That’s right, you read it right, we won’t be participating in the CrossFit Open this year, at least not formally.
Since the Open started in 2011 we have been involved as a gym and participated every year. We saw our participation balloon to over 150 people in 2013/2014 and since it has dropped drastically, to less than 50 people actually completing all 5 weeks of the workouts last year. In the past, for many, I know having Regionals is what really spurred much of our attendance. Not because you all had a chance to qualify, but because the prospect of our individuals competing, getting a team in as well, really gave our community something to rally behind. As you all should know at this point, Regionals is gone. There is no more qualifying a team, there is no more individual competition at the Regional level, the only thing the Open will do this year is automatically qualify the best in each country, and the top 20 in the world. We strongly feel these changes are going to be the demise of the Open. As can be seen above, our attendance in the Open has declined dramatically, and now without Regionals, many of our non-competitive members who participate in the Open have said their interest is even more lost given that there is no second step after the Open for people to get excited for.
In addition to the overall lack of importance of the Open now, I mean come on, do you really care if you’re the 107,384 fittest person in CrossFit, with such low attendance, it doesn’t make sense for us to cancel our classes Friday nights all for what might only be 30-40 people this year. With a gym community of over 300, we’ve decided it doesn’t make sense to cancel classes and prioritize for the 10-15% of the gym that is participating.
Now, can you still do the Open, absolutely! We will still be registering our affiliate so athletes can submit and have scores validated, but this will no longer be our focus. For those interested in participating in the Open they will be able to do it on their own time under the eye of anyone who has taken and passed the CrossFit Judges course. As always we will also be doing the Open workout in class each Friday.
Does this mean we’re done with qualifiers and competitions, absolutely not!
There has been a pretty big shake-up in the CrossFit world when it comes to competition, and unfortunately CrossFit HQ has said done a very poor job of keeping everyone informed, professional athletes, gym owners, etc. For us our decision to “cancel” the Open has come down to where we would rather see our money and time spent. With the Open essentially meaning nothing for all but the very best, in the past this was still relatively true, but in any given year we typically would have 15-20 different athletes in our gym contribute to our team score, we usually had a handful of Masters making it to the second qualifying round and our community had Regionals to look forward to as well. This is all gone now (Masters will still be part of the Open, but CrossFit still has yet to release actual specifics of what that will look like).
So, going forward, we aren’t done competing, but we will be focusing our efforts towards event(s) that are a little more inclusive and provide more opportunity for the gym as a whole. While we will likely hone in on a second competition, but for right now, for the year of 2019, or efforts in terms of online qualifiers and competitions will be focused towards Wodapalooza.
Having been to Wodapalooza on 3 different occasions I can tell you that it is an exciting and big competition, in a place, that in the middle of January is great to go to. Wodapalooza also has avenues for literally all levels to compete. Instead of doing the Open and then packing it up until the next year, Wodapalooza provides and avenue to participate in an online qualifier (and only 3 weeks long instead of 5), and has 4 different divisions, Elite, Rx’d, Intermediate, Scaled, and has these divisions for both individual and team competition (they also have masters, teens, and adaptive). What this means is that you can participate in the online qualifier, and if you do well enough actually go compete. The first year we went I believe we had 8 athletes competing and it was a ton of fun. Instead of handing your money and time over to the Open, which leaves you with nothing aside from your worldwide placement, by handing over your money to Wodapalooza for their qualifier you get an opportunity to pick multiple divisions, you have the opportunity actually compete at the event whether you’re a beginner or elite athlete, and they give back to the community in the qualifier by giving equipment prizes to the gyms with the most participation.
Assuming that Wodapalooza stays on the same schedule you can expect a qualifier sometime in September and then the competition in January.
We wanted to keep you all informed and didn’t want people to be shocked when they heard we wouldn’t be participating in the Open. This decision will hopefully lead to a revival in our online qualifier participation by giving athletes the actual incentive that they can shoot down to Miami in January and compete in a super fun competition with hopefully another 10-20 people from Champlain Valley CrossFit.
If you guys have any questions about our decision please don’t hesitate to ask.