Deconstructing the Rule Book for the 2012 CrossFit Games Open

After a month of radio silence I'm back. Over the past week I've been simmering on the Rule Book that was posted for the 2012 CrossFit Games Open. There's a lot of interesting additions for this year's Open like approved clothing and tattoos, and disqualification for unsportsmanlike conduct, but that's not my initial focus at this point in time. I am only going to focus on one section in particular (based on how I am interpreting this Rule Book) and what it means for this year's competitors.

I'm keeping this post confined to just one section as it pertains to the Open, because honestly, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Only a small percentage (of what will probably be a much larger pool of participants compared to last year) will actually make it to Regionals. 

The first few pages of the Rule Book are standard, but the shit hits the fan on page 7. In my opinion, this is the most important and significant part of the Rule Book.

Item 4: What to Expect - Part D, sections iv-vi. 
iv. Some workouts may have time penalties. Failure to complete a workout in the designated time may result in a one second penalty for each repetition not completed and/or cause the Athlete to not advance to the next workout, regardless of overall rank. 
That's interesting. So, if there's a time penalty that would mean that the workout is For Time. Definitely a change from last year. But let's keep reading further, shall we?
v. Some workouts may have a minimum amount of time, repetitions, weight, or rounds required in order to advance. Any such minimums will be announced as part of the Workout Format. Failure to reach a minimum will cause the Athlete to not advance in the competition. 
I read this as everything is on the table. So, we're looking at workouts for time, AMRAPs, and most likely a max effort. With that being said, I also interpret this to mean that there will be time caps on the workouts and if you're not finished within the designated time limit then there will be a penalty, or elimination from the Open. For a max effort workout, that would mean a minimum weight lifted or a heavy designated weight at a minimum number of reps. My guess is that it would be a 1- or 3-rep max lift in a pretty short time frame with a fairly aggressive cut off weight. Or, it would be a heavier AMRAP with a short time limit and minimum number of reps needed to move on in the Open. Something like a 3-minute AMRAP of deadlifts at (315/205) and the athlete must complete at least 10 reps within the time limit to move on.  
vi. If an Athlete does not advance to the next workout for any reason (DNF, injury, disqualification, etc.) they will be ranked below all competitors who started that workout and are not eligible to advance to the next stage of competition.
Ok, now we're getting somewhere. So, you're saying there will be cuts, and that they could be early on in the competition. Interesting. My guess is that we'll see cuts being made around Week 3. Didn't get the workout done within the time cap? Sorry, but the Open is over for you. Sure you can still do the workouts "for fun" but your scores won't count.

If this is in fact a correct interpretation of the Rule Book, I like it. By having cuts and incorporating all elements of possible CrossFit workouts (For Time, AMRAP, Max Effort), it does a better job of weeding out the weaker competitors and sandbaggers. This won't effect the individual competitors as much as it will the affiliate teams trying to qualify for Regionals.

For individuals, this year's competition is looking for a more well-rounded athlete. Last year's AMRAPs were great (and easy for scoring purposes) but it's not a complete picture of fitness.

From a team perspective, I think a lot of teams qualified for Regionals last year because they had the entire box register and had certain individuals crush particular workouts that played to that person's strengths. This is what I mean when I say "sandbaggers". Bring out the beefcakes for the 165 lb squat clean to overhead to boost your team up in the rankings, and let the little body weight ninjas handle the other workouts. I'm guessing a good number of teams that went to Regionals weren't necessarily the powerhouses they appeared to be. All of that gets sorted out in the wash, but the fact is that some teams got an opportunity to compete that they may not have deserved because the team they sent wasn't necessarily the team that qualified.

So here is what I'm foreseeing for this year's Open: more skill-based movements, heavier weights than last year, aggressive time caps (whenever they are enacted - probably Week 2 or 3), and a max effort lift around Week 4 (to avoid skewed results from the sandbaggers eliminated in Week 3).

What do you think will be thrown at us this year? Post your thoughts to the comments.

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