The CrossFit Games will see athletes competing online after the sport revealed sweeping changes to the format weeks before the event is set to take place.
They announced 30 male and 30 female athletes will compete in an online stage in September, with the top five from each division then being invited to California to battle it out for the title.
Interestingly, the competitors won’t have to do the events at the same time during the online stage, unlike at the recent Rogue Invitational. That could lead to athletes knowing exactly how their opponents have performed before taking part in a workout.
There is still no date for when the second stage will actually take place - we just know the top five men and women will be flown out to Dave Castro’s ranch around four or five weeks after the online stage.
CrossFit had already laid out plans for a reduced event this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic and global travel restrictions, which would have seen a field of just 20 athletes made up of the top finishers from the Open and the Sanctional champions.
In a statement, CrossFit CEO Eric Roza said: “We are excited to be able to deliver the CrossFit Games to our athletes, fans, and CrossFit gym members in 158 countries through a two-stage format that combines a worldwide online competition with a small in-person finals in Northern California.
“This innovative format will help us protect the safety of our athletes while delivering a world-class Games experience to identify the world’s fittest individuals.”
The circumstances are clearly far from ideal and the fact that only five competitors will be able to battle it out head-to-head could well cast doubt on whether the competition will actually reveal the fittest man and woman on earth.
CrossFit Director of Sport Dave Castro said: “The world is dealing with an unprecedented crisis. After extensive discussions with athletes and public health officials, we decided that this format was the best way to preserve the spirit and substance of the Games and ensure athletes can compete for the title of Fittest on Earth in a safe and fair manner.”