Individual Quarterfinals Plagued by Over 3,000 Scoring Adjustments and Penalties

If you have been watching the individual Quarterfinals leaderboard closing you might have been wondering if you were seeing things correctly as athletes have been shuffling up and down the leaderboard for the past four days. Unfortunately, you were. The Individual Quarterfinal leaderboard has seen a staggering number of scoring adjustments and penalties that is overshadowing the event itself.

Before we get into the numbers, I want to thank Mike Halpin, @known_knowable, and Adam Nash for digging through the leaderboard and providing the data for this article.

As of Thursday afternoon, CrossFit has handed out almost 3,300 penalties (3,298 to be exact) since the close of Workout 5 on Sunday afternoon. This number does not count penalties handed out before Sunday, nor does it include penalties that were ultimately reversed. With approximately 64,000 workout submissions, over 5% of all workouts have received a penalty thus far…and CrossFit has until March 27 to finalize the leaderboard.

Of those 3,298 penalties, 865 have been major penalties (defined a score adjusted by 14% or more, but does not include zeroed out score). 

Here is a breakdown of the penalties handed out by region and test:


  Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Major
NA East 43 51 46 148 119 157
NA West 27 32 25 109 98 109
Europe 24 112 82 223 195 215
Oceania 20 9 9 34 19 51
Asia 26 20 14 56 28 77
South America 26 11 14 45 29 57
Africa 19 10 8 25 13 26
Total 185 245 198 640 501 692

The men have received 1,769 total penalties with 692 being a “major” penalty. Test 4, the Row/GHD/V-up workout, has received the most penalties while the Europe region has accumulated the most of any other region, 636.


  Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Major
NA East 21 108 27 101 65 65
NA West 20 104 23 93 54 29
Europe 16 178 39 142 88 45
Oceania 19 31 15 37 22 21
Asia 18 51 13 44 17 2
South America 13 38 10 41 22 6
Africa 13 14 5 18 9 5
Total 120 524 132 476 277 173

On the women’s side, there have been 1,529 penalties handed out, with 173 being major. The European region also had the most penalties, 463, but Test 2, the Crossover/DB Snatch/Lunge workout, has been where most women have been penalized.

The sheer volume of the penalties calls into question whether the Quarterfinals format is working. From unclear movement standards, new movements (crossovers, wall-facing handstand push-ups and V-up) and trying to judge video submissions has created a situation where over 5% of all videos (not just the ones reviewed) have received a scoring adjustment.

But beyond the numbers, we have seen numerous examples of penalties being handed out only to be reversed with the athlete receiving a smaller penalty or no penalty at all.

Sam Kwant received a major 15% penalty over the weekend for his V-ups. Kwant appealed the decision and the penalty was reversed due to Kwant’s “intent” of meeting the movement standard for the V-ups. Kwant was not the only one. Several others, including Katelin Van Zyl and Alex Vigneault, have successfully appealed a penalty and have had their score restored.

So far, 28 men and 19 women in the Top 300 of the Worldwide rankings have received a major penalty. Some athletes have even received multiple scoring adjustments.

Here’s the list of notable athletes who have received a penalty during the video review process:

Men Women
Dallin Pepper Laura Horvath
Noah Ohlsen Gabi Migala
Spencer Panchik Danielle Brandon
Nick Mathew Rebecca Fuselier
Cole Sager Sydney Wells
Scott Tetlow Dani Speegle
James Sprague Lauren Fisher
Will Moorad Baylee Rayl
Sam Kwant Ellie Turner
Tudor Magda Freya Moosbrugger
Alec Smith Sydney Michalyshen
Jack Farlow Sasha Nievas

Some of these penalties were very minor and as small as a single rep. However, it illustrates that some of the biggest names in the sport with most experience and large support teams are still getting hit with penalties.

We don’t know how far down the leaderboard CrossFit is going to review the videos, but we know it’s not all of them. But if only a fraction of the total submissions are actually reviewed and we have over 3,000 scoring adjustments/penalties, how accurate is the leaderboard in total?

Of course, the goal of the Quarterfinals is to find the top 30 or 60 men and women in each region to advance to the next state of the competition, Semifinals. And I would argue that once the dust settles the right athletes will make it to Semifinals…there will be a few exceptions, but in general, the fittest in each region will move on.

However, watching the review process unfold and seeing athletes move up and down the leaderboard, it leaves me wondering if this is good for the sport or could there be a better way…

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