CrossFit athletes arrive in Madison for last-minute training, COVID testing

MADISON, Wis. — More than 600 athletes are arriving in Madison ahead of the 2021 CrossFit Games.

This year’s last-minute preparations include a lot of training and even more testing.

CrossFit athletes from more than a dozen countries are vying for the grand prize of $310,000 and the title “Fittest on Earth.” But doctors caution the delta strain of COVID could make even the most in-shape athletes very sick.

“We’ve seen plenty of people who are young, healthy athletes end up in the hospital,” said UW Health Dr. Jeff Pothof.

Organizers are not only encouraging vaccination, but requiring all athletes, regardless of vaccination status, follow a series of strict guidelines. International athletes will need to show proof of a negative COVID test one to three days before traveling, and another 3-5 after arriving. Athletes who are not fully-vaccinated will be tested once they arrive in Madison. Any athlete who shows symptoms of COVID will immediately be isolated.

Spectators are a concern, too. The Games typically draw more than 50,000 people to Madison, bringing in $12 million to the local economy. This year, doctors warn crowds come with additional baggage.

“It’s not enough to say, ‘I’m young, I’m healthy, I’m fine,'” Dr. Pothof cautioned. “Some of those young people are being admitted into the hospital and are not making it home.”

Click here for more information on the 2021 CrossFit Games safety protocols, ticket information, & a schedule of events.