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Should CrossFit be an Olympic Sport?

Many say it’s the greatest sporting event on earth and it’s certainly one of the oldest: the Olympic Games began life around 3000 years ago, with the first modern Olympics taking place in Athens 1896. That one featured 43 events whilst Rio’s 2016 extravaganza included 28 sports and another five scheduled to be added to Tokyo in 2020. So if Rugby 7s and Golf have made it in this year, with whispers about baseball, softball, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing all becoming Olympians in 2020, the question remains: could CrossFit ever make the cut? If so, how? And if not, why not? Is CrossFit a workout system or a sport? And does it matter that different people think differently about the answer to this question? We asked around amongst CrossFitters and others sports fans or competitors and came up with the following list of questions / discussion points. 

 Does age and social standing matter?

How does a sport earn its place in the Olympic Games? Some suggest it is a question of how long it’s been around and how deep into the social consciousness it runs. Triathlon, however, became an Olympian in 2000, just 27 years since the first recorded triathlon (an Ironman in fact) back in California in 1973. And if it’s a question of how renowned that sport is, then why on earth is that rather idiosyncratic event ‘team pursuit cycling’ in there (to name but one example)? There are plenty of sports which don’t loom large in social consciousness but have made it into the Olympics. What’s more, CrossFit is a global sport and it’s growing at an exponential rate - spectators from all over the world could enjoy watching it in the Olympics.  

 Olympic sport needs to be standardised, doesn’t it?

We think this is a fairly strong argument for not including CrossFit in the Olympic Games. If competitive CrossFit remains as randomised as it has ever been, then can it ever be a fair race for sports men and women whose bodies lend themselves to certain exercises? Our favourite ‘sport of fitness’ has always been about being ‘ready’ to compete over broad domains - essentially it’s a sport involving plenty of other sports - and yet in order to fit into an Olympic mould it would surely require streamlining. This might be in the form of bodyweight categories as well as pre-determined WODs. Other multi discipline sports such as Decathlon and Triathlon have clearly defined events - in fact every other Olympic sport has a defined time or distance format. Wouldn’t it be diluting CrossFit’s innate nature to do this? What’s more, wouldn’t those athletes hoping to be Olympians begin to train specifically for those events. Then the question might arise: what’s more important, the Olympic Games or the CrossFit Games? An athlete may win one WOD, but if he or she didn’t win 'the Olympic WODs’, he/she could be branded 'less of an athlete’. This kind of attitude might create serious rifts within the CrossFit community or perhaps a total split: are you a CrossFitter, or an Olympic CrossFitter?



 CrossFit is unique. How would the selection process work?

You’d need local, national and international selection processes in order to whittle down which CrossFit athletes would go and compete in CrossFit at the Olympics were it ever to make it there. How would that work logistically? If CrossFit boxes are primarily for those who do not wish to compete seriously, but who merely love to train for fitness, physique and strength - where are the trials held and what are the entry criteria? One other major point to make is that at the moment CrossFit has its own Games and drug testing. What impact might an international federation (to moderate and monitor the sport) alongside regular, enforced drug testing have on CrossFit and its international reputation?


We hope that gets the old braincells firing and provokes some interesting discussion down at your CrossFit box! 

Tagged with: Crossfit olympics

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