2019 CrossFit Games Predictions

Men

  1. Mat Fraser
  2. Pat Vellner
  3. Jacob Heppner

Out of all of my picks, I’m the least confident that Heppner will be anywhere this. If Fikowski can make it through the cuts, he could be a big threat.

Women

  1. Tia-Clair Toomey
  2. Sara Sigmundsdottir
  3. Amanda Barnhart

I’m really hoping for a close race between Sara and Tia, but I think Sara needs another year or two to catch up.

Teams

  1. Mayhem Freedom
  2. Invictus Boston
  3. OC3 Black

With cuts getting the competition down to 5 teams, it’s going to be a battle on the last day. With a field full of proper super teams, this could be the best part of the Games this year.

CrossFit Games Wild Card Invite

On Tuesday, CrossFit officially announced the Games invitation they extended to Hunter McIntyre, a professional obstacle course racer. Many CrossFit Games competitors and some people covering the sport from the media side of things really hate the wild card invite. Their biggest argument seems to be that athletes should “earn” their spot through the other qualification methods, which, by the way, have all changed a lot for this season.

First off, what is this wild card invite? For years, the CrossFit Games Rulebook has had a section allowing the company (CrossFit) to invite people of their choosing to compete at the Games without going through the other qualification methods. Here’s the part from the rulebook for the current season (link to PDF).

4.06 – THE GAMES – INVITATION PROCESS FROM AN AT-LARGE BID
CrossFit Inc. reserves the right to invite four individual athletes to compete at the Games. The means by which an athlete can earn one of the
four at-large bids is solely up to CrossFit Inc.’s discretion.

Personally I love the invite. Before I get into why and a key point of the whole thing, let me just point out a few things about Hunter. He’s a great athlete and very fit. Check out this comparison of his 2018 and 2019 Open workouts compared to Brent Fikowski, who has been top four at the Games for the last three years..

Hunter beat Brent in 4/11 scored events over the last two Opens, which is pretty damn good. Overall Hunter placed much higher than a lot of the national championships from the 2019 Open. Some of those national champions have no business stepping up to complete alongside the best of the best. Hunter will actually be competitive in some of the endurance type events, with the potential to grab some wins.

Now on to the real meat of this thing. Games athletes and some media people seem to be missing the whole point of the wild card invite! The invite is for the athlete NOT to earn it through normal qualification methods. I remember an old CrossFit video of Greg Glassman talking about these invites, which I couldn’t find. They were basically created as a way to invite athletes from other sports to compete at the Games and see how they compare to CrossFitters. The idea is to answer the question, “Can an athlete built by another fitness program or sport compete and win the CrossFit Games?” If we forced Hunter McIntyre to earn his invite like the rest of the Games competitors, it doesn’t tell us anything new because at that point we’d consider him a CrossFit Games athlete, when at this point he’s still an obstacle course racer.

I think it’s pretty simple to understand and it’ll create some excitement at the Games. I hope he destroys the field in some of the early workouts. Here are some videos with Hunter if you’d like to learn more.

 

Thoughts on the New CrossFit Games Qualifying and Sanctioned Events

This new sanctioned event stuff is going to be interesting. Seems a lot hinges on athletes and teams having enough sponsorships (or crowdfunding? haha) to continue traveling to the events if they don’t qualify early in the season.

For example, if (what would be) a top 5 team travels to events 2, 6, and 10 and loses out to other top teams, do they have enough to keep traveling to some of the remaining events? How many of these events can athletes realistically go to and give 100% while also trying to fix their weaknesses, improve their strengths, not burn out, peak for the games, etc? Especially if they also have to do qualifying workouts for each sanctioned event to gain entry.

Or do we have something like the golf mini tours where golfers live out of their cars and carpool to tournaments each week, while also trying to get family and friends to invest in their dream by giving them some spending money? The big difference is that even the bottom of the pack golfers that make the PGA tour make a lot more money than any CrossFit Games athlete.

On the individual side, will athletes like Tia and Mat dominate even more because they’ll have all year to get better, while a lot of the other top athletes will have to fight through a bunch of sanctioned events?

Thoughts on the 2018 CrossFit Games

  • Haley Adams in the girls 16-17 had the most dominating Games performance in history, winning 9 of the 11 events. The other two events? She was 2nd in both! She earned 1,080 out of a possible 1,100 points. Can she be the first athlete to make the jump from teens to the Games?
  • We should be talking about Tia-Claire Toomey as the best CrossFitter in history instead of Mat Fraser. If she can match Rich Froning’s 4 straight championships by winning the next two years, she also has two silver medals vs his one. She didn’t show any weaknesses throughout the weekend.
  • I wish they would switch back to YouTube Live. Facebook is horrible.
  • I will never row a marathon. Boring as fuck, but impressive to see their times.
  • The Crit was such a crapshoot event. The top 20 women in the event were separated by less time than they were in the time trial!
  • Speed lifting ladders are still the most exciting to watch.
  • It’s incredible to watch what the Games athletes can do with their bodies. I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost 8 years and they always blow me away.
  • May have to get out to Madison next year after not attending these last two years.
  • As I predicted, the stupid Handstand push-up standard from the Open was nowhere to be seen. When doing any type of overhead pressing movement they don’t require your shoulders to be extended up so why do they require it when we’re upside down? Makes no sense whatsoever.
  • The announcers are clueless about what is going on way too often compared to any other sport I’ve ever watched. There were so many times when they were completely wrong on strategy, placing, points, saying someone was finished when they weren’t, etc. It often seemed like they were often watching a different event.
  • Huge inconsistencies with judging. No surprise. They need to start training people and paying them instead of getting volunteers. The job is too important.
  • In other sports you get explanations of decisions by referees. In CrossFit they never explain what goes on with a judging mistake or when an outcome is contested and adjusted. Even the announcers would comment on how judges seemed to throw the rules out the window for certain athletes.
  • Watching on TV it seems like they complicate way too many things with movement standards, judging, layout, barriers, etc. Keep it simple. The cones separating the rouse course for the Battleground events is a good example. You’re never going to have some athletes running in one direction while others are running back, so why put those barriers in the way?
  • It’s annoying to watch some of the same things repeated every heat when they go down to the floor for “inside” info about the event that is about to begin. I understand doing it for people who may be tuning in for later heats, but hearing something like Fibonacci numbers explained eight times gets really old.
  • The planning and work that goes into an event like the CrossFit Games must be unthinkable. I wonder how many volunteers, employees, and hours are involved over the course of the year.
  • Mat Fraser didn’t seem quite as dominating this year, but still won by a huge margin in the end. I’m still not a fan.
  • Speaking of Fraser, he screamed and waved at a cameraman again this year, who wasn’t in his way, but was in his sight line. Come on dude. You’re the fittest man in the world. Get over it and concentrate on yourself. I have never seen anyone else yell at the camera crew during an event.
  • Laura Horvath was impressive throughout the competition. I think we all kept waiting for her to disappear and she seemed to get better. Being 21-years-old probably helps a lot with recovery!
  • Too early to guess who might replace Lindy Barber on CrossFit Mayhem Freedom? Last year I guessed Jen Smith would replace Kristin Reffett and was obviously wrong.