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CrossFit Games in Madison until 2023?

Morning Chalk Up

May 2

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Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. Director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro took to Instagram Live yesterday to answer questions about the 2020 CrossFit Games. And, based on Madison Common Council resolution, it looks like there is a strong possibility the Games return to Madison through 2023. Today:

  • Six key takeaways from Dave Castro’s Instagram Live chat.
  • Potentially three more years in Madison for the CrossFit Games following 2020.
  • Coach Meredith Whitney illustrates how persistence pays off in client retention.

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Six Key CrossFit Games Takeaways from Dave Castro’s Instagram Live Q&A

  Six Key CrossFit Games Takeaways from Dave Castro’s Instagram Live Q&A  

Following the CrossFit Games announcement canceling the 2020 age group competition Thursday night, Director of the CrossFit Games, Dave Castro took to Instagram Live on Friday to field questions on a range of topics surrounding the 2020 season.

One big thing: While a small amount of information has trickled out of CrossFit HQ over the past few weeks concerning the likelihood that the 2020 CrossFit Games will take place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic this summer, a lot of uncertainty still remains. Over the course of the 19-minute Instagram chat, Castro provided the most definitive answers to date about CrossFit’s plans for the Games.

Here are six key takeaways:

  1. They’re still aiming for an August Games: Castro noted at several points throughout the IG Live session that while no one can predict the future, he intends to hold the CrossFit Games at the Ranch in August.
    • What will it look like: “Small, with no spectators, is the key to us being able to potentially pull this off. We don’t even know if we are going to be able to pull this off,” Castro noted. “We could postpone the Games, but we don’t want to. We want to try to deliver a competition for the individual athletes and salvage some semblance of our season.”
    • In reality though: Castro acknowledged that he was leading “A fight against the norm; we are going against the grain. No other sports are even going yet, so who knows where things will be in August.”
  2. Games staff evaluated many options for including age groups: Castro started off the chat by addressing the announcement to cancel the age group divisions. He said ”It was a tough decision, it was not something we wanted to do…we’re not able to do the Games the way we’d like, when we want.”

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Madison Through 2023? The City Council Made That Decision Easier

  Madison Through 2023? The City Council Made That Decision Easier  

Thursday’s late-night announcement canceling the season for all age group divisions and a lengthy prognosis from California’s governor as to when live sports will return to the state increased the likelihood of an all-out season end for the CrossFit Games. And while the community turned its focus to the pandemic several weeks ago, a key resolution passed by the city of Madison making an extension to the Games in Madison most likely went overlooked.

What happened: Just days before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, the Madison Common Council passed a resolution authorizing CrossFit the use of the Olin Park Boat Launch for the years 2020-2023. The boat launch and dock have been used each year of the Games as the staging, entry, and exit point for the swim event programmed for the competition, and a nearly identical agreement provided CrossFit Inc. use of the boat launch area from 2017-2019.

  • The permit states explicitly that “WHEREAS, User (CrossFit Inc.) has indicated that it will continue to hold the Event (CrossFit Games) in Madison from 2020-2023,” and grants the CrossFit Games use of the boat park through 2023.
  • Jamie Patrick, VP of the Madison Area Sports Commission clarified through a spokesperson that there have been general talks about an extension, but nothing specific, and the inclusion of 2022-2023 in the permit was more of a precaution.
  • Up until the March 3 resolution, CrossFit did not have a permit to use the Olin Boat Park this summer. The resolution was passed in order to ensure that CrossFit had access to the park for the 2020 Games and chose to include additional years (2022 and 2023) so they wouldn’t have to revisit the boat park again should there be a second extension.

One big thing: It seems unlikely that Madison wouldn’t have arbitrarily voted to include an additional two years of permits if they didn’t feel a degree of confidence that an additional extension was possible. This at least confirms that conversations were happening before the pandemic forced a location change. It’s unclear if and when those conversations will resume.


Key to Client Retention: Persistence Pays Off

  Key to Client Retention: Persistence Pays Off  

After being a part-time coach for a few years at 7 Mile Strength and Fitness in Grand Cayman, a little over two months ago, Meredith Whitney decided to go all in.

She left her full-time job to embrace coaching as a career. The next thing she knew, COVID-19 hit and everything changed.

From gym owner Carl Brenton’s perspective, Whitney’s timing couldn’t have been better. That’s because, when it comes to taking care of clients, she has gone “above and beyond” the call of duty, explained Brenton. She has scratched and clawed and refused to accept no for an answer.

  • “Where a lot of coaches may just throw their hands up in the air and say, ‘What am I supposed to do? My clients don’t want to participate,’ she has done the opposite,” Brenton said.

On her end, instead of wallowing about having changed jobs at the worst possible time, Whitney chose to attack the situation.

  • “This is what I am meant to do,” she said about what she thought when they closed their doors and she was forced to become an online coach.
  • “I knew I would have to become innovative and change my mindset…I had nothing to lose.” And everything to gain,” she added.

Photo Credit: Meredith Whitney

Whitney immediately went to the drawing board to brainstorm a plan. The first thing she did was break her clients up into categories.

  • “I grouped them into three different pods: Those who need a weekly check-in, those who need a bit more of a kick in the ass, and those who need a lot of emotional support regularly,” she explained.

It was time to step on the gas: Whitney personally reached out to each client individually. Some were happy to embrace their new online coaching services, but others were hesitant to join Zoom classes or do online personal training sessions and ignored her WhatsApp messages and emails.




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