How to Stop Cheaters in the Crossfit Games Open

This 2013 Crossfit Games Open qualifier season has brought a new phenomenon: The 5pm last minute rush to post scores to the Games site (games.crossfit.com).

Why?  Competitors and gyms are making the only sensible move when they’re faced with cheating.  If you have a team in 31st place, many gym owners would easily add a couple of reps to put their team over the top and go to the next level.  It’s sad, but true.

The current Games Open system can be easily changed to make cheating more difficult, if not impossible.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Require video submissions of every workout for competitors who go on to Regionals or directly to Games.  This is not hard to carry out as the Games site already has video submission feature.  It’s not too burdensome on the athletes either as most of them videotape their every move anyway.  However, I think we need to evolve the video standards: specify how the videos are to be shot in detail.  Require adequate lighting and quality.  Specify the angle and distance from where the video camera should sit and its distance from the athlete.  With these little changes, it becomes virtually impossible to cheat in the slightest.

  2. Make the movement standards easier to judge.  A great example is the box jump hullabaloo with several videos from workout 13.2.  Instead of “locking out” on the box, make it a jump over the box movement.  Or, require folks to jump while on the box to jump to a target 6″ overhead.  It’s been done already with push-ups by including a hand-release standard in competitions.

Crossfit has become a big business so cheating is not surprising.  For an affiliate, the difference between sending an athlete or a team to Regionals can mean big dollars.  Good news is that the cheating is super-easy to remedy for 2014. In the meantime, we’ll all look forward to seeing how Regionals shakes out when some of the more questionable qualifiers will be performing live.*
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Note: The video section of this post was expanded based upon some ideas I read on reddit.  Thanks, peoples. — MG

Michael Girdley