Industry Leaders, Former HQ Employees, Athletes Applaud Change Codified by Deal Signing
The news Friday that the deal to transfer 100% ownership of CrossFit, Inc. from its founder Greg Glassman to Eric Roza had been finalized was met with resounding applause and support across the CrossFit community.
Why it matters: While last month’s announcement of an impending sale quelled the mass exodus from the sport and community, Friday’s signing seems to have reversed the trend, potentially bringing many back into the fold. While there are still dozens of brands that dropped their association with CrossFit and sponsorship of the CrossFit Games, there appears to be a willingness to reconsider according to multiple conversations with company leaders.
A quick look at some of the changes since Glassman’s departure:
- The establishment of the Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association (PFAA), a non-profit association that exists to represent the professional athletes of the sport of fitness.
- The appointment of five CrossFit Affiliate representatives as part of a new initiative to foster more communication between CrossFit HQ and their affiliates. These five regional officers represent Southern California, Northern California, Texas and Florida with plans to add more throughout the United States.
- CrossFit announced and held its first Level 1 scholarship program to bring underserved communities the knowledge and education to further their fitness journeys.
- Dave Castro began a once a week email to CrossFit Affiliate owners with updates, information on operating during COVID-19 and some athlete stories.
What they’re saying:
- Patrick Vellner: “I think it’s a great sign of things to come. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Eric on a few occasions and always left feeling very optimistic. He’s a man with a lot of experience running a large business. A man who takes feedback, who’s not afraid to admit when he doesn’t know something and who’s willing to work his tail to make things better. He’s the right man for the job.”
- Dani Speegle: “I haven’t been around the competitive space long at all — but it didn’t take long to see the deficits and problems with the leadership of this sport. I didn’t have to be around for 10 years to catch on and that’s a problem. A big problem. I’m excited to see this change. I’m not naive to the fact that CrossFit wouldn’t be where it is today without its old leadership. But it’s been a long time coming that a major shift has needed to happen, that more people needed a voice — not just one man. The community, the affiliates, the training staff, and the athletes have a voice now. We’re moving forward. Obviously it’s still far from perfect — but progress is progress. And any type of FORWARD progress is good. I have extremely high hopes for our new CEO and the changes he will make and the changes he will support others in making.”
- Brent Fikowski: “Myself and others made the decision to pull out from CrossFit and the Games hoping it might trigger some positive change within the brand. With the signing of the contract yesterday the change I wanted to see has happened, so I will be competing at the 2020 CrossFit Games. I will continue to use my situation the best I am able to foster positive change in the sport I love.”
- Matt O’Keefe, President of Loud & Live Sports: “I couldn’t be more excited. Getting to spend some time with Eric over the last few weeks, meeting his team and considering his resume, we are extremely lucky that he is going to be stewarding this moving forward. Eric is a first-class guy and businessman. We are all excited to help him and his team take this to the next level.”
- Roger Gillros, director of Norwegian CrossFit Championship: “We are super happy and excited with Eric as the new CEO for CF. We have full confidence on Eric and his team.”
- Alexis Leblanc-Bazinet, director of Atlas Games: “I believe and hope Roza will change what needs to be changed. A lot is happening behind closed doors and few are aware that Roza seems to be opening all those doors. Time will tell, but the 2021 season starts soon. We need to build it as soon as possible for the athletes and the community.”
- Sean Woodland: “Eric Roza taking over is a best-case-scenario for the community and the sport. I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of CrossFit.”
- Chase Ingraham: “I’ve been optimistic yet very reserved ever since Eric was announced he would be taking ownership of CrossFit. Now it is official, I can say I’m very excited and eager about the future of CrossFit and our CrossFit Community. Every single thing Eric has said publicly and done seems like all the right things. I’m hopeful that these are steps to effective and permanent changes for the better.”