The Open: What, When, Where and Why

January 23, 2018


Curious about the Open? Keep reading.

The Open is the first stage of the CrossFit Games season, which ends when the Fittest on Earth are crowned on Aug. 5 in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Open is one of the largest participatory events in the world. Last year, 385,000 people competed—some for fun and some for a chance to reach Regionals and ultimately the Games.

What Is the Open?

The worldwide Open is an all-inclusive online competition. Anyone 14 and up can sign up, and the Open even welcomes athletes who are 70 and older. For five weeks, CrossFit announces one workout each Thursday. Athletes have five days (Thursday-Monday) to complete the workout and submit their scores in order to be ranked on the official CrossFit Games Leaderboard. They can perform the workouts in front of a judge at one of more than 14,000 CrossFit gyms around the world, or they can do the workouts in a garage, home gym, or other location and upload a video for judging by the community.

The Open is for everyone. With Rx'd and scaled options for 19 different divisions, everyone—newbies, casual CrossFit athletes and the elite—can complete some version of the workout. In past years, we’ve seen masters competitors (35-60+) achieve feats they never thought possible, we’ve seen new athletes find new levels of personal success, and we’ve seen the emergence of rising CrossFit Games stars who inspire the world by showing what’s possible. Throughout the competition, victories great and small are celebrated throughout the affiliate community and in garages from Alaska to New Zealand.

The 2018 Open begins Thursday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. PT, when the first workout is announced live. After that, workouts will be released March 1, 8, 15 and 22, all at 5 p.m. PT, via live announcement. The Open concludes on Monday, March 26, at 5 p.m. PT.

Open History

The CrossFit Games started in 2007. The inaugural event took place on a dusty 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, when CrossFit added qualifying events in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Iceland, Asia, Australia and Africa, as well as online. Athletes who proved themselves in these events were invited to compete at the Games in Aromas.

In 2010, CrossFit added Sectional qualifiers. From Feb. 13 to March 28, athletes around the world competed. The best athletes then moved on to Regionals, the final qualifying step before the Games.

The 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games season began with the first-ever Open competition. Athletes worldwide competed in six workouts over six weeks, from March 15 to May 1, 2011. That year was the first and only year—so far—that included six weeks of competition.

The Open meant that anyone anywhere could throw their hat in the ring to compete for a position among the fittest athletes in the world. More than 26,000 registered for the Open in 2011, making it one of the largest sporting events in history.

That year, Dan Bailey won the Open on the men’s side, while Kristan Clever and Annie Thorisdottir tied for first in the women’s division. Bailey went on to take sixth at the CrossFit Games, Clever came in second and Thorisdottir took the overall win, validating the Open as an accurate predictor of the Fittest on Earth.

Since its first year, the Open has grown annually as more and more people register. More than 69,000 signed up in 2012. That number nearly doubled in 2013. More than 200,000 registered in 2014. By 2016, well over 300,000 were ready to roll when the first event was announced.

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After this year’s Open, the top athletes from each of the 18 worldwide regions will qualify for the second stage of competition—Regionals. The Regionals are live, three-day competitions held in May and June in nine cities around the world. Top athletes from the Open are invited to compete at Regional events to earn a precious few qualifying spots for the CrossFit Games—only five per Regional in most cases.

Why Do the Open?

While the Open is the first step in finding the Fittest on Earth, only the top 0.17 percent of participants make it to the world stage. The vast majority participates in the Open for other reasons.

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Some thrive on the unrivaled challenge of the Open and the atmosphere it creates. The Open pushes people to achieve things they never thought possible. There’s no feeling like getting your first double-under or muscle-up in the heat of competition.

Some do it for the community and fun: The Open unites affiliates all over the world. For five weeks, an athlete in Dallas, Texas, does the same workouts as someone in São Paulo, Brazil; Paris, France; or Beijing, China. Members of the global CrossFit community band together to compete with each other and support each other, creating a worldwide celebration of health and fitness. The global feeling of community is replicated inside each affiliate as each gym’s members gather together to complete the workouts and cheer on their friends. Around the world, it’s common for affiliates to create in-house competitions that feature costumes, prizes and local leaderboards.

How to Participate

Registration for the Open starts in January each year. Athletes sign up on and fill out profiles.

CrossFit will announce the workouts live on and on Facebook Live, and the fun starts from there.

Athletes need a CrossFit ID to register. If they’ve registered for any seminars or participated in the Open before, they’ll already have a CrossFit ID, which consists of an email login and a password. To register, competitors enter the required information, including sex, age and affiliate (if applicable). After signing the waiver and paying $20, participants can complete an athlete profile to share information—stats, training history, nutrition habits, etc. Here are step-by-step instructions in English, Portuguese and Spanish

Athletes may change affiliate information until the score-submission deadline for 18.1: Monday, Feb. 26, at 5 p.m. PT. Affiliate and team information is frozen after the first workout deadline.

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After each workout is announced, Open participants have five days to complete the workout and log their scores. Workouts can be completed in affiliates or garage gyms and validated with registered judges or video submissions.

How to Enjoy

The worldwide community will tune in at 5 p.m. PT each Thursday during the Open to find out the week’s workout. Friends, family members and competitors can gather together to watch on a big screen, through the video app or on a mobile device. There are many ways to connect and plug in during the five weeks of competition.

Watch live announcement on the big screen through the Facebook video app. Here's how to watch Facebook videos on TV. Here's how to log in on the Facebook video for TV app. View FAQs here

Interact with the community on the CrossFit Games platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Check out the Leaderboard to compare scores or evaluate your own progress. You can view the Leaderboard on the Games website or on the Games app (coming soon). Join the global conversation on your own pages by including #InTheOpen, #CrossFitOpen and #CrossFitGames in your Open posts. Official accounts will highlight stories from around the world. The Open is an opportunity to come together as a community and enjoy celebtating each other as we strive to be our best.

Good luck and have fun!



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