Competition

TYR Wodapalooza Forms Official Partnership With PFAA for 2024

November 28, 2023 by
Photo credit: Instagram @rachmoorephoto
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Several weeks ago, it was announced that a formal partnership had been formed between TYR Wodapalooza and the Professional Fitness Athletes’ Association (PFAA). 

This has been in the works for several years, as the PFAA and Loud and Live (the organization behind TYR Wodapalooza) have had ongoing conversations and a close relationship. 

During the 2023 CrossFit Games, TYR Wodapalooza VP of Sport Dylan Malitsky, who was interviewed on the Talking Elite Fitness podcast recently, shared that he reached out to PFAA president Brent Fikowski to begin the process of forming an official partnership. 

After a series of negotiations, an agreement was made and an official document was inked that outlines TYR Wodapalooza’s “Competition Commitments to the PFAA.” 

  • “We really wanted to take an intentional step to showing the PFAA and the greater group of athletes in the community that we’re athletes first, community first, and we want to do whatever it takes to further their initiatives,” Malitsky said. 

Some background: Formed in 2020 in the midst of uncertainty surrounding the sport, the fallout from COVID and CrossFit’s first ownership change, the PFAA is a non-profit that’s headed up by a worldwide athlete board, organized to serve the needs of the competitive fitness athlete community. 

  • They represent athletes and partner with brands to “safeguard athletes’ health and safety,” “provide guidelines for fair and equitable competitions,” “optimize athlete earnings” and “grow awareness of the functional fitness community,” as stated on their website.  

Over the past several years, the PFAA has put together resources for athletes and competition organizers outlining best practices for scoring tables, requirements for attire, data on the height of rings and pull-up bars in regard to athletes’ safety and equitable standards and the use of personal equipment. Articles and documents have been written by members of the athlete board, preparing and educating fellow athletes on topics like drug testing protocols, training insights and online competitions. 

Immediately following Semifinals in 2023, the PFAA conducted a survey to find out the pressing issues that the athletes faced as they headed into that year’s CrossFit Games. 

  • “That feedback led to the creation of specific requirements and conditions to support the overall athlete experience and evolve the sport,” according to the PFAA website. 

While not all of the PFAA’s requests and needs were met for the Games, many were. 

The agreement: Included in the agreement between TYR Wodapalooza and the PFAA are stipulations, such as the following points among many others:

  • There will be transparency regarding the number of workouts, the number of times athletes are expected to take the floor, scoring details and swim requirements.
  • Clear movement standards will be communicated to all athletes prior to competition.
  • Payout will happen within 90 days and will not exceed that time period.
  • There will be a PFAA athlete liaison on-site.
  • There will be virtual and on-site training for judges, and there will be performance reviews. 
  • Athletes may appeal another athlete’s score.
  • There will be a clear plan in place before the start of competition in case of extreme weather.
  • Minimum work requirements will be clearly stated and communicated to all athletes prior to competition.
  • There will be equipment equity, heat equity and consistent lanes for all athletes in each division.

President Brent Fikowski shared his sentiment on the partnership and on PFAA’s mission as a whole. 

  • “This is something very concrete and very real. We’re going to do our best to hold Wodapalooza accountable, they’re going to do their best to hold themselves accountable. This is a method of trying to eliminate… mistakes before they happen.” 
  • “Athletes want to go to a competition that’s safe and that’s fair. Those are the two overarching things,” Fikowski said. 

The big picture: This partnership could mean big things for the PFAA, the athletes and their future in the sport of competitive fitness. This partnership represents the first of many tangible outcomes for both athletes and event organizers that illustrate the impact made by taking a collaborative approach with open dialogue. 

Currently, the PFAA is continuing with early discussions regarding the CrossFit season. The PFAA continues to gain traction with athletes, the majority of whom identify as members. This is significant for the organization, ensuring that a broad array of perspectives is represented. 

As more standards are agreed upon, more safety measures are taken and more parameters are discussed between the non-profit and event organizers. The hope is that the sport of fitness can continue to grow while giving elite athletes peace of mind, comradery and a united backing.

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