Adaptive CrossFit athletes have long been an important part of the CrossFit community. Although we haven’t seen the adaptive community in the official sport of CrossFit — until now! — well-known competitions like Wodapalooza and WheelWOD have provided outlets and opportunities for athletes with similar disabilities to throw their hats in the ring and compete against each other.
In 2021, CrossFit is proud to announce the first ever adaptive athletes division in the Open.
In November of 2020, CrossFit CEO Eric Roza spoke about the new division in an article with The Morning ChalkUp: “We are doing the work so that we are able to have separate adaptive athlete categories in the Open,” Roza said. “I’m just getting educated on this. There are a lot of different categories of adaptive athletes, and so I can’t say we’re going to nail it the first time around, but we’re going to make steps in the right direction.”
CrossFit General Manager of Sport Dave Castro said the adaptive athlete community drove the implementation of this year’s competition.
“It’s a challenge to implement and implement correctly," Castro said, noting the importance of involving the adaptive community in the development of the new divisions. "It was not a challenge for us to figure out. It was a challenge to put back to that community,” he said. “And that’s what we did this year.”
Castro said the CrossFit Games team looked to a small group of thought leaders in the adaptive community for guidance on how to run the new division, which subdivisions to include, and how to program the workouts.
Adaptive Athletes: How to Play
The CrossFit Open includes 16 adaptive athlete divisions:
- Men and Women Adaptive: Upper Extremity
- Men and Women Adaptive: Lower Extremity
- Men and Women Adaptive: Neuromuscular
- Men and Women Adaptive: Vision
- Men and Women Adaptive: Short Stature
- Men and Women Adaptive: Seated Athletes (with hip function)
- Men and Women Adaptive: Seated Athletes (without hip function)
- Men and Women Adaptive: Intellectual
When you register for the Open, you’ll be asked to choose the appropriate division, and you’ll be grouped on the official CrossFit Games Leaderboard alongside athletes who have similar disabilities.
The Open competition kicks off on Thursday, March 11, at 5 p.m. PT, with the announcement of Open Workout 21.1. Adaptive athletes will compete in Open workouts specific to the adaptive divisions.
CrossFit is committed to ensuring all CrossFit athletes have equal access and opportunity to participate in CrossFit events in a manner that is fair to all competitors while preserving the integrity of the sport. Athletes with disabilities are welcome to participate in CrossFit Games Open workouts with adaptive athlete divisions in accordance with the requirements found in the Adaptive Athlete Policy.
Review the Adaptive Athlete Policy for the official rules of the 2021 CrossFit Open, such as eligibility and age requirements, equipment allowances, how to request movement modifications, and more.