How Will Regionals Be Different In 2018?

How Will Regionals Be Different In 2018?

We know the 2018 CrossFit Games Regionals will be different, but how could the Games qualification process change to fix some of the issues in the current system?

Jun 27, 2017 by Armen Hammer
How Will Regionals Be Different In 2018?
The CrossFit Games found a new home in 2017, moving to Madison, Wisconsin, after seven years in Carson, California, and with the new venue came a whole set of changes around the schedule, competition, and more. But what about the rest of the CrossFit Games season? We know that the 2018 Regionals will be different, but what can we expect to change? 

The key aim of the CrossFit Games from a competitive standpoint is to find the Fittest On Earth. The entire system is designed to that end, starting with the Open, then to Regionals, and then to the Games. The biggest issue CrossFit has right now is the massive size and talent difference in the regions, both during the Open and in the groups of regions during Regionals.

For example, here are some rough estimates on how many female competitors there are in each region during the Open:

Region Amount Of Competitors
Africa 3,900
Asia 3,300
Australia 10,650
Canada East 6,350
Canada West 3,600
Central East 9,900
Europe 21,750
South America 12,650
Mid Atlantic 11,350
North Central 12,100
North East 14,400
NorCal 5,250
Northwest 6,550
South Central 12,450
South East 11,300
SoCal 6,250
South West 8,100

A couple things should stick out here, and first and foremost is the huge disparity in size between the largest and smallest regions. There are over 21,000 women competing in Europe during the Open, which is more than some of the combined Regionals. Because of the size difference, there's a difference in depth of talent in those regions, and yet that depth of talent isn't necessarily recognized in the setup we currently have at Regionals.

There are obviously geographical considerations taking place with the formations of the Regional competitions, so what can CrossFit change to make sure that A) the most talented CrossFitters are making it to Regionals and B) the best CrossFitters are making it to the Games?

Proportional qualifications

While the Meridian Regional has nearly 25,000 female competitors in it during the Open, the California Regional has less than half of that, but each competition gets five spots to the Games. If we're looking at it proportionally, Meridian should get double the representation at the Games.

One solution to the issues at hand would be to leave the Regionals alone but change the number of qualifying spots per Regional to an amount proportional to the number of athletes.

Redrawing and expand the regions

Another solution is to redraw the regions to even out the populations represented both outside and inside the U.S. Instead of 17 regions during the Open feeding into eight Regional competitions, the number of Open regions can be increased but feed into a smaller number of Regionals. That would allow for less people from each region to qualify for the Regional competitions through the Open.

Conversely, the regions during the Open can expand to cover the same ground as the Regionals so only the best qualify to advance. 

Combination of expanded regions and proportional qualifiers

Combining these two solutions could be a good way to solve multiple problems at once. In this example, the areas covered by each Regional becomes the competition ground for the Open. So for the Meridian, the top 40 athletes from Europe and Africa qualify for Regionals without the current weighted qualification of 30 from Europe and 10 from Africa. Then, at Regionals, the number of Games spots awarded is increased proportionally to the size of the region during the Open. 

Both of these solutions assume that while Regionals will change, they won't change dramatically. What happens if CrossFit decides it wants to reorganize the whole system? What could it construct to achieve its goals of A) casting the widest net possible and B) finding the Fittest on Earth if it wasn't married to the current format?

The Global Leaderboard Qualification

We have a global leaderboard during the Open, but it currently doesn't mean anything. One solution to ensure the best of the best are making it to Regionals (and therefore to the Games) is to use the global leaderboard as the qualifying grounds for the second stage of the Games season. In this scenario, the top 300 men and 300 women worldwide are invited to compete for a chance to qualify for the Games regardless of where they place in their state, country, or region.

Regionals can then take place over two weekends, with three competitions happening each weekend. The Regionals themselves can be organized geographically for ease of access, and all competitors are combined on the same leaderboard over each weekend so that, again, the top combined competitors make it to the Games.

The Global Leaderboard solution would make it even tougher to qualify for the CrossFit Games, with a much smaller margin of error in any of the qualifying stages while also rewarding the competitors who consistently place at the top of the world among the best of the best.

There are myriad ways Regionals and the Games qualifying process can be reorganized, and only those within the highest levels of CrossFit HQ really know how and where things are going. What do you think of these solutions? Am I missing the core issues at hand? Is there a simpler way to do this?

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