The Open, introduced in 2011 and so-called because participation is open to anyone, is held over five weeks in February–March; a new workout is released on each Thursday night (Pacific Time) and competitors complete the workout and submit their scores online by Monday evening, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate. Since 2013, Open workout announcements have been broadcast live, and featured two or more past CrossFit Games athletes competing head-to-head immediately following the workout description. Beginning with the 2019 Games, the top athlete from each country and the top 20 overall Open finishers qualify directly to the Games. The Open is also used for seeding purposes at the Games even if an athlete qualified through the sanctioned events; if an athlete qualifies through a sanctioned event but does not do the Open, they will be seeded at the bottom.
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A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..." In 2014, CrossFit, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the National Strength and Conditioning Association for publishing this study, alleging that the data were false and were "intended to scare participants away from CrossFit." The NSCA denies CrossFit, Inc.'s allegations but has issued an erratum acknowledging that the injury data were incorrect. In September 2016, the District Court ruled in favor of CrossFit Inc.'s claims that the injury data were found to be false, but not that the NSCA was commercially motivated or that the publishing of the study was defamatory as the NSCA no longer stood behind the study. In February 2017, CrossFit filed for sanctions against the NSCA after one of the NSCA's witnesses admitted to falsifying statements during deposition. In May 2017, the Court issued 17 issues sanctions against the NSCA, writing that the organization did have a commercial motive to falsify the data, had published the false data knowingly to disparage CrossFit, and had misled the public with their erratum. CrossFit was awarded $74,000 in legal fees and allowed to continue investigating the NSCA. If the neutral-party analysis of the NSCA servers turns up any further misconduct, CrossFit may file an amended complaint for further sanctioning and compensation for lost revenue.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the benefits of following a Paleo diet versus a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association in 24 participants with diabetes. After two weeks, researchers found that the Paleo diet led to greater improvements in blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity than the conventional diabetes diet. (4)
In response to these criticisms, CrossFit, Inc. claims, “CrossFit is relatively safe even when performed with poor technique, but it is safer and more effective when performed with good technique.” CrossFit, Inc. also claims risk for injury can be reduced by properly scaling and modifying workouts, a concept taught on its website and at the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Course.
Since there will be so many individuals (almost 400) at The Games, expect the first handful of events to be a “culling of the herd”. From what I’m gathering, we can expect to see about 75 - 90% of the field eliminated in the first half of The Games events. The remaining Games events would be more of what we’re used to: 40 men & 40 women competing for a chance at the title.
A metaresearch group at Tilburg University in the Netherlands investigates scientists’ research methods and operations, scrutinizing questionable practices such as selective reporting of statistical tests and data massaging. The group instead advocates for practices such as preregistering studies and making experimental data immediately available for open external review and verification. Its members are optimistic that “the perverse incentives of careerist academia, to hoard data and sacrifice rigor for headline-generating findings, will ultimately be fixed.”