New Rules, New Games: A Day-By-Day Look at the 2019 CrossFit Games Week

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William Imbo

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One thing we know for sure is that the 2019 CrossFit Games, in many ways, will look and feel differently from what fans and athletes are used to. We still don’t know all the details – and probably won’t until the official 2019 Games Rule Book is released. Even then, we’ll probably have to wait until the actual Games to see how things play out. Or…we can use our imagination to envision how each day at the (new) Games will look.

With a bigger individual competitive field, we expect the Games to start earlier than ever – on Tuesday. Over 200 individual male and female athletes, respectively, will compete at the Games – Compared to 40 in 2018. While things will look dramatically different mid-week, we also expect that after Friday, the Games won’t look much different from what we’ve seen in the past.

Day 1: Tuesday
Country champions compete (200+ athletes who earned a spot during the CrossFit Open by being the top athlete in their country).
The events will have to be scalable – think beach event or long endurance (5k run) where all the athletes can go at the same time. Having 200 individual athletes compete in a ‘traditional CrossFit’ event could take all day. Whatever the event, we’re expecting to see at least 80 percent of this field eliminated after this day. Here’s hoping these athletes will compete in more than one event before eliminations begin – we expect at least 2 (they did have to shell out some good money to fly to Madison after all).

Unfortunately, we don’t expect fan interest to be very high for on this day – except maybe to take a peek at the new Games’ format. Will there be good athletes competing on this day? Of course. Will they be the Games-level type athlete we’ve seen in the past? Absolutely not. Think Regionals level?

Day 2: Wednesday
Country champions compete – reduced field
Country champions compete for the second day. Sanctioned winners who finished below the top 20 in the Open join the field, totaling about 50 total athletes competing at this point. (As of publication, there are currently 16 men and women who will qualify through sanctioned events. We expect more events announced in the coming weeks). Sanctioned winners who placed in the top 100 in the world during the Open get a pass on this day. At the end of Day 2 competition, 70 percent of the field is cut – about 15 athletes survive (Most of the surviving athletes are sanctioned event winners. Less than 4 country champions make the cut.)

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Day 3: Thursday
Rest day for athletes

Day 4: Friday
The top 20 athletes in the 2019 Open + the athletes who made it through Day 2 compete
We’ll be looking at about 35 athletes in the men’s and women’s field competing, respectively, just five fewer than what we’ve seen at the Games in years’ past. At this point, the level of athlete begins to look more like what fans are used to seeing at the CrossFit Games. Athlete scores are reset and the Games as we’ve known them begin. There are no eliminations from this point forward – except for the final on Sunday.

Day 5: Saturday
A competitive Saturday at the Games
This will be a traditional Saturday at the Games. And yes, Mat Fraser is still somewhere at the top of the leaderboard. We’ll likely see those who joined the fray on Friday rising to the top of the leaderboard while those left after Wednesday hang out at the bottom, popping up higher in an event or two, depending on the skill. This is the day most fans start watching the Games online or on television (via CBS Sports, with the CBS contract only extending through 2018 and CrossFit broadcast media team axed, watching the Games will look different in 2019. Expect to be watching an outsourced media team cutting their teeth on CrossFit lingo and notable names).

Day 5: Sunday
A champion is crowned
And if things go the way CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman intends, the Champions will be true representations of the CrossFit global community, vetted worldwide. But, probably Mat Fraser. Can the current king be unseated? Does Toomey have what it takes to three-peat?

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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