Police Ban Cedric Lapointe From Training in Gym on Grounds that CrossFit Isn’t a Registered Sport
On January 31, as Cedric Lapointe was training alone at CrossFit 819, a nearly 9000 square foot gym in Gatineau, Quebec, three police cars showed up, and six policemen stormed the gym.
- “They kept me for nearly an hour outside in shorts and a sweaty bandana in minus twenty degrees,” said Lapointe, who was 25th in the 2020 CrossFit Games Open and qualified to the 2020 Games until the pandemic jostled the qualification process.
The big picture: Only professional athletes, or the owner of a gym, are allowed to train in Quebec right now. Lapointe, whose gym has been closed since the first wave of the pandemic last spring, is the manager of CrossFit 819, thus disqualifying him from being allowed to workout.
- Lapointe showed the police that he’s a member of the PFAA (Professional Fitness Athlete Association), and produced a copy of a letter written by CrossFit LLC explaining he’s a professional athlete.
- Because CrossFit isn’t registered as an official sport in Canada, Lapointe doesn’t qualify for a professional athlete exemption.
- “Basically I knew that if the police ever came, I’d have to show them proof that I’m a professional athlete. (CrossFit) HQ was really good and they wrote me a letter (two months ago) within 24 hours of asking them…but the police said it just wasn’t enough,” Lapointe said
One big thing: On February 3, CrossFit corporate drafted a letter in response to Lapointe’s questioning offering factual information backing up his professional athlete claims.
- “In 2018 and 2020, Cédric qualified for the world championship, Reebok CrossFit Games, the final stage of the CrossFit Games season.”
- “His accomplishments have garnered him attention on the international stage as a top, professional CrossFit Games athlete. He is currently a member of the Professional Fitness Athlete Association (PFAA).”
- “The CrossFit Games are a global event, now in their 15th year. The competition has received recognition throughout the sports industry and has been televised on CBS Sports and ESPN, streamed on Facebook Live, and nominated for several SportsTravel Awards, winning the award for Best Professional Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event.
CrossFit, weighing in, said: “We know gyms keep people healthy and strengthen immune systems, and study after study has shown that the risk of transmission in gyms taking appropriate precautions is extremely low. That’s why it’s critical to safely open Quebec’s gyms as soon as possible, not only for world-class athletes but the millions of other people trying to lose weight, maintain their mental health, and stay in shape.”
It’s worth noting: Lapointe was the only person inside the nearly 9,000 square foot gym at the time the police arrived.
The details: After pulling him out of the gym, the police asked Lapointe to confirm his identity, but his girlfriend had taken off to the grocery store with his wallet, so he didn’t have his identification on him.
- “They treated me like I was an actual criminal. They wouldn’t even let me go back into the gym (to put more clothes on), and they asked me a ton of questions. Things like how many speeding tickets I have,” he said.
- Police then told him if they catch him again, he will be hit with a fine between $1,500 and $6,000. “And they told me that they were going to come to the gym everyday and knock on the door and look for my car…And then yesterday, when I was at the pharmacy that’s right by the gym, the police were parked at the gym,” he added.
- We reached out to Gatineau City Police Department for comment and left a message. At the time of publishing, we hadn’t received a response.
What this all means now: For the time being, Lapointe is training at a friend’s garage gym in Gatineau, but it’s not ideal for his performance, he explained, and he’s weighing his options to decide his next course of action.
- One option is for Lapointe to buy one percent of CrossFit 819, but this will involve lawyers and take time and money, he explained.
- He is also considering trying to get Quebec to recognize CrossFit as an official sport; however, this, too, “is complicated and takes a long time,” Lapointe said.
- A third option is a move to either western Canada, where gyms are open, or to head to Training Think Tank in Alpharetta, Ga. for six months, but this means leaving his girlfriend for half a year.
In conclusion: There’s no ideal situation for Lapointe right now, but if he wants to qualify to the CrossFit Games this year, he’s going to have to figure something out, because “there’s no conversation happening” with law enforcement right now, and gyms in Quebec don’t look like they’ll open any time soon.
- “There’s a list of essential things and gyms are at the bottom of the bottom, along with concerts. Gyms just aren’t going to reopen soon. We’re at the end of the list,” he said.