Watching the CrossFit Games grow has been nothing short of epic. James OPT Fitzjerald won the 60 competitor event of 2007 Games with 150 spectators. First footage of the (then 287 competitors) came in the documentary Every Second Counts about the 2008 games won by Jason Khalipa.
Back in these days the CrossFit Games happened somewhere called ‘The Ranch’ which was basically a hanger in the middle of no where in Aromas, California. I followed the 2009 games via twitter updates and it was painful as hell… In the beginning the games were whatever 60 athletes happened to make it to the ranch. As the games grew, they couldn’t just let any old person come compete, now they had to have a way to pick out the elite…
In 2010 I competed at my 2nd CrossFit competition ever (first being at Taranis… 2009?) which was the CrossFit Sectionals for BC held in Squamish in a University Gymnasium.
It was a 2 full day event that included everything from a CrossFit Football Total (1 rep max total of: Power Clean, Bench Press, and Back squat – 3 attempts at each) to a 2km row. We had no idea what the events would be until the night before so we had to train to be ready for anything. The top 15 competitors from this even went to the Canadian Regionals held in Calgary where 60 competitors from all over Canada qualified to compete. The top 6 from there went to represent Canada at the Games, now held at the Home Depot Center where they maxed out capacity at 8,00 spectators.
In 2011 Reebok stepped forward having kept a keen eye on the growth of the sport, and offered up a million dollars in prize money as well as a whole bunch of goodies for a partnership with CrossFit and the ‘Sport of Fitness’. In order to claim the title of ‘fittest on earth’ they decided it needed to be more accessible, so they made the CrossFit Open – an online qualifier that anyone, anywhere, could do.
The CrossFit Games stand alone as the ultimate test of fitness. No test, regardless of its lofty claims, can grant legitimate title to the best without first providing access to all. The Open is a truly “open” competition. Anyone from anywhere can participate.
26,000 athletes competed in the open in 2011, myself included. At this time I was coaching and training at CrossFit Optimum Performance where I completed most of the open workouts. It was 6 weeks long with a new workout being posted every tuesday night, and you had until sunday evening to submit a verified score (either via video or a judges affiliate).
I can’t remember exactly where I finished after the 6 week open but I believe it was around 20th – which qualified me for the Western Canada Regional. The new Reebok CrossFit open came in and replaced the sectional I had competed in the previous year in Squamish. The regional event was now split into Canada West and Canada East with 60 athletes competing at each, and the top 2 in each division (male/female/team) would be representing Canada at the Games. The Canada West Regional was awesome. It was held at Thunderbird Arena in UBC and Reebok did a great job of making the athletes feel like ‘real’ athletes. There was an athletes only section with recliners, food, drink, and free massages, as well as (sometimes annoying) photographers everywhere and video interviews pre and post event.
Checkout the Canada West page here for full updates and photo gallery.
Since I didn’t finish top 2 in Western Canada (shucks!) I opted to fly down to the Home Depot Center and watch the best in the world throw down live. The spectacle was madness and the event awe inspiring, but that’s going to need a blog post of it’s own.
The CrossFit Open 2012 started today (Feb 22 2012) and event one was announced at 5pm: as many burpees as you can do in 7min, touching an object 6″ above your reach. That’s it. Accessible to everyone, doable by anyone, you have until Sunday to signup, complete the workout, and see how you stack up against 50,000 athletes around the world (the registration count as of now).
For a quick(er) summary of the growth of CrossFit and the CrossFit Games, checkout the infographic below brought to you by the geniuses over at socialwod.com.