CrossFit Games

Athletes’ Requests for Semifinal Change Denied By CrossFit

May 5, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Instagram @snorribaron
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With two weeks to go until the start of the first Semifinal event of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games one would imagine that athletes who have qualified are hard at work training and preparing to achieve their goals of competing at the Games in Madison, WI.

However, Snorri Baron, agent and manager for many of the top European competitors, has identified several whose Semifinal and more importantly Games future are indeed in jeopardy.

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A post shared by Snorri Baron (@snorribaron)

The details: In a post on his Instagram page, Baron listed Roman Khrennikov, Denis Samsonov, Or Cohen and Hamzeh Tarefi as athletes who cannot attend their Semifinal, the Far East Throwdown in Busan, South Korea on June 3-5.

Baron represents Khrennikov and Samsonov who both currently reside in the United States and like Tarefi, if they do travel to their Semifinal there is the possibility they could not re-enter the US due to Visa issues.

The athletes presented a scenario to CrossFit Games officials where they would swap places (one-for-one) with an athlete to compete at a Semifinal where they would not have to face any sanctions or in the case of Samsonov not be able to return back to the United States where he has lived for the last 16 years.

According to Baron, CrossFit rejected the idea and countered with offering the athletes the ability to compete at the Last Chance Qualifier in lieu of their scheduled Semifinal.

When contacted and asked how long the athletes had to make the decision on whether to compete in their Semifinal or the LCQ, CrossFit stated that the athletes had already made their choice.

“It’s important for me that we are being consistent with athletes across the board…we have to treat these situations for an entire class of athletes and not make considerations that would be favorable to one athlete, while unfavorable to other athletes.”

Justin Bergh, CrossFit General Manager of Sport

At Thursday morning’s Quarterfinal Press Conference, CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport Justin Bergh addressed the scenario athletes in this case had presented to him.

“I think the important thing to note is that It was a creative solution, made late in the process and we didn’t accommodate it, that doesn’t mean we aren’t open to it for the future.”

“But it’s important for me especially in my position when we talk about fairness that we are being consistent with athletes across the board and while that might sometimes be easy to accommodate one athlete because that’s the only interest of that athlete, Boz, myself the entire team of CrossFit that we have to treat these situations for an entire class of athletes and not make considerations that would be favorable to one athlete that would be unfavorable to other athletes competing at that event or other athletes if they had that opportunity would have made the same request.”

The bottom line: The fact that CrossFit was able to have an open dialogue with the athletes on this issue is promising, however they have taken a hard line on certain items listed in the rulebook. This particular situation was one that they admitted was an issue but would stick with their decision but Bergh did say it was something they will consider in future seasons.

“It was a creative solution but not one we were willing to entertain this year. The notion of international travel is obviously something that is very important to us and I think we will look into it in depth. CrossFit is going to be implementing a broader pool of athletes that we engage with as we make decisions for the 2023 and beyond seasons and this will certainly be a subject we bring up with the economic feasibility, travel once things are more settled in 2023 and beyond.”

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