #Aromas #CFGhistory #TBT #Memories #HadtoBeThere

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In late June, CrossFit and Roza released joint statements announcing the company’s acquisition, pending final details and governmental approval. 

Roza, the former CEO of Datalogix, is joined in the deal by Boston-based investment firm Berkshire Partners. Roza had earlier announced that 1% of shares of CrossFit, Inc. would be held in a non-voting trust for Maggie Glassman and her children. 

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