Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The 2011 Crossfit Games

This weekend kicks off the 2011 Crossfit Games - starting this weekend on July 29th - 31st.  The Games are held in Carson, CA at the Home Depot Center - the same place that they were held in 2010 when I was in attendance along with 5 other members of the Crossfit King of Prussia team.  Going to the Games last year to COMPETE was an amazing experience, one that for me was probably once in a life-time, so it's bittersweet that this year that Games are coming into a new level of legitimacy and this year I'm not a part of it.

What has elevated Crossfit to the next level - in a word Sponsorship.  Forbes magazine featured an article on Crossfit, CrossFit’s Relationship with Reebok Enhances Its Financial and Commercial Credibility by Patrick Rishe.  Reebok's sponsorship has gotten the Crossfit name out there, and the Games are now not something that is only on a Crossfitter's radar since Reebok is sponsoring the Games and offering the winner $250K with a total prize purse of $1 Million...yes, you read that correctly.  Last year the winners took home $25K...Kristan Clever and Graham Holmberg were the top woman and man from last year who are probably hoping to repeat that experience since they are both competitors for the 2011 Games and this year would be able to win ten times more money for the same title.  To date there hasn't been a repeat winner of the Games, but it is the Crossfit Games, where you are supposed to prepare the the unknown and the unknowable you never know what will happen at the Games.
In the Forbes article, they talk about how Crossfit has been elevated to a sport.  In Crossfit we think of ourselves as athletes, but I have never thought of Crossfit itself as a sport.  In essence I think of it as the anti-sport since the goal is constantly varied, functional movements where routine and expertise in one area is the enemy and being good to great verses expert across the all broad time and modal domains is the key to success as a Crossfitter.  The article also mentions a Paleo diet as part of the success story for one of the athletes that is competing at the Games.  The article explains what Paleo is at a really high level - in a way that makes sense and is in fact favorable compared to all of the other press that the Paleo / Primal diet has been getting recently.  Being a Paleo follower myself, I was happy to see the positive Paleo mention and that it's a topic that would come up around the athletes dinner table.

It will be interesting to see who watches the Games online this year, will it be only Crossfitters or will it draw a variety of others people who aren't Crossfit Athletes, closer to something like the X Games.  One thing I'm certain about is that anyone that watches the Games is going to be impressed with the athletes and their performance and intensity.  Just looking at the stats on these athletes is impressive.  As a Crossfitter I'm amazed at the numbers and times that these men and women are putting up on  benchmark Crossfit WODs, some of it is hard to even understand how you can do something that fast!   And when you are competing at the Crossfit Games, Crossfit takes the workouts to a new level. 

They announced on the Games Site on July 26th that there will be a swim test for all of the athletes, so now there is speculation of what they will do with that (I'm sure all of the athletes that are swimmers, former swimmers or triathletes are secretly cheering).  Can you imagine going to compete with the best in the world in an athletic event where you have NO IDEA what you are going to have to do?  You don't know how many workouts, what weights, how long, what time, and will most likely include something you've never trained to do (e.g., swimming, or last year moving sandbags in a wheel barrow).  I can't wait to see what the Games is going to reveal this year, and I wish all competitors lots of luck.  Any guesses on what the swim workout is going to be?  Any predictions on the winners?  I don't know that I have a female favorite, but I'm really hoping to see Chris Spealler come out on top for the men, he's an amazing athlete, a great coach, and a really cool person.  I also like Ben Smith - thanks to Jason Lyons for putting him on my radar - it would be great to see him in the top 5.


  1. No reservations whatsoever about the Reebok sponsorship? I'm wondering how natural a fit it is. To start, what sort of training shoes do most CrossFitters wear? My extremely unscientific sampling shows a lot of people preferring Inov-8, Vibram Five Fingers, and the like. Different approach, and different culture from Reebok. Shoes aside, what about clothing?Here I've seen no strong brand preference whatsoever. Mostly just basic, comfortable gym wear. Sometimes technical, sometimes not. So no obvious CrossFit / Reebok synergy. But please keep in mind this sponsorship is a business decision. And it's an unwritten law, but a law nonetheless, that a Sugar Daddy always expects some sweetness in return. What is Reebok expecting from CrossFit? And CrossFit HQ from the affiliates? To give one example, CrossFit HQ still pushes the Zone Diet. In contrast, and again according to my highly unscientific sampling using both "face-time" and online sources, many CrossFitters have adopted some version of the Paleo diet. Rolling their own, so to speak, but out of the Zone and on the Paleo path. So back to Reebok, official outfitter of the NFL. If you're a pro athlete on the field, you're wearing a Reebok jersey. In a few years (or even sooner) will it be CrossFit competition athletes wearing official Reebok shoes and apparel as part of the competition requirements? Not unreasonable, given the money Reebok is putting up. And then where does it go from there? With Reebok and CrossFit HQ, and then the affiliates? I'm pleased that the CrossFit games has more sponorship and support. I won't be buying Reebok shoes or shirts anytime soon. Not my style, as VFF REI kind of guy. & I will be curious to see how Reebok adjusts / markets its existing line for the CrossFit community.

  2. @Tom H - I didn't intentially comment on what I think of Reebok sponsorship - I am actually not sure what I think yet. I do agree with some of your comments though, I don't think that Reebok as a company today has many products that are used by the Crossfit community. It will be interesting to see what Reebok wants from Crossfit in return and if that compromises what Crossfit is. I too will not be going out and buying Reebok just because they sponsor the games but some people might.

    And I agree with the nutrtion, the tricky thing is that Paleo is not in conflict with Glassman's definition of world class fitness in 100 words.