3 Things the CrossFit Games Taught Us

This year has seen a massive change in the way CrossFit as a sport is delivered to the masses. Regionals are no more, Sanctionals are now a thing, and The Open is now more important than ever!
The Games themselves looked very different this year too, with a host of National Champions taking the floor for the first time and a number of household names being cut from competition early on and not seeing out the weekend.
So, what have we learned from these changes and what the takeaways going into the 2020 season?

If you look at the first two workouts at this years CrossFit Games you will find CLASSIC CrossFit at the core of the programming. The MWG (mono-structural, weightlifting, gymnastics) triplet is something that CrossFit has pioneered and if you lose sight of that for other programming bias then you’re losing sight of what CrossFit really is. WOD 1 rewarded those who could climb a rope and move a heavy load through a skilled movement while fatigued from running. The best snatchers may have not made the cut if they couldn’t climb the rope. The best gymnasts may have been cut if they could not snatch the barbell. WOD 2 did the same, just flipping the format from rounds to a chipper format and putting the weightlifting element before the gymnastic. You can handstand walk, but can you do it with your shoulders fatigued from 66 KB push press?? CLASSIC CrossFit at its finest.

There is a current trend which sees everyone trying to get the biggest clean or heaviest snatch but the truth is in a well-rounded test like The Games, that is only a small piece of the puzzle. We didn’t see a REALLY heavy barbell until the final 10 had already been established and this trend away from the biggest lifters dominating the sport is nothing new. We have seen the format for maximal lifts change over the last few years and edging towards capacity and away from raw strength for the most part, look at the snatch and clean speed ladders of recent games and regionals (RIP). Being strong is cool, but only if you’re fit enough to get to the heavy barbells.

With all the negativity surrounding the cuts and certain individuals not making it through to the top 10 (or even the top 20 in some cases) to challenge in the later workouts there were plenty of complaints and excuses being made. Do you know who didn’t complain? Matt Fraser, Tia Claire Toomy and Rich Froning. The changes in format were out of their control the same as they were for everyone else, and they had the most to lose from these changes, but at the end of the day winners win regardless of the format.

I for one enjoyed this year as both a coach and a fan of the sport and there are already rumours about the format for next year being tweaked slightly, with slightly less violent cuts up front and the top 20 seeing out the weekend. I for one think this would be the perfect balance and I’m looking forward to watching this new format develop and heroes from all walks of life being born through the national champion system.

Bring on next year!