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MakeWODsGreatAgain Launches Campaign to CrowdFund Adaptive Prize Purses for Divisions Left Out of CrossFit Games

November 30, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Mikey Witous
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When the CrossFit Games announced their 2022 schedule last month, athletes in five of the eight adaptive divisions — vision, short stature, seated with hip function, seated without hip function and intellectual — found out they will once again be left off the competition floor at this summer’s CrossFit Games in Madison, WI. In response, MakeWODsGreatAgain founder John Wooley has launched a campaign to raise money to provide a prize purse, and swag for the adaptive divisions who’s last stop will be the online semifinals. 

The details: Wooley is launching a campaign today — Join the Community, Adapt to the Competition — that aims to both bring more adaptive athletes into CrossFit, and help give athletes from the five divisions who won’t be competing in Madison “a Games experience” of their own.

The top three athletes from the five adaptive divisions who qualify to and compete at this year’s first-ever adaptive virtual Semifinals competition will receive a swag bag and a cash prize.

  • So far, Wooley has received support and sponsorship commitments from Inov8, Rx Smart Gear, UCAN, O2, Doc Spartan, Hyperice, Abmat, Yeti, and Junk Brands.
  • “We will be fundraising for a cash prize, as well as having a swag bag provided by the sponsoring companies,” Wooley explained, adding that they will also be regularly featuring adaptive athletes on the Scale and Bail podcast and the Kettlebells & Cocktails podcast in hopes of generating more awareness.
  • The prize purse will depend on how much money Wooley’s campaign raises in the upcoming months. 

Feathers ruffled: Not surprisingly, adaptive athletes, such as Mike Witous, a short stature competitor and Steph Roach, the first Level 2 CrossFit trainer with cerebral palsy, weren’t thrilled with the announcement that they’ll be left off the competition floor in Madison this summer.

  • “We aren’t looking for handouts, and never would ask for one. I just want an explanation as to how Crossfit thinks we can grow a division that isn’t in-person at the Games or even showcased on their media pages in any way. I don’t know how they expect it to grow past where it is currently without assistance,” wrote Witous on social media.

For what it’s worth: Wooley also said he understands, from a business standpoint, why these five divisions have been left out — because their Open participation numbers are too low — thus, another goal for the campaign is to help drive adaptive participation in the Open “with a goal of doubling year over year (participation),” Wooley said. 

  • Ultimately, Wooley is hoping that by “routinely showcasing these athletes on all of my platforms,” the adaptive divisions will grow and will soon be invited to Madison. “But (the) worst case scenario is that more people will be using CrossFit to focus on health and wellness,” he added. 
  • Alec Zirkenbach, executive director of the Adaptive Training Academy, echoed a similar sentiment in a sitdown with Tommy Marquez last month. 

The big picture: Wooley is “impressed and excited” by CrossFit’s further commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and he’s hoping the Join the Community, Adapt to the Competition campaign will generate more awareness that CrossFit is a viable option for adaptive athletes of all kinds. 

  • And he is asking the community to participate by sharing these athletes’ stories “so we can attract more people to the community and help them find the same health, happiness and learning that we have come to love so  much.”

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