On Oct. 11, 2022, the CrossFit Games team announced some changes for the 2023 competitive season. Most of the attention following the announcement, as is typical, centered on the Individual season for male athletes and female athletes. More specifically, the attention went to the strength of the field for the new Semifinal layout and whether we’ll get as strong of a field as possible at the Games.
Some of the biggest changes, however, have to do with the Team division, which is seeing an overhaul in eligibility and a massive reduction in terms of complexity. Check out the breakdown below:
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What Has Changed?
News of the changes to the 2023 CrossFit season came via an email from Chris Madigan, a communications strategist with the sports public relations firm BZA PR, which is contracted to work for CrossFit. Other details trickled in on separate platforms, including the CrossFit YouTube channel, the CrossFit Games podcast, the company’s Instagram, and The Hopper newsletter.
While the full 2023 rulebook won’t be out until sometime in November, we do know that the major focus is on the simplification of team eligibility requirements. Here are the main points:
- Only CrossFit affiliates in good standing may register a team.
- Anyone can join an affiliate team as long as each athlete performs all the Open and Quarterfinal tests at the affiliate’s physical location.
- To verify an athlete’s eligibility, teams must be able to provide video evidence of each team member performing all the Open tests at their team’s affiliate.
- After the Open, teams will then select six athletes (four competing members and two alternates) who will compete in the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals together. That six-person team is locked for the season.
This is in contrast to the 2022 rules, which stated that “in addition to being active members of the team’s CrossFit affiliate, team athletes all must live within 100 miles of the CrossFit affiliate they are representing.”
The 2022 rulebook also set a hard Jan. 13, 2022, deadline to move to these locations. If any doubt arose about a team’s eligibility, CrossFit would “require athletes to produce documentation proving they have indeed met the team requirements.”
What Does It Mean?
One thing is for sure, the 2023 version of team eligibility is much simpler, which is important for several reasons.
First, it reduces the pressure on CrossFit to launch investigations about any team whose eligibility is drawn into question. For example, after a lengthy investigation — including email records and voicemails — in 2022, CrossFit announced that Viktor Långsved of CrossFit Nordic was ruled ineligible because he could not show enough verified training days at the team’s gym.
Athletes previously had to take part in at least 51 percent of their training sessions at the team’s facility, which Långsved did not meet, according to the investigation. Långsved disputed all of this in the Instagram post below:
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Under the new rules, however, an athlete just needs to participate in the Open and Quarterfinal tests at the facility and document it via video to be able to remain eligible. For CrossFit, they just need to verify the video to make a confirmation. This should streamline the eligibility process and cut down on burdensome and time-consuming investigations in the future.
Secondly, the athletes no longer have to make plans to move their entire lives by a specific date to be eligible for an affiliate team. As stated above, they just have to do the Open and Quarterfinal tests at the affiliate they’re representing.
How Could These Changes Impact the 2023 CrossFit Season?
The Affiliate cup has gone through many iterations over the years, from six-person teams to four-person teams, to the possibility of super teams during the 2019 season. If you want a perfect example of what teams could look like in the upcoming season, just look at the 2019 second-place team at the CrossFit Games, CrossFit Krypton.
That team had four very accomplished Individual athletes — Alec Smith, Cody Mooney, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, and Jessica Griffith — who were living in different parts of the United States but were all able to compete on the same team within the rules for that season.
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While many aspiring teams have already made plans for various members to move to satisfy the old rules, they no longer have to worry about that. If there is any frustration about having set those plans in motion only to find out about these changes just now, this is earlier than we’ve ever had information about an upcoming season.
So, are super teams back? Time will tell, but the process of creating them is certainly much simpler than it’s been in the past two years.
Featured Image: @crossfitgames on Instagram