CrossFit competitors are entering a unique phase of the CrossFit Games season that is new to everyone. Here is an exploration of how the various numbers from the Open will carry over into the Quarterfinals and then into the rest of the Games season.
Below is a breakout of the participants and their relative percentages per continent for the 2021 Games season. The combined men’s and women’s Open continental numbers mirror the allocation of Games spots. Note the number of athletes competing at each Semifinal will decrease with the Catchall Virtual Semifinal. However, the total competitors from each continent will remain the same per the continental Semifinals distributions shown. The Games continental numbers will shift a bit as well depending on who qualifies in the four spots from the Last-Chance Qualifier.
The number of Quarterfinal qualifiers is based upon the number of athletes registered per continent as of the close of 21.1. Diving into the numbers, below are the estimated worldwide places of the last qualifiers to be eligible to compete in the Quarterfinals from each continent.
Looking at the results above, a general takeaway could be that the European women and the South American men are the relatively fittest qualifying blocks when comparing the top 10% from each continent. Note, this is just a check of the tail end of the qualifier distributions from each continent and not a look into the breakout of the qualifiers throughout the worldwide rankings.
Below is a look at the distribution of continental representation for various Open breakouts in both total athletes, percentage of athletes, and then in a normalized percentage factoring in total registered athletes per continent after the close of 21.1.
The normalized percentages show the relative contributions to the field by each continent. If each of the six continents contributed athletes in proportion to the number of athletes they registered, we would see normalized percentages of 1/6, or 16.7%, for each of them. If the normalized percentage is above 16.7%, a continent is sending relatively more athletes than you'd expect based on its participant size, and if it's under 16.7% the continent is sending fewer athletes than you'd expect based on its participant size.
For the elite top-50 women, South America, Oceania, and Europe look really strong, all at well over 16.7%; then as you go deeper into the field, it becomes just about even per region, maybe with Africa a bit weaker. So it may be the case that competitive strength is actually pretty even for the Quarterfinals field sizes of 10-20K, but we seem to see some competitive differences up in the rarefied air of the best in the world — except it's maybe not the continents you would expect!
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.