With the international Open competition behind this year’s prospective Games competitors, the focus is shifting. Sure, the Open competition has its fair share of cutthroat competition, but with 48 spots up for grabs, one could argue that there is some room for error.
Veteran Games athletes traditionally train through the Open, utilizing the days of and around their five Open performances for additional training. Conversely, fringe athletes may taper training to super their qualifying effort. For some, this includes multiple attempts at the same workouts.
The Regional competition, for most, is a different element, however. With at most three spots advancing from any one region, the margin for error is literally nonexistent. In addition, for all but the tip of the spear, the Regional level competition is the Games for most of these men and women. Historically, with little or no shot at qualifying for a spot at the Home Depot Center, many fringe regional competitors would compete for a few cherished Regional moments against notable names rather than vying for a Games berth. This year is different.
For the first time, CrossFit HQ has incorporated an ability to invite competitors into the final CrossFit Games event. This simple rule could prove to be light at the end of the tunnel for athletes who may just miss the mark or who are recovering from an untimely injury. Here’s how it reads in the rulebook:
Rule 3.b.1 –
CrossFit Inc. reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to invite past
winners, guest athletes, Teams or others, to participate in any stage of
competition. This decision may be made to preserve the traditions and spirit of
the CrossFit Games or for any other reason at the sole discretion of CrossFit Inc.
With notable injuries that may heal in time for the Games — like Annie Thorisdottir’s and Jenny LaBaw’s — we may see CrossFit HQ use this rule. One has to wonder, then, if in particularly grueling regionals HQ will extend special invites to elite competitors that don’t find themselves on the podium with a berth to the Games. For example, the women’s field in SoCal includes as many as five Games-level competitors alone. The men’s competition in the Central East is arguably just as potent.
Time will tell. With this rule, anything can happen. Now all that is left for the athletes is the training.
— Logan Gelbrich