What If Top 20 Open Spots Went Away? [HYPOTHETICALLY}


– Hey folks, Armen Hammer here,
and I am making this video in the very short period of
time that I have between travel. I just got back from Iceland, by the time you guys are watching this I’m gonna be on my way
already out to NorCal to CrossFit HQ to attend another one of the Derelict Doctors Club meetings which is kind of like the
informational seminar type stuff that HQ is doing in conjunction
with CrossFit Health at HQ whenever there
are the MDL1s going on. So, I’m excited to kind of go back to HQ. Last time I was there
was October when a lot of this new seasonal format
was still up in the air. It had just been announced
and nothing was really set in stone and here we are
nine months or so later, and still nothing has really set in stone. But we know a lot more
now than we did then, especially considering
that we’ve gone through about two thirds, maybe three quarters of the entire season at this point. So, I’m looking forward
to going out there. I’ve some meetings lined up,
that’ll be really interesting, hoping to get some pretty
sweet interviews for you guys. But I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some potential what ifs. And a lot of this kind of
stems from being in Iceland and getting a chance to talk to and meet with the Sanctional
organizers that are involved in some of the biggest and most popular sanctioned events in the world and where the Sanctional
season is gonna be going. So, let’s do it. Now, like you guys, I
am a fan of this sport and I really enjoy going out
there and watching the events, watching the competition,
and that’s a big part of why I do what I do. And one of the things
that I made a comment about regarding Reykjavik
CrossFIt Championship is that they were able to bring in 4,000 plus spectators everyday of competition. They were able to sellout
their entire event. They were broadcast live on
Icelandic national television, they really played to the
Icelandic community in a way that I think is going to set
themselves up for success later on down the road when
the next season comes along and it’s time for them
to have yet another RCC. But with the Sanctional
season continuing to grow, I mean just last week before
I headed off to Reykjavik, CrossFit HQ announced four new sanctioned events for the 2020 season. Egypt, New Jersey, Germany, Norway, and so now we have two dozen Sanctionals for the 2020 season and I know for a fact that there are going to be
at least five more announced before the 2020 competition
season is locked up. Which means that we’re gonna have nearly 30 sanctioned
events for the 2020 season. That is a jam packed schedule
running from late November, all the way until mid to late June for the sanctioned events season and starting just after the
Open finishes in mid November. So, we really are looking
at a Sanctional season that’s absolutely going
to be completely different with nearly double the amount of events going into the 2020 CrossFit games. And the biggest question
that I’ve been getting from so many people is how
does a Sanctional succeed when there are that many different spots, that many different competitions, that many different qualifying methods for the CrossFit Games? Like I said, I got a chance to talk to plenty of the Sanctional
event organizers, many of them have this very
question in their mind. It is not cheap to be a sanctioned event, it’s not cheap to get that invite to the CrossFit Games out of your event. And I’m going to HQ this
weekend, hopefully gonna get some more answers about
how all this stuff works. But one of the scenarios
that I want to kind of throw out there to you guys, you know, hypothetically speaking, is
a sanctioned event’s value increasing in the situation where the Open no longer offers top 20
worldwide qualification spots. Now, if the Open were to only offer national championship spots, suddenly the value of qualifying through the Open decreases a lot. Because right now we see
some of the best CrossFitters in the world qualifying
through their Open performances and those are athletes
who won’t necessarily need to go down later on in the season and compete at a sanctioned event. If, for example, that top
20 worldwide spot goes from 20 to 10, or 10 to 5, or even down to no spots at all out
of the worldwide Open, suddenly the sanctioned events
become much more valuable. They become a bigger part of the season and a season that is going
to completely revolve around the Sanctionals themselves and how they can actually
execute this entire process. But if, hypothetically,
that were to happen it leaves the Open in a
really strange position because suddenly the Open
for the vast majority of the best CrossFitters in the world becomes absolutely useless. Because they want to be
able to give themselves a good seating going
into the CrossFit games but as far as I know that relationship between the Open and the CrossFit games in terms of seating is really just limited to the 2019 games. I mean, there could be
some relationship there in the 2020 games but if you’re not having any real qualifying value out of the Open it’s gonna be really tough to make these athletes perform at their best. I mean, there isn’t a big
payday involved in the Open, so without the qualification
spots at the CrossFit games it becomes a much less
valuable proposition for them to stress out
over and participate in. Unless, you find a way to combine the Open and the Sanctionals. So, if hypothetically
speaking we were able to take the Open and at least
have them have some sort of relationship with the Sanctionals, I think we could see a
season in which the Open stays very valuable to athletes
for their participation and also sets the tone for
the remainder of their season. So if, for example, the
Open qualification stopped being direct to the CrossFit Games, but instead started being
a participatory thing for the qualification for
sanctioned events kind of setting your ranking
going into the season and allowing athletes
to see where they fall and pick their season
competition from that point on. I think we’d start to see
kind of a more interesting and compelling reason for
all the best CrossFitters in the world to participate in
the Open in a meaningful way and not just in a maybe I’ll cash in a couple thousand dollars by winning one of the events over the five weeks way. So if, hypothetically
speaking, the Open spots direct to the CrossFit games kind
of dwindled or disappeared and the Open suddenly became a qualifier, a shared global qualifier,
for the sanctioned events. All or some, I’m not sure,
hypothetically speaking. Then I think what we would be
looking at here is a season that kind of sets the
tone in a different way. And I think it bears repeating
that the 2019 season has been and will continue to
be kind of like a weird in between experimental season. They’re trying to see what
works and what doesn’t and I think, hopefully, there’s
gonna be a little bit more mobility in trying to change
the different things involved in the actual season
and its qualification. Because while there are plenty
of positives it really is an important question to ask. How can these sanctioned events continue to be successful down the line if we have 30 sanctioned events and
we don’t have very many top name athletes showing
up to lend their weight to the value of these sanctioned events. Now my understanding is
that the 2020 games season of sanctioned events is going
to be locked sometime in May. Now, we’re in the first week in May. We still have a couple weeks left. My guess is that we’re
gonna be hearing some more sanctioned event news sometime
in the next couple of weeks, sooner rather than later if
I had to take a wild guess. And that the 2020 season would be locked, again, sooner rather than later. And once that lock
happens, once we see sort of an idea of exactly what the
sanctioned season comes in, I’m not sure we’re gonna
hear any massive changes to the Open right then but
I think, my gut tells me, that perhaps we’re looking
at some big changes to how the Open is interacting
with the sanctioned events. And I think the lack, or
potential hypothetical lack, of Open spots directly
going to the CrossFit Games is something that we had
heard about early on. The 20 qualifying spots out in
the Open was originally sort of described as the stop
gap for the 2019 season to prevent anybody from
slipping between the gaps. And I think that’s really
important to recognize and that even during my first conversation with Greg Glassman he
mentioned that down the line as the years went on that number was going to dwindle and disappear at some point. It just wasn’t going to be a thing. You know, the national
champions were going to make it in and eventually
there won’t be a qualification out of the top worldwide
leaderboard for the Open. And if we start seeing
that relationship change between the Open and the sanctioned events where suddenly the sanctioned
events have the lion’s share of valuable qualifying spots. And I’m saying valuable
in many different ways. Valuable meaning athletes
can win at least some money and at some of the biggest events they can win a lot of money. And valuable in the sense
that is a real life, in person competition,
that’s really important. And valuable in the sense that competing and winning a sanction or
qualifying at a sanction really it means more than
qualifying out of the Open. And that’s not to take
away from what the athletes who have qualified out
of the Open have done, but even speaking to all the
athletes that were at RCC and at Wodapalooza who’ve
seen this entire season of events come together
and have participated in the circuit in a meaningful way, even they are very adamant
that it feels different and means something
different to qualify out of a sanctioned event as opposed to getting a spot through the Open. And I think that’s a really
important distinction to make because showing up in person, competing against other
top level athletes, being able to in a competition environment prove your fitness and prove your spot at the CrossFit Games,
that does mean a lot. It means something different
than just being able to do multiple attempts
at the same workout in your own home gym with
like your significant other or one of your employees judging you, that’s a whole different ballgame right? Like I said, I will be at
CrossFit HQ this weekend. Hopefully can maybe get
some more answers to this. I’m speaking purely in hypotheticals. Obviously, none of this is official and my guess here is that
this is the direction that CrossFit is going to have move in at some point or another. I would be pretty confident in my guess, I feel really good that
this is the direction that they need to move in and is probably the best slash only real
solution to their problem. But I think it will
eventually have to be this. Maybe some variation, maybe
there’s gonna be different ways it gets implemented but
my gut is telling me that we’re probably
gonna be seeing a change in how the Open is interacting
through its direct qualifier to the CrossFit Games as well as its relationship to
the sanctioned events. As well as the number of
sanctioned events growing because those things need to be valuable in order for the circuit
to actually survive. And the only way you can
keep them valuable is by making sure that they actually
provide some sort of value to the best and most famous
CrossFitters in the world. So, maybe they should do that. Hopefully at HQ I’ll be able
to get to the bottom of it and maybe get some more
answers for you guys, maybe get answers direct from the people who are making these decisions. That would be pretty sweet of me, I think. Either way folks, there’s
a whole lot going on in our sport and it’s easy to miss some of the most interesting
and exciting stories. I’m gonna go do some ROMWOD
and hopefully loosen up some of these tight hips that I’ve
been developing by sitting in airplanes and media seats
for the last week or so, bleh. Either way folks, I’ll
see you guys next time.

34 Replies to “What If Top 20 Open Spots Went Away? [HYPOTHETICALLY}”

  1. I thought that was the route CF was going. Only the National Champions through the open would get an invite and all other spots would be filled through the Sanctional events

  2. You can still use the open in many different ways….you can use the open to qualify for sanctioned events. You can also use the open for seeding. So let’s say Tim Paulson doesn’t do the open but wins a sanctional he would be seeded lower then the national champion from let’s say Antarctica

  3. Although many issues with variety of how Sanctionals are run, scoring systems etc… still a much better way to qualify than through the Open. Cheating, and other variables can be eliminated, and the Open is consistently an inconsistent test for the Games. Not uncommon to see Top 20 Open athletes get 30th or worse in regionals. We see it year after year. And some of the people who DID make top 20, are those exact athletes. 30 legit spots plus national champions would certainly get a 'test of the best'.

  4. My guess is that the majority of the games level athletes would prefer the sanctioned event format to the Open Format re Qualifying. The Open is awesome for The Xfit Community at the Box Level…but as the Games evolve and HQ has made it very clear that the Games and the Xfit Lifestyle/Methodology are 2 separate things moving forward…The Open is a very sub standard way to go about qualifying for Games….just my opinion!

  5. The Open is too large a revenue stream for them to not do it…and is a sacred cow. Cash is King. There needs to be a qualifying point system where athletes accumulate scores based on Sanctional placing. This places value on competing at multiple events as a prerequisite to the Games invite. Top 50 points earners get the nod…

  6. very interesting topic!! i think the concept for only national champions to qualify through the open and the rest through sanctioned would be awesome! it would make the very best athletes to attend more events thus creating more of a buzz around the sanctioned events.

  7. How about 2 tournaments? National champions have their own and is amateur, and the sanctioned winners have their own, and would have prize money. IF3 would co run the national champions tourney. However countries can have a tournament after the Open to determine their national champion.

  8. Crossfit could also send out cash prizes and trophies to say the top box in each state or country, and top box in the world. Do this by age groups too. Would make it a bit more fun for each box to participate.

  9. Súper cool video, although I suspect this video isn’t a Hypothesis but a survey of how this idea is perceived among the community

  10. I like the idea of the Open setting the initial ranking and the top X at the end of the season get to go, but you really need to then look at how that works right? If the top X from the Open are ranked if lets say Mat Fraiser wins Dubai, does he qualify right away? How would the rankings work for folks who qualify early vs qualify late?

  11. I'd like to see the Open maintain some qualifying spots. It's the "underdogs"/rookie sanctional. A sanctional for fit athletes who can't afford to travel to an event, or more than one if they want a second chance.

  12. Reykjavik is a bigger success because of that special country. The small size of the population and the early emergence of Annie really help to galvanize the community. As soon as there is a bigger country with more sports, stars, things to do, you will get a diluting effect. I remember when GRID had a voting for an extra team to get to the World Championships, Hungary won because it was the smallest but most close-knit CF community in that sense. So this is not something you can easily duplicate. Just think of Regionals where probably there were less spectators despite having more countries involved.

  13. I see the value of the open increasing 2 ways:

    1. It can be the qualifier for Sanctionals.
    2. Your placement in the open can act as the first scored event at all Sanctionals.

  14. Not doing your best job of giving us an idea that you have no idea what is going on, looking forward to hearing about all the changes and thanks for the heads up haha, I think that if anything should go it should be the national champion from every country, it just brings the calibre of athlete down even though its good to widen the sport i think there has to be a better way to do it, and as well live loved having people from all round the word compete all round the world, would we lose that if you gained spots from the open to a sectional based on your region

  15. 1)Do away with the National Champions 2) Have a separate Open for Professional Athletes that is much tougher. Take the top professional open athletes and use it as a seeding system for the sanctionals. Set up a regional competition whereby the Sanctional events become part of a three-stop regional competition over three consecutive weeks. for example Wodapalooza one week, Mid Atlantic Championship the second week and a stop out west in the final week for an American Regional. Award Games spots after the three-week regional competition are finished. 3)Take the top 60 to 90 athletes from a new professional athlete open, and seed them in the new regionals. The rest of the line up for a regional would be comprised of online qualifiers.

  16. I think the open should be some sort of qualifier for a sanctional, if you do well in the open you have a garantueed spot at an # amounth of sanctionals. But you need to secure your games spot by, let's say, placing top 3 in a sanctional. That way you know for sure that someone could also preform when the spotlights are on. I also don't really like it that a lot of athletes who qualified through the open aren't doing a sanctional, like Annie Thorisdottir, Brooke Wells haven't been seen anywhere (yes, they will be at rogue, but that's some sort of elite event where every big know was invitated).

  17. The success of the Reykjavik event has as much to do with the Icelandic culture as anything else. I say this simply because the women's field in Reykjavik was one of the weakest fields of the Sanctional events.

  18. Open place 20 – 16 = 1 wildcard for a sanctional, 15 – 11 = 2 wildcards, 10 – 6 = 3 wildcards, 5 – 1 = 4 wildcards for a sanctional

  19. personally for me it doesn't make sense to top invite top 20 athletes but national champions. This top 20 is necessary to keep the open alive for a lot of people, especially from competitive countries

  20. One potential way for the open to be used is to get a ‘pro card’ to enter the sanctionals qualifiers. For example top 800 in the open would earn the right to compete in the elite level sanctional qualifiers. This means it maintains its relevance and the sanctionals get extra significance as it should lead to more top athletes competing to earn there spot.

  21. Feels like it's the haves pissing on the have nots. A lot of santional organizers are also people who are heavily vested in their atheles winning more then growing CrossFit as a whole. Besides not every athlele has an endorsement deal to be able to make money and afford to support themselves outside of a 9 to 5. A system of open placement only and national winners competimg on day 1 with the top 10 of them moving onto day 2 with sanctional winners would be a system for atheles to participate more in sanctinals. Overall it's been an interesting change but let's not throw baby out with the bath water.

  22. The open should remove top 20 if we have 30 sanctioned events. We had 40 athletes in past and if we have 30 from sanctionals then world class athletes as national champions can keep the field competitive! With all the open review issue, this will be a lot better!

    I think the open should be a qualifier rather than different qualifiers. As we have seen there have been a lot of invites to bring in big names which these events need but it’s too fair for the athletes to hear a top competitor walk in last minute. I think open or open plus one massive qualifier for 5 events would be cool to see! I really liked the down under qualification process

  23. Makes a lot of sense. Also if HQ can figure out smart way to implement it, this process could reduce value of "cheating" in the Open.

  24. Only take National Champions from the Open and then use the Open placing as rankings for the Games. The Top 50 don't compete on the first day of competition, and the Top 25 don't compete for the first two days of competition. If you are a Sanctional winner that did not do the Open then you are seeded last. This adds value to competing at the Open and makes the Sanctionals the only way to qualify outside of being your national champion. Other sports use this model and it seems to work just fine.

  25. A couple of concerns – what about the athletics which don't do well in Open aka The Professor, or athletes who only do well in the Open but are not good in competition. And then, what about the sanctionals which are so near after the Open, that people would not be able to go as they would have had to book flights etc before. Maybe it could be a combination of Top XX from Games, Top XX from the Open year before for the early sanctionals, and use the other Open for the later ones.

  26. To me they should take the qualifying spots from the Open (national champions and top 20). The Open should be geared towards having people into Crossfit and community related, but the spots to the Games should come from the Sanctioned Events only.

  27. sounds like open qualifies you for "regionals"/sanctionals. But you get to participate in multiple and participate in the ones you choose. I'd be okay with that I think.

  28. It would be great if this could be applied to the Age Groups as well. Doing everything on line to qualify for the Games really sucks (alone in a gym, easy to cheat, less exciting) and now I feel like all the non-AG athletes are getting a taste of that with the qualification through the Open! It would be so cool if at least some of the Sanctionals had qualifying spots for AG athletes as well, many of them already host those divisions. Put that in Glassman's ear, Armen! 😉 thanks!!!!

  29. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought when the rule book first came out, or maybe even before that, it was said that the Top 20 was going away after this first year? (2019 Open). And it was only going to be the National Champions after that. I don’t remember where I got that impression, but it definitely makes sense.

  30. If all these sanctionals used the open as a qualifier wouldn't we just see the same (ish) bunch of people at every sanctional though?

  31. Hey Arman. Would be great to get a vlog on who still hasn't qualified for the Games with 5 sanctionals remaining. The main one that sponge to mind is Crossfit Mayhem Independence. But are there any other individuals that will make the remaining sanctional exciting?

  32. If there are 30 Sanctionals events and say there are 30 spots per event then why not make it you have to finish in the top 1000 to qualify for the Sanctionals with your ranking giving you priority over people ranked below you.

  33. Dude, Greg made it pretty clear to you that CF is about Health and Wellness; not the Games. Why is that so hard to understand? Most people don’t give a single fuck about Games, nor should they! CrossFit is an individual journey executed in a group setting.

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