Last week, CrossFit HQ released the long-awaited CrossFit Games updated rule book. This has been highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. The rulebook is vast and the clarity is strong. In an attempt to not drone on for too long, I will only cover what I PERSONALLY feel is most important, mainly involving the qualification process for individual competition. It is quite complicated, so hold onto your butts.

Here we go.

As previously discussed and determined, you can qualify for the Games via three methods: 1) The Open 2) Sanctioned Event or 3) Special Invitation.

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

This year there are two ways to qualify via The Open. First, and the highest honor, is to be a National Champion, the fittest in your nation. We knew for a while this would happen, but what we didn't know was the determining factor that makes you a representative of that nation? In an age where elite athletes are moving all over the world, CrossFit has chosen to go with citizenship. This is a very smart and wise move, in my humble opinion. If you are a citizen, you can become the fittest in that nation. If you have dual citizenship, you must choose what country you will represent prior to the Open.

The second way to qualify through the Open is finishing as a top 20 overall finisher in the world. As previously stated, the national champion from the Open is the highest honor or carries the most weight. Therefore, if someone is a top 20 finisher worldwide in the Open, and also is named the fittest in their nation, they will claim the nod via the national champion bid, and their top 20 slots will be handed down to the next finisher in the Open. As an example, if Mat Fraser wins the open, he will have a claim to both the USA national champion and a top 20 bid. Since he will move forward with the USA champion bid, his top 20 bid will be passed down to whoever finished 21st in the open. Make sense? 

Important to note, if a national champion chooses to turn down their bid, it will NOT be backfilled. So, if Mat Fraser chooses not to go to the Games at all, nobody else would be named USA national champ for the 2019 Games season.

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

This here is by no means breaking news, but there will be 16 CrossFit sanctioned events (Sanctionals) that will provide athletes an opportunity to qualify for the games. Every male and female top finisher in a Sanctional will receive an invitation to the CrossFit games. However, this will carry less weight than either Open qualification bid, as there is a difference between qualification and invitation. Winning a bid via the Open gets you automatic qualificationwhereas winning a Sanctional gets you an invitation. Qualifications are deemed a higher honor on the totem pole and will result in quite the shakeup. 

Allow me to use the example of Fraser again. Mat Fraser is the Dubai CrossFit Championship winner, and therefore in real life already earned an invitation to the Games. Let's pretend that he still wins the open, earning both the USA national champion bid, a top 20 Open finish bid, AND a Sanctional invitation. He would remain the USA national champion, allowing his top 20 bid to drop to whoever finishes 21st in the Open, and his Sanctional invitation will be handed down to the 2nd place finisher in his MOST RECENT Sanctional event. So, if Fraser does not win another Sanctioned event, his invitation will be given to Bjorgun Karl Gudmundsson. HOWEVER, if Fraser competes at the Rogue Invitational in the spring and wins, his invitation will then be given to the 2nd place finisher of that event instead. 

Confusing I know, but the important thing to understand is a lot of things will get shaken up throughout the course of the competitive season as a result.

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

This is the easiest of all qualifications to understand. CrossFit HQ is holding onto 4 total bids to the Games, to be handed out to whomever they choose, for whatever reason, at any time during the season. I will now and forever label this THE WILDCARDS (cue pyrotechnics). I think this is completely awesome. Sure they can give these bids to naysayers who think they can compete and run their mouth. My hope is they give these spots to vets who clearly deserve to be there because of their insane fitness levels, but got screwed somehow, like Jacob Heppner last year in the open. 

Alright guys, that's everything you need to know on a VERY BASIC level about qualification rules for the CrossFit Games this year. If you want a more detailed look at this, teams, transgender rules, and drug policies, read Tommy Marquez's lengthy rules recap by clicking here.

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