2015 to 2018 Seasons
CrossFit first started crowning national champions in 2015 based upon athletes’ Open results. The national leaderboards ranked athletes in the same country using the same scoring system as the worldwide Open leaderboard and Open regional leaderboards. From 2015 to 2018, the national championship competition was tied to the athlete’s address, and geography rather than citizenship. As a result, some athletes became national champions of countries where they were temporarily located. For example, Sara Sigmundsdottir was the U.S. National Champion while training there in 2017, and Chandler Smith was the 2018 Bulgaria National Champion when he was stationed there for a military assignment.
2019 Season Overhaul
Starting in 2019, the national championships were based upon an athlete’s citizenship. Athletes with dual citizenship had to designate one country to represent during the Open. This new classification is akin to how the Olympics determines which country an athlete can represent. Additionally, before 2019, there were 33 territories/areas/island chains that were recognized separately by CrossFit and included in the national champion competition. In 2019, these areas were included in the larger competitions with their representative country. For example, Puerto Rico had its own national champions from 2015 to 2018. Now Puerto Rican athletes are included with the other U.S. athletes.
Direct Qualification to the Games
The most significant change in 2019 was the chance for national champions to earn a qualifying spot to the CrossFit Games directly out of the Open (for countries that met eligibility requirements). The same system was going to be used for the 2020 CrossFit Games until the COVID-19 pandemic required a downsizing of the Games athlete field.
For the 2021 season, becoming a national champion in the Open will not earn a qualifying spot to the Games. Additionally, the way in which the 2021 CrossFit Games season national champions are determined will change significantly. The first six years of national championships were based solely on Open performance. In 2021, national champions will be determined based upon who gets the furthest in the Games season and upon overall placement in a respective Games Season stage, if applicable.
New National Champion Crowning Process
- For countries that do not have any athletes advance to the Quarterfinals, the national champion will be the athlete who did the best in the worldwide Open.
- If a country does not have an athlete advance past the Quarterfinals into the Semifinals, then the national champion will be the athlete who placed the best on their respective Quarterfinal leaderboard.
- If a country does not have an athlete advance to the Games from the Semifinals, then the national champion will be the athlete who placed the best in their Semifinal. In the event that the country is part of North America or Europe per the CrossFit Semifinals map, then the national champion will be the athlete who placed the best in their respective Semifinal (noting that North America has four Semifinals and Europe has two Semifinals). In the event that athletes from the same country have the same place in their respective Semifinal (but are in different Semifinals), then the tie-break will be determined via the athletes’ placement in Quarterfinals.
- If two athletes from the same country advance to the Last-Chance Qualifier, but do not make it to the Games, the person who finished higher in the event would be crowned.
- And last, the countries that have multiple athletes qualify for the CrossFit Games will crown their national champion based on who places best in the Games.
There were many times when a country’s national champion in the Open was not the highest-placed athlete at the Games for their country. For example, Kari Pearce has only been the U.S. Open national champion once, in 2020. However, she was the highest-placing American woman at the Games in 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020. But going forward, the national champions will be the athletes who did the best from their country in the Games season.
Multiyear National Champions
Comparing the lists of athletes who have been national champions is imperfect due to the differing criteria outlined above. However, it is still interesting to see which athletes have been national champions every year regardless of criteria, or those who have missed a year, etc. Below is the list of the top national champions since 2015.
Six-Year National Champions
||New Zealand and United Arab Emirates
Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson
||Trinidad and Tobago
Five-Year National Champions
|Sofia Arrue Bermeo
||Trinidad and Tobago
*Had PED violation and penalty from the 2019 CrossFit Games
||Finland and United Arab Emirates
||Romania and Kuwait
|Majid Al Sharaf
*Had PED violation and penalty from the 2019 Dubai CrossFit Championship
Four-Year National Champions
Three-Year National Champions
Note on the national champion leaderboards: In the event there was a tie in the final points, the national champion was determined by who had the most first-place workout finishes. If still tied, then the tiebreaker went to who had the most second-place workout finishes and so forth. However, there were some instances when the athletes were still tied after comparing the workout place totals. In that event, the tiebreaker went to the athlete with the best worldwide Open placement.
Chad Schroeder has been doing CrossFit since 2009. Schroeder started working for CrossFit Media regularly at the 2012 CrossFit Games. He compiles and tracks all the CrossFit Games season results, athlete bios, and career records. He provides direct stats and research assistance to the media crews during live events and production shows. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, he is a civil engineer during the day and was in the United States Air Force for 10 years. He has his Professional Engineer’s license along with master’s and bachelor’s degrees in engineering. Before finding CrossFit, he came from a triathlon and marathon background. Outside his work and CrossFit, he enjoys hiking and snowshoeing in the Colorado mountains He also likes following MMA (UFC) and is a huge Star Wars fan and Lego collector.