CrossFit Games

Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association Weighs In, Says Semifinal Workout Descriptions “Created Ambiguity”

June 17, 2021 by
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Just a day after the leaderboard shake-up shifted some CrossFit Games qualifications out of the German Throwdown, CrossFit Home Office released a full list of score adjustments and penalties.

In total, 96 penalties were issued to individuals and teams who competed in the online Semifinals for the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown, CrossFit German Throwdown and Brazil CrossFit Championship.

While most of the penalties seem straightforward, there is one that has raised questions and controversy. The penalty for “receiving assistance with equipment,” specifically in Workout 6, which ultimately knocked Emma Tall out of the Games. It’s a concern that now has members of the Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association speaking out.

  • “The PFAA believes that this issue is due to several communication errors on the part of CrossFit. Firstly, CrossFit should have been more clear on whether or not the leaderboard scores were confirmed prior to announcing qualified athletes on official channels,” said Stephanie Chung, a spokesperson from the Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association.
  • Chung continued, “Secondly, all workout descriptions should state whether or not having assistance with equipment is illegal. Including this detail for workouts 1-3 but not 4-6 created ambiguity, and we believe that Emma Tall made a reasonable assumption given the information presented in the specific workout description.”

Remind me: The primary function of the PFAA is to give athletes within the sport a voice when it comes to the decision-making process for any changes or improvements being made to CrossFit. One of its main missions is to ensure competition fairness. Since there was no specific rule stated anywhere in writing that a judge could not assist in Workout 6, it seems this could fall within their mission as an organization.

  • In a statement to Morning Chalk Up earlier this week, a CrossFit spokesperson said in part, “as an established practice, athletes are not allowed to receive assistance from their judge or coach unless explicitly stated. This precedent has been established at every stage of CrossFit Games competition, whether virtual or in-person.”

Worth noting: Tall wasn’t the only athlete to interpret the rules of Workout 6 that way. Penalties were also issued for Mikey Steele, Lucas Grouleff, Megan Lovegrove, Carys Webster and Tayla Howe who all competed in the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown Semifinal.

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