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CrossFit CEO Don Faul opened up about company goals at North America West

 
Morning Chalk Up

May 30   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Don Faul on CrossFit’s 2030 goal
  • Division One Softball player Caroline Stanley is headed to Madison
  • Rookie Qualifier Shelby Neal attributes community support to her success
  • Nerding out on Semifinals, Day 3 at North America West
 
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“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” - Aristotle

 
INDUSTRY
  CEO Don Faul Talks Education, Growth, and the Way Forward for HQ  

CEO Don Faul Talks Education, Growth, and the Way Forward for HQ

In the middle of two back-to-back sold-out days at the North America West Semifinal in Pasadena, CA, CrossFit held a press conference with CEO Don Faul. Just nine months into his tenure, Faul talked of his 2030 goal of having 30 million CrossFit athletes by the end of the decade, how the brand intends to get there, and recapped his time in the position so far.

He cited the Magic of CrossFit series and a 40% increase in traffic to CrossFit.com as trademarks of growth over the last year, and said he hopes this is a step in the right direction towards bringing in more athletes.

  • “I’m really proud of the work the team has done across a number of different fronts,” Faul said. “Starting first and foremost, how do we get to 30 million people? Our first area of focus as a company is growth. How do we expose more people to the company, how do we get more people into affiliates?”

One of the big ways Faul intends to drive traffic into affiliates? Further education for coaches. He speaks highly of the Level 1 certification, which he says he never had the intention of taking until coming into his new role but has benefited immensely. Beyond that, though, the team at HQ is working on a number of new options.

The Foundations course, which is still in a very early stage of development, will be a one-day course geared towards athletes not ready to take their Level 1 yet. Also, a new US Army Physical Readiness program helps participants get in better shape and is reaping great benefits, Faul said.

  • “(The Seminar staff) are absolutely amazing and incredible. They’ve been working really hard to build our next generation of coaches,” Faul said. “We know these are the men and women that day-in and day-out are changing lives.”

Faul also addressed recent layoffs at HQ which saw the on-staff population drop by 20%. This decision has been met with criticism from the community, but Faul was confident in the move.

  • “I’ll acknowledge, coming into last year we took a look at our priorities and I made the decision to reallocate some of our focus,” Faul said. “Running these events takes an extraordinary amount of work…when I looked at overall allocation and the amount of time and resources we were putting towards sport, I felt like we needed to adjust.”

Faul acknowledged that the brand is at the very beginning of the process of meeting its goal, and even admitted that some of its decisions may not work out in the long run (“we’re not going to bat a thousand,” he said). But Faul was not discouraged and instead brought the conversation back to the a core CrossFit value:

  • Faul: “We’ve done incredible work but I know that we can raise the bar. In CrossFit, we talk about virtuosity, doing the common uncommonly well and I want that to be the spirit that we bring to everything we do–how we support affiliates, how we train coaches, to how we deliver an extraordinary experience for sport for athletes and fans.”
 
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SPEED READS

💪 💪Functional Fitness is now a recognized sport in Sweden, the International Functional Fitness Federation announced.

The HYROX World Championships concluded in Manchester, England, crowning Hunter McIntyre and Lauren Weeks as the winners for 2023.

ICYMI: “Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active,” the CrossFit documentary about the 2022 season is now available for pre-order. And check out the trailer–we got chills, did you?

Spring Swag Sale: The Morning Chalk Up Spring Swag Sale is on now. Supplies are limited, so order now.

 
PROFILE
  Former D-3 Softball Player Caroline Stanley Punches Ticket to 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games  

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE

Former D-3 Softball Player Caroline Stanley Punches Ticket to 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games

Caroline Stanley has been trying to get herself to the CrossFit Games for the last two years, luckily third times a charm. Two weeks ago, Stanley punched her ticket to Madison, WI taking 10th in the North America East Semifinal.

The 23-year-old has a background in Division I softball and started CrossFit in 2017 after a friend coaxed her to go to a class. She was hooked on the first day. Since then she’s balanced her athletic career in softball, graduated college last May, and is now focusing on her CrossFit career.

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PROFILE
  Rookie Games Qualifier Shelby Neal Credits Community for Her Success  

Rookie Games Qualifier Shelby Neal Credits Community for Her Success

After placing 9th at the North America East Semifinal, Shelby Neal landed back home in Raleigh, NC, only to be whisked straight from the airport and driven to a local brewery, where the 12th State CrossFit community sat waiting to surprise and congratulate the young athlete on her victorious and hard-fought weekend in Orlando.

Neal snagged one of the 11 qualifying spots to the Games this summer, and having the opportunity to return home and share in that achievement with her tightly bonded CrossFit family meant everything.

  • “They have been a huge part of my growth,” said Neal of her 12th State CrossFit community. “They have witnessed it over the past few years, and really seen the hours I put in, so it just meant a lot to me to see them all so happy and excited.”

Neal credits this community with her ability to stay grounded and focused on keeping everything in balance. She joins in on the house WODS throughout the week, and supplements them with extra sessions as needed. She fits in additional training on the weekends, and is often accompanied by a member or two that want to support her and push themselves.

  • “I am so unbelievably lucky to have a community that believes in me as much as they do and constantly picks me up,” added Neal.
  • “It can be easy to get caught up in going harder, faster… training longer and just breaking your body down. Our members really remind me that there is more to all this than just CrossFit and they make it really easy to lighten the mood of a training session,” said Neal.

Remind me: As a 16-17 teen competitor at the Games, Neal took 8th place in 2016 and 6th place in 2017. Reminiscing on her time spent as a young athlete competing on such a large stage, she expressed the doubts that lingered.

  • “Even as a teen, I counted myself out a bit going to the Games. That first year was all about enjoying the experience and having fun. But the second year, even with experience, I didn’t come in with the confidence that I should have,” recalled Neal.

But in 2021 and 2022, Neal missed the Games cut, by placing 16th at the Granite Games and 7th at the MACC, respectively. She opted out of the Last Chance Qualifier last year, as it conflicted with Officer Candidate School. The United States Marine Corps had been Neal’s focus throughout her time spent at North Carolina State University.

Last summer, she began having second thoughts, as to whether or not this was a path she wanted to follow after graduation, and upon participating in her second 6-week-long OCS training, she realized that she had changed and grown, and now had other passions that outweighed her desire to join the USMC.

  • “It was an extremely difficult decision to make,” recalled Neal, “but it was one I made on my own accord and am proud of myself for sticking to it when it made quite a few people upset. As for my other passions, I was truly excited to use my engineering degree and continue training.”
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CROSSFIT GAMES
  Nerding Out on Semifinals: 15 Stats from the Final Day at North America West Semifinals  

Nerding Out on Semifinals: 15 Stats from the Final Day at North America West Semifinals

In the most spectacular fashion, the North America West Semifinal has officially ended and we have our next group of 2023 Crossfit Games qualifiers:

Women

  1. Alex Gazan
  2. Katrin Davidsdottir
  3. Arielle Loewen
  4. Christine Kolenbrander
  5. Bethany Shadburne
  6. Emily Rolfe
  7. Olivia Kerstetter
  8. Abigail Domit
  9. Baylee Rayl
  10. Kelly Baker

Men

  1. Patrick Vellner
  2. Brent Fikowski
  3. Samuel Kwant
  4. Cole Greashaber
  5. Justin Medeiros
  6. Chandler Smith
  7. Nick Mathew
  8. Colten Mertens
  9. Cole Sager

Why only nine spots for the men? Here’s a refresher on the Strength of Field equation used to allocate 17 of the 40 Games spots this season.

The North America West leaderboard was full of action; nothing was certain going into the last event of the weekend, especially for athletes on the bubble. With so much excitement on this final day, we made sure to keep track of every detail in order to give you 15 of the best stats you won’t find anywhere else.

Let’s take a look at some of the day’s most interesting numbers:

  1. Although Alex Gazan had a 43rd place finish in Test 4 (800m run and max snatch), she still ended up winning the North America West Semifinal. This is the lowest event finish of any Semifinal champion ever (2021-2023).
  1. Dani Speegle missed out on a Games qualification spot by just two points. (Kelly Baker 10th – 415 / Dani Speegle 11th – 413).
  1. If Dani Speegle ran just three seconds faster on Test 5, or lifted just five pounds more on Test 4, she would have qualified for the 2023 Crossfit Games.
  1. At the end of Saturday, Baylee Rayl was in 21st place overall. With two top five finishes in the last two tests, she shot up to 9th overall and earned a Games qualifying spot.
  2. Three rookies are going to the Games from the women’s field (Olivia Kerstetter, Abigail Domit, Kelly Baker), but all nine qualifying spots in the men’s field are filled by Games veterans.
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The Physiology Behind “Murph”

Murph, a workout in honor of fallen Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, is done in CrossFit gyms across the country during Memorial Day Weekend. This is a workout that most athletes fear, so the scientists behind WOD Science took a look at the physiology behind Murph.

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