CrossFit Games

The Brooke Wells 18.4 Controversy and Why it Matters

April 17, 2018 by
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As a part of the video verification process, Brooke Wells submitted her video of 18.4 to CrossFit HQ. This is a requirement for all Regionals qualifiers before they can receive an invitation to Regionals.

Why do they do this?

According to the CrossFit Games rulebook:

“At the end of the Open, the top athletes in each of the 18 Open regions will be required to submit a complete video of one or more of the Open workouts…The submitted video(s) must demonstrate the athlete has the work capacity required to achieve their original posted Open score(s).”

So what’s the issue?

Brooke Wells’ 18.4 video, which was posted publicly to YouTube before being removed, caused quite a stir on Reddit mainly because of the poor angle and distance it was filmed from and what appeared to be some obvious no reps.

In responding to these comments on Reddit, CrossFit HQ admitted that Wells missed some reps but also wasn’t going to adjust her score to reflect the no reps:

“The video is shot at a poor angle, which makes review difficult. There do appear to be HSPU reps that miss the line. In rare, egregious cases, score adjustments based on quality of movements or massively miscounted reps can be made. It was determined that this video did not represent one of those cases.” — CrossFit HQ on Reddit

Over the next few days, more than 450 mostly negative comments were posted across three different threads (Thread 1Thread 2, and Thread 3) discussing HQ’s decision not to adjust the score.

Why it matters?

We reviewed the video before it was taken down and in all fairness it did not appear to meet the “egregious” case standard outlined. And even if HQ shaved off a few seconds due to some no reps it wouldn’t have affected the leaderboard.

But here’s why it matters. By CrossFit’s own admission, the video submission is for verifying an athlete’s capacity and not doing a rep-by-rep review to validate a judge’s score. But then they publicly acknowledged the no reps and chose to count them anyways, and they’re the governing agency responsible for upholding the integrity of this sport.

It’s worth noting too that for those arguing that it’s just cause it’s Brooke Wells, CrossFit HQ has a track record of penalizing popular athletes. Back in 2016, they issued a 15% penalty on Josh Bridges’ 16.4 score and completely invalidated Dani Sidell’s 13.2 score for not upholding the standard on box jumps.

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