In a press release Saturday, CrossFit announced the National Champion field would be cut from the 2020 CrossFit Games. This includes cancellation of a team competition this season. The decision was a pragmatic one, as CrossFit looks to resize the event to fit the rules and regulations it expects in California when the event runs in August.
The trimmed field will now include only the top 20 male and top 20 female athletes from the CrossFit Open and the athletes who qualified through the ten Sanctionals to run before lockdown.
The CrossFit Open
Following the CrossFit Games rulebook for the 2020 season, the top 20 individuals athletes in the male and female divisions receive invites to the Games. This rule stays in place.
On the men’s side, this means the return of popular American and Canadian athletes like Patrick Vellner, Mat Fraser, Noah Ohlsen, Jacob Heppner, and Cole Sager. What isn’t clear is whether athletes outside of North America, like Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson of Iceland and Roman Khrennikov of Russia, will be able to travel for the competition.
On the women’s side, this is a much deeper issue, as only eight athletes are in North America. Among them are Brooke Wells, Kari Pearce, Tia-Clair Toomey, Carol-Ann Reason-Thibault, and Dani Speegle. In doubt due to travel restrictions could be Sara Sigmundsdottir, Kristin Holte, Jamie Greene, Emma McQuaid, Kara Saunders, and Laura Horvath.
CrossFit Open Overflow Athletes
Impacted by the removal of the National Champion rule are a number of athletes outside the top-20 who received invites as overflow from National Champions and team invitees. Those could be Brooke Haas, Haley Adams, Carolyne Prevost, Zack George, Chandler Smith, and former Games champions Katrin Davidsdottir and Ben Smith.
Team and CrossFit Open Declines
CrossFit notes that, given the reset, they will be contacting all original CrossFit Open invitees and are giving them a second chance to accept or decline their invites. Yes, Rich Froning is still expected to decline.
National Champion Athletes Impacted
Prominent national champions losing their CrossFit Games invites through this change include Alessandra Pichelli, Tammi Robinson, Brenda Castro, Willy Georges, Jason Smith, Luke Fiso, Lukas Esslinger, and Nicolay Billaudel.
The 2021 CrossFit Games
In the bottom section of the press release, CrossFit clarifies how the 2021 season will look. They intend to bring back the age group divisions, along with the National Champion invites. This should come as a relief to many athletes concerned about the future of those two programs.