Greg Glassman Wants to Shake Up CrossFit’s Competitive Nature

CrossFit affiliates have been at the forefront of the explosion in indie gyms around the world. Are they in for shock or awe? Maybe both?

Although I think there is definite credibility in the article, How Greg Glassman is Reshaping the CrossFit Games by Justin Lofranco, I reserve judgment because there are too many unknowns. Essentially, according to this article, Glassman is signaling his intent to get rid of the Regionals and Invitationals for the CrossFit Games.

Although I think there is definite credibility in the article, How Greg Glassman is Reshaping the CrossFit Games by Justin Lofranco, I reserve judgment because there are too many unknowns. Essentially, according to this article, Glassman is signaling his intent to get rid of the Regionals and Invitationals for the CrossFit Games.

In addition, he is expanding the athlete field to include hundreds of new athletes from every country that has at least one CrossFit affiliate. And, CrossFit will partner with 16 CrossFit-sanctioned competitions to find more Games athletes. Having recently laid off a group of its media staff, the organization is also going to outsource media broadcasting to an external partner.

First, we really need to hear from . The CrossFit Games are his baby. Has he been blindsided by this news? Is he in agreement with Glassman? The sources that broke the story are credible. Don’t get me wrong. However, logistically this idea doesn’t seem feasible for the 2019 season.

The Granite Games are next month, Wodapalooza already opened up registration. If a major partnership with these events and CrossFit HQ was happening we would probably know about it by now. In addition, the Games season just ended. So athletes are already gearing up to compete and make it back to the Games next year.

This is a complete business restructuring if it were to happen, and it would impact affiliates and athletes across the board. And, typically, CrossFit restructures the Games format every 2 years. So while I can see this change happening, more thought would need to go into the logistical implications. Much more thought.

When it comes to the CrossFit Open, who makes it? One athlete per country? So, one man, one woman, and one team from the USA? That hardly seems likely. It also means a significant uptick in submissions so, how are they going to police all that video with so much at stake? It’s a nightmare in the current format.

Moreover, what about live competition versus online? Many athletes that crush the Open do not make it to the Games once they make it to the live format of Regionals. This seems to be particularly true of the Team format. My Precision CrossFit team is a great example of this; we were top 7 in our region, technically two spots from a Games qualification but we finished 16th at Regionals. There’s a lot to be said about competing in a live environment.

Which takes us to the 12 or so outsourced competitions that Glassman suggests in his conversation. Ok, so the idea is rad. However, how do you make standardize those competitions? The winners go to the Games, sure, but what if the same person wins twice?

What if one event is two days with seven scored workouts and what if another is three days with twelve? Which is a better competitive test? Is the test adequate enough to find a Games athlete?

In addition, what about the Team categories? WODapalooza is same-sex teams of three. There really isn’t too many four-person competitions out there. I would love to nominate the Ventura Battle of the Boxes if they decide to do this but who is making these decisions, on what basis, and how far along are they in planning? The restructuring seems good in theory but a ton more thought has to happen. That’s why I don’t think 2019 makes a lot of sense. Maybe 2020 would be a more likely timeframe.

Like I said, we really need to hear from Dave Castro. What if CrossFit owned by Glassman and the Games, technically belonging to Castro, split? Folks, you could be looking at a CrossFit Games season not called the CrossFit Games. Think of what happens if Castro splits from Glassman.

He can’t use the CrossFit name. He has no problem finding money and sponsors. He drops CrossFit from the name and you have the Reebok Games or Nike Games. This is all speculation of course. I really don’t know what’s happening but what is happening seems very fishy to me. What it really comes down to is this: We need wait for an official announcement from CrossFit HQ but we need it soon. Until that happens, everything we are hearing is meaningless.

Now let’s say Glassman’s on point, the Regionals disappear, the Open is a bigger deal, and the Games are a multi-national extravaganza. It’s not a bad thing. Sure, you lose the Regionals but in theory, you gain multiple other Regional-type events. You wouldn’t have to worry about qualifying in a saturated region. You could fly to any region you wanted, I assume. In addition, like weightlifting meets, you could plan around which events you’d be doing and train for them specifically.

All images courtesy of Precision CrossFit and CrossFit

However, if you’re only taking one man, one woman, and one Team from each national Open, why actually do it anymore if you are a US-based athlete? Here, if your name isn’t Matthew Fraser, Kari Pierce, or CrossFit Mayhem then you’re pretty much screwed. This plan really makes no sense competitively and historically in so far as the Open is concerned.

It would be best to save yourself for the Granite Games, Wodapalooza, and the multitude of other online qualifications, and maybe that is the intent. I guess it puts the emphasis on bigger, maybe more lucrative, live events, and still allows all affiliates the chance to test their members in an Open competition.

If CrossFit is doing this to focus more on affiliates and the general membership, does it plan to give us, the affiliate owners, more than just a brand name to put in our title? There is virtually no help from HQ in running our businesses. Can they provide us insurance? Help us more with branding and logos? Even the basic affiliate support is non-existent. So I would like to see what a re-focus on affiliates really means.

Ironically, one of the only perks of being an affiliate is the existing Open, where you can register judges and run the competition out of your box without having to worry about video for 90% of your athletes. But if you have no compelling reason to run the Open anymore then why be an affiliate? This is important for the competitive side of CrossFit and those affiliates that have put time and effort into it, as was the expected norm and guidance coming from CrossFit HQ.

Owners are going to say unless CrossFit HQ is going to give more support to affiliates and actually advertise us more then why pay the $3,000 a year to be one? Some of the best advertising we had came during the Games through online and television exposure. With that gone CrossFit HQ better pick up the slack elsewhere.

So much speculation, so many logistical questions. Who really knows what’s truly happening right now. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Either way, the sport of CrossFit is not going anywhere. It actually may be growing. Just in a manner we did not expect.

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