Why I Loved the 2024 Open

Looking back at the 2024 CrossFit Open, it’s hard not to feel a sense of admiration for the changes that were made. From the get-go, it was evident that this year’s programming was different, and dare I say, refreshingly so. Let’s dive into why this Open stands out in my mind as one of the best in recent memory.

When the announcement came that the qualification criteria had shifted from the top 10% to the top 25%, it was a game-changer. Due to that change it became clear that those programming the Open were going into it with a different mindset. The Open would be programmed to be more accessible and more inviting to athletes of all levels, with the Quarterfinals reserved for testing the “sport” of CrossFit. The decision to dial back on high-skill movements and technical challenges was a stroke of genius. It removed barriers and welcomed newcomers with open arms, fostering an environment where everyone could participate and thrive.

As a gym owner, the logistical ease of running this year’s Open was a breath of fresh air. With less complexity in the workouts, setting up and managing the event became a smoother process. It was a win-win situation – coaches could focus more on fostering community and less on navigating intricate setups. The mantra of “Open is for Everybody” rang truer than ever, reinforcing the idea that CrossFit can be a fun and rewarding methodology for the broad majority of people.

One of the most striking aspects of the 2024 Open was its return to the basics of fitness. The programming leaned heavily into challenging the foundational elements of athleticism, focusing on metabolic conditioning, gymnastic skill, and weightlifting at manageable weights. It was a nod to the Theoretical Hierarchy of Development, reminding us that a solid base is the key to reaching new heights in our fitness journey. This recalibration felt like a breath of fresh air, a reminder of what CrossFit is truly about.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – the fear that toning down skill, heavier lifting, and the like would dilute the competitive spirit of the Open. Let me tell you, that fear was unfounded. Despite the scaled-back approach, the test of fitness remained as rigorous as ever. The top athletes still rose to the occasion, proving their mettle and earning their spot in the quarterfinals. And yet, amidst the sweat and the struggle, there was a palpable sense of inclusion, a recognition that the Open is a challenge for all, not just the elite few.

As we reflect on the 2024 CrossFit Open, one thing is abundantly clear – it was a game-changer. From its more inclusive approach to its back-to-basics programming, this year’s Open left an indelible mark on the CrossFit community. It reminded us of the power of simplicity, the importance of accessibility, and the unifying force of competition. So here’s to the 2024 Open – a testament to what happens when we dare to challenge the status quo and embrace change for the better.