With 24 days remaining before the 2013 CrossFit Games Open kicks off on March 6, CrossFit HQ announced on its Facebook page that over 40,000 athletes from around the world have already registered for the competition.
There is little doubt that the 2013 season will attract the most participants in the history of the CrossFit Games. It remains to be seen if 2013 will be able to double the number of registered participants, as the Open did between 2011 and 2012.
Athletes from nearly 3,000 affiliates were represented in the Open last year, with over 1,600 teams registered. Seeing how many affiliates are represented during this year's Open will be an interesting lens into CrossFit's ability to sustain its remarkable growth.
Before placing bets against the Open possibly topping the 100,000 participants mark, keep in mind that CrossFit's growth has been unparalleled, even in a challenging economy.
Affiliate gym growth went from from 49 worldwide in 2001, to roughly 500 in 2008, finally ballooning to its current size of 2,800 [in 2011], according to a CrossFit spokesman.
In addition to its ten year, exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok, "a cottage industry of CrossFit-focused businesses, from premium jump rope manufactures to apparel, have thrived throughout the recession, with at least one multi-million business, Again Faster, growing revenue at over 1,400% in three years."
With over three weeks remaining before the official start of the 2013 CrossFit Games season, the viral growth trajectory of the high-intensity, functional fitness program will be heat-checked once again.
Will Men's and Women's repeat champions Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir still remain on top amongst a rapidly growing pool of competitors? With more exposure on television shows like "The Biggest Loser" and personalities like Miss America Mallory Hagan choosing CrossFit as their training method, it's all but guaranteed that this will be the biggest year ever for the CrossFit Games.