CrossFit Games

The PFAA Breaks Their Silence, Announces Equipment, Apparel Recommendations for CrossFit Games

November 9, 2021 by
Photo Credit: PFAA (IG: @pfaassociation)
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“What’s going on with the PFAA?”

It is a question heard frequently regarding the Professional Fitness Athletes Association (PFAA) since their inception in July of last year. The recent announcement of the 2022 CrossFit Games season schedule renewed discussion around the non-profit and what role they might have moving forward.

After a year-long hiatus on social media they finally broke their silence, announcing on a new blog post a thorough document provided by the PFAA interim executive committee to CrossFit regarding personal attire and equipment for competition. 

  • The 11 page document, covers suggested regulations and requirements around clothing and shoe types, as well as support equipment including knee sleeves, belts, and additional attire such as swimwear, adhesive materials, and electronic wearables. 
  • The document includes diagrams and reference photos, as well as written references from best practices established by adjacent organizations and sports including the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), International Powerlifting Federation, USA Swimming, and the International Functional Fitness Federation (IF3). 

The blog post published on November 4 stated that the document was intentionally “exhaustive so that a condensed version could be finalized from it,” and that the executive committee confirmed that the 2022 rulebook was being finalized while using the provided document along with other sources.

The PFAA wasn’t done though, and the following day on November 5, another blog posted to the website provided data and findings for suggested gymnastics rings and pull-up bar heights for athletes competing at Semifinals and the Games. 

  • Per the blog: “The PFAA’s Interim Executive Committee collected data from 62 athletes who competed at the 2021 CrossFit Semi Finals to help competition organizers choose appropriate heights for their gymnastic rings and pull-up bars.”
  • “The data was collected between September and October of 2021 and added to a spreadsheet, detailed findings and recommendations have been added into a text document. For the privacy of the athlete’s who participated the names have been removed from the spreadsheet. Both documents have been emailed to CrossFit Inc and Loud & Live Sports.”

The findings provided in the summary suggested standardized heights for pull-up bars based on male and female heights, as well as options that would satisfy both divisions if adjustments could not be made between heats. Additionally, multiple viable options for ring heights were made to include differences between Semifinals and Games based on athlete height and adjustment options. 

  • The ring and pull-up bar height topic is a salient one in the interest of fairness, considering the standardized heights for pull-up bars and rings have often put taller athletes, particularly in the men’s division, at a disadvantage due to the standardized heights not allowing taller athletes like Brent Fikowski to safely perform the full mechanics of the accepted gymnastics movements without obstruction. 

Remind me: These types of topics fall in line with the purpose of the PFAA, as described during their initial statement of goals from their formation last season. Their stated goals include:

  • Work on projects that will safeguard the health & safety of athletes at competitions.
  • Create guidelines for competitions to operate consistently, fairly and adhere to the highest standards.
  • Improve communication between event organizers and athletes.
  • Directly cooperate with companies and individuals outside the PFAA to give input on shaping the competition season.
  • Work to establish what is in the best interest of current athletes, while also ensuring the growth of competitions for future athletes.

So what’s next for the PFAA? 

In talking with PFAA organizers, administrative efforts will be at the forefront, with the PFAA finalizing bylaws and articles of incorporation, determining criteria for eligibility and contacting potential members, electing a new board of directors, and creating goals for the upcoming competition season.

  • The PFAA isn’t alone in this process either, and have received guidance and help from Steptoe and Johnson, a prestigious Washington D.C. based international law firm, whose current and former attorneys include more than two dozen high level government officials. 

Worth noting: In addition to providing these resources for CrossFit LLC, the PFAA has made all documents and findings publicly available to any event organizer or organization with the hopes of creating consistency of standards between events. 

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