The Growth of the CrossFit Open
The Growth of the CrossFit Open: 2007 – 2017
In 2007 there were only two events in the CrossFit Games. There was the men’s division and then there was the women’s division.
Both divisions had their own rules and regulations which differed from each other. For example, some competitions required competitors to have at least one year experience while others did not. Some competitions allowed athletes to wear different colored clothing than what they wore during competition while others didn’t allow it at all!
It was a very competitive time in the CrossFit Games. Competitors wanted to win so badly that they would do anything to get into the top three positions.
At this point, the women’s division had been around for over ten years and still remained relatively unchanged since its inception. The men’s division however was completely different because it started with no rules whatsoever! All competitors were encouraged to participate and compete whatever way they saw fit.
What made the first year of the CrossFit Games even more interesting was that there were many new competitors entering the sport. Many of these new competitors came from gyms or individuals who just liked to train and competed occasionally.
These newcomers weren’t necessarily experienced enough to compete against seasoned veterans but they certainly had something to learn about training and competing in general. They could take inspiration from these newer competitors’ experiences and try to improve themselves too!
The people who were still training consistently for the CrossFit Games found themselves in new territory. Some enjoyed the challenge, some didn’t.
After all, these were the pioneers of the sport. They were the first people to compete in this way and pave the way for others to follow. The possibility of winning thousands of dollars was enough to keep them motivated but it wasn’t always easy. If they won, they gained a huge following within that year’s community and became an inspiration to others. If they lost however, they were out of the rotation for next year.
Year after year, the CrossFit Games grew and more and more people were inspired to compete. Competitors learned from their mistakes in previous competitions and started strategizing a way to win.
It was no longer just about being the best in your city or state. You could now prove to be the fittest on a national scale! These competitions were also very important to spectators. CrossFit was able to gain more and more fans because people wanted to see their hometown heroes win!
As the years passed, other companies started to take notice of what CrossFit was doing. Some companies viewed CrossFit as direct competition and wanted to provide similar services themselves.
Other companies saw that people were starting to care more about their health and wanted to get in on that market too. It just so happened that there were enough of these companies that all chose to split off from CrossFit entirely and create their own fitness events.
These events eventually turned into what we now know as the NPGL. The gladiators of old have been replaced with the gladiators of today and it is still a popular sport for all ages and genders to enjoy.
However, people still look back on the old CrossFit Games fondly. They remember the days when the fittest person on Earth was actually crowned in front of everyone and how exciting that must have been.
It’s funny how history repeats itself. While we no longer crown the Fittest on Earth, the Open is still hotly contested every year.
People still try their best to achieve a personal best and qualify for Regionals and beyond.
And ultimately, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Year after year, the community grows stronger and more people are motivated to be the Fittest on Earth.
Actually, that’s not even true. Some people are just in it for the T-shirts.
Sources & references used in this article:
- A 4-year analysis of the incidence of injuries among CrossFit-trained participants (Y Feito, EK Burrows, LP Tabb – Orthopaedic journal of sports …, 2018 – journals.sagepub.com)
- Investigating the organisational culture of CrossFit (B Bailey, AJ Benson, MW Bruner – International Journal of Sport …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis)
- What keeps athletes in the gym? Goals, psychological needs, and motivation of CrossFit™ participants (BA Sibley, SM Bergman – International Journal of Sport and …, 2018 – Taylor & Francis)
- An investigation into how motivational factors differed among individuals engaging in crossfit training (Y Feito, C Brown, A Box, KM Heinrich… – … Open, 2018 – journals.sagepub.com)
- Predictors of CrossFit Open Performance (GT Mangine, JE Tankersley, JM McDougle… – Sports, 2020 – mdpi.com)
- The culture of CrossFit: a lifestyle prescription for optimal health and fitness (S Kuhn – 2013 – ir.library.illinoisstate.edu)
- Effect of grit on performance in Crossfit in advanced and novice athletes (M Cazayoux, M DeBeliso – Turkish Journal of Kinesiology, 2019 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org)