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January 11, 2019

2019 CrossFit Games Rulebook Released, Updates for All Athletes

Written by William Imbo

After arguably the biggest year of change the CrossFit Games have ever seen, the 2019 Rulebook has finally arrived – almost five months after the initial changes were announced. The rulebook provides clarity on a lot of questions regarding Games invites and qualifications. Without further ado, here are the big updates based on athlete:

Info for the everyday CrossFitter:

  • You’ll need to list your country when you register for the Open. For those of us non-superhumans, this doesn’t mean much more than an extra field to fill out, but the purpose is for the country winner qualifiers.
  • Nationality requirement is based on citizenship, NOT residency. Athletes previously qualified for a regional event through residency, but now they simply must be a citizen of the country they are representing. Have dual citizenship? You’ll have to pick a country to represent.
  • Affiliate managers cannot validate scores of workouts that did not take place in their affiliate. This is simply a specification we’ve never had before.
  • Video reviews will take place for the top five athletes in every country and the top 40 athletes worldwide. With over 160 countries with an affiliate worldwide, CFHQ could be looking at 850+ videos to review – for each workout.

Info for Age Group Online Qualifier Athletes:

  • The Open does not matter for Games qualifications. You get a blank slate for the qualifier workouts that begin on May 2.
  • CrossFit will only take the top 10 from each division to the Games. This is half the field we’ve seen in the past. This could mean better coverage for these lesser-seen divisions that are out of the spotlight compared to the individual and team competitions.

Info for Sanctional Athletes:

  • CrossFit explicitly states that the sanctional events are NOT a part of the CrossFit Games season. They are separate, individual events run by individual organizations through which a winner can receive an invitation to the CrossFit Games.
  • When an athlete wins more than one sanctional event, the second place finisher of the most recent event the athlete won will qualify for the Games. So, Sam Briggs won the Dubai Championship. Let’s say Sam goes to Capetown and wins again. The second place finisher at Capetown will receive an invite to the Games – not second place Dubai finisher Jamie Greene.

Info for Games Athletes:

  • Seeding for the Games will be based on Open standings. While team competitors and individual sanctional event winners don’t need to qualify for the Games through the Open, they will want to do the workouts – and do well – if they want to be seeded above anyone else who qualifies through the Open.
  • National runner-ups are not national winner backups. That is to say, if one of the people who qualified for the Games by placing number one in the Open in their country declines an invite or cannot go to the Games, that’s it. No other person will go to the Games from that country unless they have either won a sanctional event or are in the top 20 worldwide or are one of CFHQ’s four picks, explained below.
  • Those just outside the worldwide top 20 from the Open still have a chance. If any athlete who finishes in the top 20 worldwide either competes in the team division or is a national champion, his or her spot will be backfilled. This is NOT the case for sanctional event winners.

Info for Team Athletes:

  • Teams who qualify for the Games will declare a six-person roster. While only four people will compete at a time, there will be two alternates. If one of these two for some reason cannot compete at the Games, teams can’t backfill this spot.
  • If a team loses three people or more from the six-person roster, they will not compete at the Games. Teams must have at least four people to compete.
  • Team rosters for 2019 will be declared after the end of the Open. This could change in years to come.

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

About William Imbo

William Imbo is an Associate Editor at BoxLife magazine, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and holds an MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. He is an avid CrossFitter and loves film, music and travel, thanks to having grown up across Europe. A fan of the New Orleans Saints and Newcastle United, Will's favorite CrossFit girl is Helen-least favorite being Isabel.

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