Friday, March 7, 2014

The Crossfit Games: And Why I'm Excited About Decimal Numbers For The First Time In My Life!

For those of you who are entrenched in the Crossfit culture, this blog post won't be too revolutionary; I give you permission to go ahead and skip this one. Or just look at the pretty pictures…

For the rest of you who aren't Crossfitters, or maybe just recently joined in, I'd like to give a brief explanation of how The Crossfit Games work. I'd also like to explain how I, with only 10 months of Crossfit experience, am able to be a part of a competition that aims to find the "Fittest Man and Woman on Earth"!

The reason you may not have heard of The Crossfit Games probably has to do with Crossfit's relatively short lifetime as a competitive sport and its rapid growth from the inaugural Games to now. The first Games happened in 2007 with a mere 70 athletes, who met on a ranch in northern California to compete in a series of workouts; the first of which was a complete surprise.
In 2013, the Games became The Reebok Crossfit Games and took place in L.A., with more than 138,000 people registered for the Open. Although the scenery and scale of the competition has changed, one major aspect has stayed the same: the element of surprise. According to the founder of Crossfit, Greg Glassman, the fittest athletes should be able to handle any task, so each year the workouts are announced within hours or minutes of the competition, which I believe adds a level of excitement unparalleled in the rest of the sports world.

This year, I am one of the 209,261 participants in the 2014 Reebok Crossfit Games Open, so I get to be an active part of all the excitement (although just spectating gets me pretty pumped, too)!

Now that you had a brief (and probably boring) history lesson, let me break down the stages of the Games to explain how there are so many of us participating, when there are obviously so few of us who could compete against this:

Samantha Briggs and Rich Froning- the 2013 Crossfit Games winners

Here's the deal. The Crossfit Games happen in three distinct stages, in order to narrow down who should compete face-to-face in L.A. each year.

The Open is the first step of The Games and it is literally open to anybody who would like to participate. It doesn't matter if it is your first day of Crossfit, or if you have been training since 2007; if you are 17, or if you are 70; literally anybody can register (I am proof positive of this!). All that is required, if you want to be a part of the leader-board and "officially" compete, is to register online and pay twenty bucks. I'm sure there are thousands of people who also do the workouts "unofficially" each week as they are announced; but if you want to be judged and compare yourself to the rest of the Crossfit community, you have to register.
Each week, for five weeks, a workout is announced on Thursday night (or Friday morning for those of us over here in Europe) and each participant has until Monday evening to submit a score. I happen to have a coach who is an official judge, so he is able to judge my workouts, give me a score, and then I can submit that score without a video. If you don't happen to have an official judge on hand, all you have to do is video-tape yourself doing the workout, and submit that video when you submit your score. For those athletes who feel they may make it to Regionals, they must have videos of every workout.

At the end of the five weeks, the top Individual Men, Individual Women, and Teams from each of the 17 regions meet at the Regionals for a three-day competition which decides who will go on to the Games. There are also Master's Divisions, consisting of Men and Women in age groups from 40 years old to 60+, and these athletes are invited to come straight to the Games following the Open workouts.

I am currently two weeks into the Open, and I have been loving every second of it! Even the painful seconds! The Open Workouts are titled as 14.1 for the first week, 14.2 for the second, so on and so on.

No matter how little my scores look compared to those big dogs up at the top of the Overall Leaderboard, I have been surprising myself with accomplishments throughout these two weeks, which is what the Games is all about! Even if my score is a fraction of other people's scores, it is still cool to see my name in the same place as these amazing athletes and strangers around the world- again, another aspect to this sport that no other sport can touch!

Here is a leaderboard showing just the athletes who are officially registered for the Open from my box, Crossfit Ansbach. If you are wondering about the zeros, those are there because 14.2 was just announced yesterday, so many of our athletes either haven't done the workout yet, or are waiting to give it a second or third try before they submit.  
You can tell that even in our box we have some top-notch athletes! Just look at those numbers! (and those numbers will make more sense after my next post…)

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