What's New in the 2021 CrossFit Games Rulebook?

January 13, 2021


The 2021 CrossFit Games season Rulebook, Drug Testing Program, and Adaptive Athlete Policy have now been released.

The 2021 CrossFit Games season Rulebook, Drug Testing Program, and Adaptive Athlete Policy have now been released, so it’s time to learn the rules of this year’s CrossFit competition.

Whether you're competing in the Open for fun or hoping to advance to the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, or the Games, these documents provide all the information you need.

As you read the Rulebook, you’ll notice the word “new” highlighted in red to note sections that have been newly created or updated for 2021. We’ve further identified some of the noteworthy changes that have been released below. Please note: There will be additional information released and added to the rulebook as the season progresses. 

We recommend you review the Rulebook thoroughly if you plan to participate in the 2021 season. Registration for the CrossFit Open is live now at games.crossfit.com.

Log in and sign up for the Open now.

Scaled, Foundations, and Equipment-Free Options

In addition to prescribed Open events, there will also be scaled and foundations versions of events. Athletes who are unable to perform an event as prescribed may choose to perform the scaled or foundations event instead. 

For the first time, the Open is also offering an equipment-free option for athletes who cannot access their local gym or prefer to work out from home but lack the necessary equipment. Athletes may finish the Open with any combination of foundations, scaled, prescribed, or equipment-free events contributing to their score on the CrossFit Games Leaderboard.

Advancement is determined by placement on the overall CrossFit Games Leaderboard, where prescribed event scores are ranked highest, then scaled scores, foundation scores, and equipment-free scores, in descending order. Athletes who perform equipment-free versions of the Open events are not eligible to advance to the Quarterfinals. 

Athletes are eligible to advance to the Age-Group Online Qualifier, even if they choose to perform the scaled version of one or more Open events. 

Masters, Teenage, Team, and Adaptive Divisions

In 2021, there are 34 total divisions for individual competitors — including the new adaptive divisions — and one division for teams:

  • Men and Women  
  • Boys and Girls 14-15 (Born on or between 07/15/2005 and 7/14/2007)
  • Boys and Girls 16-17 (Born on or between 07/15/2003 and 07/14/2005)
  • Men and Women 35-39 (Born on or between 07/15/81 and 07/14/86) 
  • Men and Women 40-44 (Born on or between 07/15/76 and 07/14/81)
  • Men and Women 45-49 (Born on or between 07/15/71 and 07/14/76)
  • Men and Women 50-54 (Born on or between 07/15/66 and 07/14/71)
  • Men and Women 55-59 (Born on or between 07/15/61 and 07/14/66)
  • Men and Women 60+ (Born on or before 07/14/61)
  • 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
  • Affiliate Cup Team

Affiliate Cup Teams

Returning to the 2021 Open is the Affiliate Cup team competition, and any CrossFit affiliate in good standing with CrossFit, LLC will have the ability to register a team to compete. Teams will consist of at least two men and two women who validly register for the Open and train primarily at the same CrossFit affiliate starting no later than Jan. 1 of the current competition season. 

In addition to being active members of the team’s CrossFit affiliate, team athletes all must live within 100 miles of the CrossFit affiliate they are representing. 

Continent-Based Competition 

For the first time, athletes will advance from the Open into regional events determined by continent. This will guarantee that every continent will send at least one competitor to the CrossFit Games.

During the registration process, athletes will provide information to establish their competitive continent for the Open. All athlete profiles (individual athletes and those who plan to join a team) will display citizenship details throughout the duration of the Open.  

Requirements used to determine an Each individual athlete’s competitive continent are based on their citizenship at the close of the first Open event. Once the first Open event has closed, athletes will no longer be able to edit their citizenship. For the vast majority of individual athletes, their country and continent will coincide with where they live, work, and train on a daily basis. 

Continent assignment for teams competing in the Affiliate Cup will be based on the physical location of the affiliate rather than athlete citizenship. For example, Marco Rossi lives in the United States and trains at CrossFit White Rock. Though his citizenship is Italian, he may still compete on Team CrossFit White Rock.

For the purpose of competition, CrossFit, LLC recognizes the following continental boundaries:

North America
South America

Please review the list of specific countries and territories to determine the continent in which each athlete will compete, as some national territories are outside the geographic regions delineated in the map.

Continent Map

The Quarterfinals

The 2021 Open will allow more athletes to advance to the next round of competition than any Open in history, with the top 10 percent of individual competitors and 25 percent of teams per continent (if the continent has at least 50 teams) advancing to a new online Quarterfinals. Advancement will be based on which athletes and teams are ranked highest on their continental leaderboards. 

Athletes who qualify for the Quarterfinals will compete in a series of events in their local gyms over the course of one weekend, Thursday through Monday. Individual Quarterfinal athletes and teams will compete to advance to one of ten in-person Semifinals hosted by CrossFit partners across six continents.

Age-Group Online Qualifier

Based on Open finish rank, the top 10 percent of age-group athletes worldwide in each age division will qualify to compete in the Age-Group Online Qualifier. Like in the Open, in this competition, age-group athletes will submit scores and/or videos for additional events.

Cash Prizes for the Open

A cash prize of US$2,021.00 will be awarded each week for the top score by an individual man and individual woman worldwide. In order to claim this prize, athletes must submit a video of the event to CrossFit, LLC before the announced deadline, even if the event was completed at an affiliate with a registered judge. 

In addition to weekly winners, at the conclusion of the Open, cash prizes will be awarded to the top individual men and individual women on the worldwide leaderboard. All cash prizes will be paid in U.S. dollars.

  • Top Overall Worldwide Finish - Individual Athletes (Men and Women)
    • First Place: $15,000
    • Second Place: $10,000 
    • Third Place: $7,500 
    • Fourth Place: $6,000
    • Fifth Place: $5,000

Adaptive Athlete Policy

The Adaptive Athlete Policy, which details the rules of competition for anyone competing in one of the 16 new adaptive athlete divisions, can be found here

Stay tuned to Games.CrossFit.com for additional information about the 2021 CrossFit Games Season as more details are released. 

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Season Details