The CrossFit Games is in a state of uncertainty at the moment. In a lengthy article published by The Morning Chalk Up a couple of weeks ago, CrossFit’s CEO and founder Greg Glassman started to reveal seismic changes to the CrossFit Games format.
- No more Regionals.
- The best male and female athlete from every country with a CrossFit affiliate will receive an invite to the Games.
- Just the top 20 finishers from the Open will receive additional invites to the Games, likely resulting in far fewer competitors from the United States.
[Read more of the potential changes in our summary of the interview.]
Athletes around the world held their breath as they waited for official confirmation from CrossFit HQ. Or denial. Or something. In a BarBend interview, Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet said,
I think right now it’s hard for all the athletes, in that this is kind of our life right now. I think it’s very scary for a lot of us. (…) Nothing has been confirmed or denied (…) The hard thing right now is just having this sort of waiting game and waiting to see what the next season will look like.
But weeks have passed with no official statement from HQ. And while a lot of athletes feel a little like they’re in limbo, Glassman has given another interview, this time on the podcast Girls Gone WOD — and he’s made some very interesting follow up statements. You can listen to the whole thing on their site (it’s all in the first half, beginning around the three-minute mark) but we’ve transcribed the most pertinent parts below.
We’re going to complete the globalization of the Games and maybe even CrossFit.
(At this year’s Games) I did see athletes coming into the arena carrying their flags. And boy, it looked like a 4th of July parade, you know? And there’s nothing wrong with that, but better than that would be a true reflection of the growth and the universal nature, the globalization, of the affiliate. (…) 160-something (countries), I believe, participated in the Open. They don’t all make it to the end.
But what we’re going to do from now on is, we’re going to have a national championship that’s determined by the Open. So in every country we’ll have crowned the Fittest Man™ and Woman™. And we can do something similar, of course, with the Juniors, Masters, Seniors, that kind of thing. And that Fittest Man and Woman are going to come to the Games in Madison.
On the Timing of the New Format
We’re going to move the Open to October after this next one in February, (which is) in the regular slot. We’re going to have two next year, oddly enough, ‘cos we have to get on that tempo.
We’re going to open up the season from October to July, that gives November through June, eight months where we’re going to have sanctioned events. And those sanctioned events are going to be the pathway to get to the Games after the Open as a team or as a second chance for people that weren’t national champions and going automatically.
On Team Qualifications
This first year, we’ll probably take the top 20 from the Open, plus the national champions, and conduct however many sanctioned events we have ready. And they’re falling into our lap, this is easy. Wodapoalooza is on board. Granite Games is on board. The French Throwdown is on board. Dubai (Fitness Championship) is on board. We just spoke with Annie Thorisdottir this morning and it’s her intent to take a lead in this and mine to support her. There’s going to be something in Iceland, I’ll be shocked if not. And there’s a lot of others to talk to.
I want to bring the rest of the world in every year. If you’ve got an affiliate in your country, you ought to be able to send someone to the games.
Our plan is we’re gonna have a lot of athletes at the Games, so in short order we’re gonna cull the herd to a very watchable and exciting number of people. (…) I’m gonna have roughly 160 men and 160 women from each of the countries. I’m going to have, we’re talking initially within the first year or two, launching with 16 sanctioned events that give a pathway to the Games. Those are where the teams are going to come from. We’re going to have 16 teams.
On New Ways to Qualify for the Games
I’m going to have about 160 men and 160 women, 16 people from the sanctioned events, 20 of the top 20 of the Open because I don’t have all the sanctioned events in place. And that gets me to about 196 and that leaves 4 slots to get us to 200 and we thought we’re gonna have some wild cards.
We’re really attracted to this (idea of a) “Blowhard Card.” You didn’t do the Open, you’re not one of us, but you won’t shut the fuck up about how fit you are. (…) Why don’t we let someone get a “Blowhard Card.” All we ask is you talk a load of that crap and that someone believes in you more than us. You need a community. So there needs to be someone with a loud mouth with a bunch of people saying, “Yeah you’ll do great.” I know where to find ‘em, so we just drop a line at some of those places and say, “Hey, tough guy, we’ve got a seat for you.”
What Will Happen in Madison
(At the Games) we’re gonna have 16 events, we get to the Games, what could happen — it seems enjoyable to me — is earlier in the week put 200 to a task that leaves 10. And then (we’re) watching 10 for 2 days. (…) A higher intensity, denser format, where there’s less to watch but more to see.
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Episode 270 is here! We are excited to release Greg Glassman’s VERY FIRST full interview since announcing the @crossfitgames changes – and he gives us the inside scoop on his thought process behind the changes, and talks about how this signals a shift in priorities for CrossFit as a whole. We also discuss the growth of CrossFit Health and the CFMDL1 program, why Greg thinks it’s important to be working directly with physicians, and why he says he’s not in the business of slinging data or out to change public health. Available on iTunes/Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your fave podcast app. #girlsgonewod #joyandclaire #femalepodcasts #crossfit #crossfitgames #crossfithealth
He discusses a few more changes he’d like to see in his organization, like a less litigious approach that would allow more affiliates to host their own CrossFit-branded competitions for a nominal fee (“It’s time to loosen the thing up.”) He concludes the discussion on the Games by saying,
The shift in structure and restructure of the Games is good for the Games. It’s gonna make the games bigger. It’s gonna make it bigger. But it’s also gonna give us a chance to commit resources and focus to the part that really, really matters.
This interview brought clarity to his previous statements and revealed some new changes as well. Note that none of this has officially been confirmed by CrossFit HQ, but we’re certainly looking forward to a statement.
Featured image @girlsgonewodpodcast on Instagram.