At the time of writing, I’ve just returned from the 2019 CrossFit Games. I’m sure that by the time this newsletter reaches you, there will already be plenty of hot takes out there about Glassman’s latest experiment. But seeing the event live, I definitely have my two cents to throw in, both as a CrossFit fan and a vendor. Overall, I think the new format hurt this first event but laid the foundation for stronger, more exciting Games in the future. I’ll start with the positives. Having been to multiple Games, I noticed far more people from around the world made the trip this year. Not only was there a greater diversity of countries represented in the competition itself, but also many brought friends, fans, and family along to cheer them on. Hearing so many different languages and accents while walking through the crowd really drove home
The last bright side I’ll mention is that the competitions this year had a far greater element of excitement. Say what you will about the aggressive elimination format, but it certainly heightened the drama for each event. Unlike years past, I didn’t have to wait until Day 3 or 4 to really start paying attention — your favorite athlete could be knocked out at any time. They did, however, take this a little too far, especially the first day. Cutting the number of competitors from 20 to 10 was extreme enough, but the fact it was all based on a running event made the experience feel not only harsh but arbitrary. CrossFit is all about creating well-rounded athletes capable of rising to the challenge of any test of strength. For half the competitors to be eliminated based purely on their cardio just didn’t fit the spirit of the Games. The other noticeable drawback was the overall attendance. While we did have a more diverse crowd, it was far smaller overall than what the event enjoyed in the past. This is probably due in part to many people not wanting to attend the Games during the first year of their new format — though the extremely early eliminations certainly didn’t help encourage people to stick around either. Thankfully, these issues are already being addressed. During the Games, it was announced that there would be a slightly less extreme elimination period next year. So, hopefully we’ll get to see more of our favorite athletes perform in the later stages of the competition! The attendance problem is a little more abstract, but I suspect it’s something that will just get better with time as CrossFit works out the kinks and wins the confidence of new and old fans alike. I, for one, am looking forward to next year!
the power of making the Games a global event. I’m excited to see awareness and participation in CrossFit grow beyond the shores of the United States. It was also a very good Games for team O2. Those of us working the booth got to make new friends and reconnect with some of our favorite affiliate owners, and our athletes also crushed the competition! You’ll find all the details on the next page, but suffice to say, all four of our O2 competitors placed within the top 10! I’m not claiming that having oxygenated recovery drinks on their side helped these amazing athletes perform to the best of their ability, but I’m also not not saying that.
–Dave Colina Founder, O2
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