The Open – Part 1

The Open – Part 1

What is the Open? Simply put, it is “where grassroots meets greatness: Compete with hundreds of thousands of athletes in CrossFit’s largest all-inclusive event.” Basically, the Open is the first step in qualifying for the Crossfit Games, and has grown to a worldwide phenomenon in the Crossfit community.


A brief timeline for the history buffs: 

  • The Crossfit Games started in 2007 at The Ranch in Aromas, California. Back then, anyone could show up and compete for the title of Fittest on Earth. A small group of about 70 people gathered to compete.
  • The format changed in 2009 due to increasing popularity, and an ever growing number of athletes at the Games. Crossfit added qualifying events, called Regionals, where athletes could compete at a few select gyms and qualify to compete at the Games in Aromas.
  • In 2010, Crossfit added Sectional qualifiers prior to Regionals, due to ever increasing popularity. From Feb. 13 to March 28, athletes around the world competed and the best athletes then moved on to Regionals, the final qualifying step before the Games.
  • The 2011 Crossfit Games season began with the first-ever Open competition. The Open (so called because participation is open to anyone) was and is held over the course of 5 weeks and is meant to test our fitness and allow us to compete for a position among the fittest athletes in the world. The top finishers in the Open were invited to the Regional events.
  • In 2015, the number of Regional events was consolidated from 17 down to 8 “Super Regionals”, again, due to the ever increasing number of athletes participating.
  • In 2018, the Regional events were again modified due to increased competitiveness outside the US and Canada. There were 9 Regional events this year.
  • Big changes occurred in 2019. After the Regional events in 2018, Crossfit cancelled Regionals and stated that athletes would have to qualify through sanctioned events, now called Sanctionals, instead. Top overall finishers from the Open, National Champions from the Open, and Sanctional qualifiers would be invited to the Crossfit Games in 2019 and moving forward.
  • 2019 is also the only year with two Open qualifiers, as the Open season has changed from February/March to October. This October’s Open will qualify athletes for the 2020 Crossfit Games.


Participation in the Open has steadily increased over the years, with about 26,000 people in 2011 to over 416,000 in 2018. There was a slight drop in participation in 2019 due to the drastic changes implemented by Crossfit, so only around 357,000 people signed up in 2019.


How does the Open affect you? Well, for 99% of us, it does not affect us at all. It just means that on Fridays during the month of October (starting October 10th), our workouts are going to be programmed by Crossfit. As you’ll hear me say, “it’s just another workout”, so nothing to worry about. If you would like to sign up, you can do so here: The cost is $20, and gives you access to the leaderboard which will tell you how you stand compared to the roughly 400,000 Crossfit Athletes around the world. There are also custom leaderboards where you can sort by age, country, state, etc. Is it necessary for you to sign up? No. You will be doing the workouts on Friday regardless of if you sign up or not. 



If you do decide to sign up for the Open, your score for each workout will need to be judged and validated before you submit online. You may also do the workout without a judge, but you will need to video the workout and submit that as your proof. Judges need to take and pass the Judges Course Certification for that year ( in order to judge athletes. If you plan on submitting videos instead of having a judge present, I recommend you also take the course as it not only teaches you the movement standards, but it also gives you the requirements for the video submissions.


Keep an eye out for Part 2 which will detail how we organize our in-house Hakkapeliitta Open challenge, and Part 3 which will detail how our Friday Night Lights will be run.