CrossFit Games Athletes and Community Respond to Firing of Dave Castro

January 7, 2022 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC
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The sudden firing of longtime CrossFit Games mastermind, Dave Castro, has sent shockwaves throughout the sport – especially coming just seven weeks before the 2022 CrossFit Open. With many questions still unanswered, we compiled CrossFit Games athletes, current and former, and well-known figures in the community’s initial reactions that they posted publicly or responded to us directly.

It’s worth noting: Though many on social media have been outspoken since the news of Castro being fired, it’s important to point out several high-level Games athletes have remained silent. Our staff reached out to dozens of athletes and most carried a similar tune responding with “no comment.” While those we did speak with cohesively voiced sadness and frustration, we have yet to hear if any athletes feel this was a positive move for the sport.

CrossFit Games Athletes

  • Patrick Vellner: “He’s done a good job programming for years. But he’s always been part of a team and now we get to see what the team can do without him.”
  • Lazar Đukić: “I really don’t know what to think of it. Not sure how they thought it’s gonna benefit the sport moving forward to do this just before the season starts. Also, we knew what to expect (sometimes we didn’t know), but it was familiar. I’m curious to see what happens next starting with the Open.”
  • Caroline Conners: “I’m really disappointed. As an athlete who’s spent 5+ years working to make it to the Games, it’s such a letdown to not have more opportunities to experience the Games that we all know. Dave was a huge part of the experience. Even just for affiliate members participating in the Open. He is the face of competitive CrossFit. Whether you love him or hate him, it was a part of your experience. I have a hard time envisioning walking onto the playing field and seeing someone else try to fill his shoes. Being able to get briefed from Castro and see behind the scenes at the games was one of the coolest experiences. He was the last most authentic thing about the sport. I just hope they maintain the spirit of what he has built.”
  • Michelle Basnett: “Honestly, there is very little to almost no info on the situation (as to why) and just like a lot of people, I am not happy about the choice to fire him. I think Dave is a big part of the culture that’s been created in the sport of CrossFit and whether you like him or hate him you gotta give the guy credit for what he’s done for the sport over the years, really since the beginning. Unless there’s something going on that we haven’t been informed on then I’d say it was uncalled for and it was obviously not a mutual decision. Maybe this is a good choice for CrossFit but right now, it doesn’t really feel like it. It just feels like another change to the sport and we have A LOT of that over the last few years. He was a constant and they just took that away.”
  • Cole Sager on Instagram: “Has Dave done things perfectly over the years? Nah. But neither have you or I. He has, however, served our sport passionately and cared deeply for its success. And that I have greatly appreciated.”
  • Brooke Wells on Instagram: “A true legend, thank you @thedavecastro.”
  • Rich Froning on Instagram: “Love or hate him (and I’ve had many moments of both) @thedavecastro cared more for our sport and its success than anyone else.  Whoever takes his role will have huge shoes to fill.”
  • Khan Porter on Instagram: “Sad news out of CrossFit HQ today. It’s hard to even imagine the CrossFit Games without @thedavecastro. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this sport and mine and all the other athletes lives really.”
  • Danielle Brandon on Instagram: “Big upset 🦍🦍🦍.”
  • Jay Crouch on Instagram: “We need @danawhite.”
  • Becca Voigt on Instagram: “This makes me sad! It was an honor playing your game. @thedavecastro.” 
  • Ben Smith on Instagram: “This is a bad move.” 
  • Adam Davidson on Instagram: “I don’t think people know how savage you have to be to run a tight ship like the games, @thedavecastro was not everyone’s favourite authoritarian because he’s exactly what was needed to organize such an event that need strict timelines and follow-through. We’ll see what happens. Great 15 years, did I hate every workout he planned 90% haha but thanks for the good run.”

Former Games Athletes:

  • Jacob Heppner on Instagram: “Wasn’t your biggest fan dying during Open workouts and I might have cursed your name a bit on forearm standards also haha. But regardless of all that, there is no denying your love for what you do and being fantastic at it. I’m sure what you got going on next in line will be no different #Onward…PSA: I’m not here to opine on the situation of who did what and so on so forth. I don’t know all the details and neither do you, so probably best to keep your opinions to yourself. Remember…what your mom taught ya?”
  • Emily Bridgers on Instagram: “Thank you @thedavecastro for everything you did for the sport of CrossFit and the opportunities in my life personally. It won’t be the same without you.”
  • Jason Carroll on Instagram: “Un.fu*kin.real. Like many athletes, I had the privilege of working alongside him and we all know he is a standup guy…as real as they come. I truly believe that there will be nobody like him who can advance the sport like that while keeping the ‘grassroots’ feel of CrossFit like he did. Sad day.”
  • Josh Bridges on Instagram: “This dude right here (Dave Castro) is going to be greatly missed from the sport of CrossFit. His impact on the sport and my life personally have been profound.”
  • Jared Enderton on Instagram: “Damn. I like Castro a lot. Entertaining, smart, and fully dedicated to his craft. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear from him, he’ll be a man on a mission 🔥”

Coaches and Community Figures:

  • Justin Cotler, Underdogs Founder and Coach: “Obviously this is major news. The timing is fairly odd so close to the Open, but I would assume a plan has to be in place. My biggest hope is that we ultimately get proper governance for the sport. It’s something CrossFit, the sport, desperately needs. So I hope there will be some transparency on the vision and how they plan to get there.”
  • Snorri Baron, manager of multiple top-level European athletes, on his Instagram: “Holy shit 🤯.”
  • Mariah Moore, Director of the 2018 and 2021 CrossFit Games Documentary, posted a photo of Dave with “Thank you.”
  • John Singleton, The PROGRM Founder and Coach, “So it is obviously very hard to give an informed opinion without knowing what actually happened behind the scenes. However, from the current perspective, it doesn’t look like HQ has handled the situation in the best way. I really want to see the sport unify and I believe that a unified sport will bring the most benefit for everyone involved, I hope the firing of Dave doesn’t just create more divisions.”
  • Craig Howard, Owner & Founder, Diablo CrossFit and Row’d Royalty Indoor Rowing Competition, on Twitter: “There will forever be two @crossfitgames – “the Castro Era” and “No Castro Era” @thedavecastro”
  • Peter White, Host of Coffee, Pods & Wods Podcast on Instagram: “It woke me up anyway. I’m pretty shocked. Very out of the blue especially with open programming underway. Have no idea what happened or why but him sharing his recent post of meeting Glassman seems pertinent. Best of luck to JBergh, big boots to fill. To all the people calling for Castro to go, there you have it…Never nice to see someone ‘fired’ especially when it blindsided them as this seems to have. He was testing open workouts two days ago and seemed excited about the season. Going by his stories I assume hunting and other things he shared weren’t viewed favourably. Whether he was asked to tow the line and refused or wasnt asked remains to be seen. Or I could be totally wrong and there’s other reasons, we’ll likely never know. It’s a bold move by Rosa[sic] but Justin knows the ropes. I’m still pretty stunned by it to be honest.”

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