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The Open Report: Week 5 — Qualifying for Quarterfinals

By Presser
February 21, 2024
8 min read

Editor’s note: “The Open Report” is a multi-part series written by Mike Halpin, which breaks down the current CrossFit Open registration numbers and examines where they stand in historical contexts. You can read the previous installments here.

For most of us, the CrossFit Open is the beginning, middle, and end of our CrossFit competition season. 

Outside of a local comp, it’s a worldwide annual check-up to see what our fitness looks like, possibly see how our New Year’s resolutions are paying off, or what we need to work on from March to February to prepare for next season.

For the top 10%, the fun doesn’t have to end after three weeks — you can go on to Quarterfinals

Wait, it’s 25%?!

 Let’s dig into that a bit more.

[Related: Explaining the New CrossFit Worldwide Ranking System]

A Quarter of the Field

From 2011-2020, the Open consisted of five to six workouts over five to six weeks (only the first year, 2011, had six weeks). From 2011-2018, the Open qualified athletes into a live competition, Regionals or Super Regionals, and then on to the CrossFit Games

For the sake of clarity, we are going to ignore the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Starting in 2021, CrossFit removed the final two weeks from the Open and added online competition for the top 10% of the Open called Quarterfinals (QF). 

The online QF qualified athletes for a live competition, Semifinals, and on to the Games.

  • In basic terms, the season isn’t that much different from one system to the other (if we leave out the “asterisk years” of 2019 and 2020). 

CrossFit took the five-week Open from 2012-2020 and changed that to a three-week Open and a one-week Quarterfinals, limiting Quarterfinals to only the top 10%.

  • 2012-2020: Online Open (five weeks) →  In-Person Regionals →  Games
  • 2021-present: Online Open (three weeks) →  Online Quarterfinals (one week) →  In-Person Semifinals → Games

For the “bring back Regionals!” commenters online: I see you. Regionals still exist; they are called Semifinals. There are only seven of them rather than 17, and they are after the online portion of the season finds the top 40 of each region.

Now, in 2024, the Games team is expanding Quarterfinals to be a quarter of the field, as Dave Castro said in his “11/13/23 Week In Review.”

  • Castro explained that “widening the gate for Quarterfinals is really about more opportunity for athletes to compete that want extra testing and extra events” and that as the Games team reviewed what percentage to add — 15%? 20%? — they landed with “Quarter-finals; why not just open it to 25%?”

[Related: I Trained at CrossFit Mayhem for 4 Days. Here’s What I Learned]

So, How Many Is 25%?

If you read to the bottom of “The Open Report” each week (first off, thank you!) you may have seen this chart:

2024 Open Division – Registration by Region and Division, then 10% cut and 25% cut

MEN

WOMEN

As of this week, 42,550 athletes across their divisions will qualify for Quarterfinals. That’s over 25,000 additional athletes compared to the 10% cut line.

The reason I can tell you the qualifying number right now is that CrossFit bases both the qualifying percentage and percentiles on Open Registration numbers, not on Open Participation numbers. 

Here’s the difference:

Open Registration vs Participation

MEN

WOMEN

Participation, in this case, means the athlete completed at minimum one workout.

This is an important distinction about CrossFit’s percentile numbers. There is a lot of dead weight.  

  • “Lucky #7”: Just registering, not even completing a single workout, would put you at the 7th percentile in the men’s division worldwide of CrossFit Open in 2023. The assumption many use when constructing Open percentiles would be that not competing equals 0-1 percentile. 

If CrossFit based Quarterfinal qualification on participation it would push the score an athlete would need to qualify higher and would mean that fewer make it through to the next round.

Additionally, as Castro mentioned above, competing in Quarterfinals is a choice, and while athletes may have made the top 10% from 2021-2023, that doesn’t mean they registered for the next stage. 

2023 Qualified vs Registered for Quarterfinals

MEN

WOMEN

Applying the average 46% conversion rate across men and women, CrossFit’s move from 10% to 25% could mean around $800,000 for CrossFit HQ at $50 a pop. That’s an increase of more than $130,000 from what they would have generated from Individual Quarterfinals in 2023.

What does it take to qualify?  

You might hear some people mention that you could now qualify without getting one muscle-up. It’s funny because it’s true; you actually may need far less than that. I won’t break down all the details; I’ll leave that to my friends at the Beyond the Whiteboard app, who I’m sure will be pinpointing reps and times for the Open soon after the workouts are released. But here is an interesting fact — You may not need to do all the Rx workouts! Here are some numbers.

2023 OPEN ATHLETES IN TOP 25% – SCALING OR 0 SCORE WORKOUT (MEN)

2023 OPEN ATHLETES IN TOP 25% – SCALING OR 0 SCORE WORKOUT (WOMEN)

In all, 316 men and 251 women would have qualified for 2023 QF by either not completing one of the four workouts at all or by doing one of them Scaled (not the Rx version of the workout) if 2023 was at 25%. The vast majority of those numbers are zero-score workout submissions. 

The athletes who could spare a workout earned that flexibility by being far above average in at least one of the other three scores. Note, using the previous 10% cutline, all divisions and regions go to zero athletes qualifying for QF with a zero score or a Scaled score.

Here is an example from Mayhem coach and 2017 Games athlete, Darren Hunsucker:

Athlete Name: Darren Hunsucker

23.1 Rank: 3033th

23.1 Score: 216 reps

23.1 Score Detail: One round + 16-calorie row Tiebreak: 9:05

23.2A Rank: 1606th

23.2A Score: 161 reps

23.2A Score Detail: Five rounds + 30 burpee pull-ups and six shuttle runs

23.2B Rank: 12,017th

23.2B Score: 240 pounds

23.3 RANK: 134,389th

23.3 Score: 0 reps / 0:00

Region Rank: 8,242th

Ranking: 19.1%

The Bottom Line

While it may feel like “everyone and their mom” will qualify at 25%, it is still a high bar for most. 

That’s math. That’s what makes it the Top 25%. It means that 75% couldn’t, didn’t, and won’t.  

With CrossFit’s use of “registration” vs “participation” for determining percentiles, just doing the workouts (as prescribed) can be half the battle, but it’s still an achievement to be proud of. As Castro puts it, it’s a chance to see what you can do in a later stage of competition vs the “one-and-done” Open. 

If you qualify in the top 25%, will you compete? I suggest yes. 

Especially if you are in a smaller region or division. CrossFit has stated a few times and in a few ways that registration numbers are a key identifier for sizing up newer divisions and the money they put behind them.

On the Masters in Motion podcast, Bob Jennings, co-founder of Legends Championship, which is hosting the Masters CrossFit Games, said, “We are receiving money from CrossFit HQ that is tied to participation in Quarterfinals and [Online Age Group] Semifinals.”

[Related: The CrossFit Masters Games by Legends Brings New Opportunities for Athletes and Brands]

Every number has a name, a story, a goal and every number counts. Here are the ones I’ve counted so far…

Week 4 of Open Registration Tracking

First, here are the dates and info for the 2024 Open:

  • Registration started on January 9 at noon PT
  • Open Workout 24.1 starts on February 29 at noon PT
  • Open Workout 24.3 ends on March 18 at 5 p.m. PT

That gives us a window of 52 total days for registration before the first workout plus 19 days between workouts 24.1 and 24.3. Here’s what the numbers look like from 2011 through 2023.

Credit: Morning Chalk Up

(Editor’s Note: All data below this point for the 2024 CrossFit Open was pulled from the CrossFit leaderboard on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 a.m. EST.)

We are now 44 days into the registration window and it’s seven days until the Open begins as of February 21, 2024. Here’s what the data looks like so far:

The current 2024 registration total is growing at an average rate of around 3,866 each day after the initial day-one total of 20,982. Compared to previous years:

Past 7-Day Comparison Year-Over-Year

Note: The 2023 Open registration started on November 17, 2022, with an incentive from NOBULL to register before December 31. In 2022, Open registration started on January 13, similar to 2024. In 2023, the Open started on February 16.

You can check out my Instagram (@known_knowable) for daily check-ins. And as a bonus, here is some additional data I’ve been tracking, along with a few suggestions from readers and commentators on Instagram.

Top 15 Countries by Athlete Nationality

Total Affiliate Count 2018-2024

*Note: For these two years, the count of registrations for each affiliate is blank, so it’s not possible to see if affiliates may have been listed with zero registrations, which does show up on ‘22-’24.

Top 10 Affiliates Registered for 2024

*Note: SuperForce CrossFit appears to be a 16-location franchise across different areas of Brazil.  It appears that they are submitting all registrations under a single affiliate on the leaderboard. 

Top 10 Ages of Registered Athletes

Registrations by Age Group Divisions

Featured image: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

The post The Open Report: Week 5 — Qualifying for Quarterfinals appeared first on BarBend.

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