The CrossFit Open will start on March 11th and last for three weeks, the sport’s official website has announced alongside the full dates for the 2021 season.
A new Quarterfinal stage will be introduced, offering around 10 per cent of athletes who take part in the Open the chance to compete in a new round. Previously only about 0.3 per cent had continued into the regionals.
Sanctionals have been scrapped due to logistical issues imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, so there will instead be a Semifinal stage which will see a 10-athlete in-person event on every continent with the winner earning qualification to the Games. This appears to be a shift back to a regional qualification approach, ensuring that each continent will be represented at the showcase event in the summer.
A return of the Affiliate Cup in the Team Division was also announced, as was a Last-Chance Qualifier - a fun format not used since 2009 - which gives individuals who narrowly missed the cut in the Semifinals a chance to get to Madison just a month out from the Games.
The organisers have already confirmed their ambition of registering 500,000 attendees for the Open, which would make it the biggest in history.
“The last year has been tough for everyone, so we want to kick off the 2021 season with a compelling and accessible Open that can meet the needs of every athlete in the world,” said Dave Castro, CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport.
“Whether you’re surrounded by people in your local gym, working out alone at home, or listening to friends cheer over Zoom, the Open will energize you and remind you why you are part of CrossFit.”
The new Adaptive Division for athletes with disabilities was also confirmed in the schedule announcement.
Eric Roza, CEO of CrossFit, said: “Every part of this season has been designed to ensure as many people as possible can take part in and experience the excitement, challenge, and joy of the Open.
“A shorter Open means easier logistics for gym owners; a later start date gives more time for local reopenings; at-home options ensure access for all; masters, teen, and adaptive divisions welcome a broader group of participants; and continent-based Semifinals guarantee that athletes from all areas of the world will be represented at the Games.
“I’m thrilled to be joining hundreds of thousands of CrossFit athletes around the world to join in this iconic event together.”
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