The 2021 NoBull CrossFit Games: What, When, and How To Watch

The CrossFit Games is an annual competition owned and run by CrossFit. Athletes compete in a series of events, which may be include various standard CrossFit workouts consisting of metabolic conditioning exercises, weightlifting, and gymnastics movements, as well as a range of events from other sports such as swimming and cycling. 

The events typically include unexpected elements to challenge the athletes’ readiness to compete and are designed to test the athletes both physically, and mentally.

For those who watched last year’s games, the ‘Ranch Loop’ event encapsulated this completely, where athletes were sent on a 3 mile trail run, only to be told at the ‘finish line’ that they were only halfway, and had to run back to the start to complete the event.

The CrossFit Games started in 2007 and has been held every year since, usually in the summer. The first competition was held at a ranch in Aromas, California, with small groups of participants and spectators, but the CrossFit Games rapidly grew, and within a few years, the competition was moved to larger venues at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, followed by the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The 2021 CrossFit Games will take place in Madison, from July 27th through to August 1st. The fittest men, women, teams, teenagers and masters who have emerged from the first stages of the Games season will tested, challenged and pushed to their limits for a chance to earn the title of ‘Fittest on Earth’.

So what has the 2021 Season consisted of so far – and what have the qualifying athletes had to do to get to the Games?

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The Open (March 11th – March 29th)

The 2021 seasons kicked off on the 11th March, with the three-week CrossFit Open. The Open consisted of a series of three workouts, released over the course of 3 weeks. Hundreds of thousands of athletes (over a quarter of a million!) registered and took part, with many completing workouts in their own homes and garage-gyms as gyms around the world shut their doors due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Quarterfinals (May 6th – May 9th)

Participants in the Open were separated on a continental basis, with only the top 10% on each continent from the Open qualifying for the Quarterfinals. Qualifying athletes were then required to complete five workouts over a long weekend, in the hopes to earn places at the next stage: The Semis. Competitors were ranked by continents; the top 120 men and women and 80 teams from the quarterfinals in North America qualified for the semifinals, while the top 60 men and women and 40 teams in Europe, and the top 30 men and women and 20 teams from each of the continents of Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania also qualified.

Semifinals (May 27th – June 20th)

Qualifying participants competed in their own regions (continents), but each individual Semifinal was organised independently and responsible for its own programmeming, apart from those held online where all followed the same standardised programmeming (arranged by CrossFit). 

A total of 10 Semifinals were scheduled in 6 continents spread over four weeks starting May 28, 2021, each one taking place over a long weekend. Four semifinals were held in North America, two in Europe, one each in South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Due to the differing national measures and travel restrictions imposed in response to the ongoing pandemic, five semifinals were held online, and five in-person. Five men, five women and five teams qualified from each of the North American and European semifinals, three from Oceania, two from Asia and South America and one from Africa. 

The Finals: The CrossFit Games

This is it: the big one. So we know what it is, and how athletes have found themselves there… now how do we watch it?

The CrossFit Games will be broadcast live all divisions with the exception of coverage conflicts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Live video coverage will be available on the Games homepage as well as on their official YouTube and Twitch channels as well their Facebook page. The Morning Chalk Up also offer a thorough overview of the events and links to coverage – so be sure to check out their page.

What about the CrossFit Games documentary?

As previous years, there will most likely be an awesome feature-film length documentary released following the men’s and women’s events – but you’ll have to be patient! In the meantime, the 2020 CrossFit Games documentary ‘Resurgence’ has just been released, and can currently be streamed exclusively via iTunes – for the ideal warm-up to this year’s games, and the perfect way to get excited for the coming week’s events!

Any familiar faces?

ABSOLUTELY… members, friends and followers of SCFIT will likely already be well aware that coach Helen and her team, AOD Fitness, have qualified for the 2021 CrossFit Games! The team have been out in Dubai for a two week training camp, and have now landed in the US. Simply qualifying is an absolutely incredible achievement, and we’re sure we speak for everyone when we say how excited we are to watch Helen and her Team give the upcoming events their all.

So grab your popcorn, and check out the schedule in advance, and join in on the CrossFit Games excitement this week!


Adele Wayt


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