Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Candace Wakwe is a CF-L1 who trains minority and underprivileged athletes at Noble Clay Fitness in Atlanta, learn about her and the gym’s mission below. And, the CrossFit Games announced some first steps toward developing a culture of diversity and inclusion and pushed back the potential start date for the event to August 17. Today:
Candace Wakwe serves an underserved athlete community in Atlanta.
The CrossFit Games announced some diversity and inclusion initiatives, and postponed the start date.
Spoiler Alert: Patrick Clark recaps this week’s Titan Games episode.
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“Head first towards the uncomfortable.”– Brent Fikowski
How Coach Candace Wakwe is Serving the Underprivileged in Atlanta
When Coach Candy Wakwe heard about Noble Clay Fitness in Atlanta, GA, she knew it was where she wanted to coach.
“As an African American coach, the way they’re intentionally trying to help (minorities) and offer a professional level of coaching, touched me to my core,” said Wakwe, who grew up in South Carolina in a single-parent home.
“They were reaching the community that spoke to me,” she added.
Noble Clay’s background: Noble Clay Fitness is a non-profit organization and a registered charity that offers subsidized memberships for those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford coaching. They’re located in an area of Atlanta that’s on the divide between a neighborhood where the average annual income is around $20,000, and a neighborhood where people are making more than $100,000 a year.
Their membership reflects these polarized demographics, Wakwe explained. Fifty percent of their membership base pays the full price of $297 a month, while the other half pays based on their income level.
Wakwe’s story: Wakwe grew up witnessing a lot of Type 2 diabetes. Her mother, grandparents and some of her aunts and uncles were all diabetics, she explained. This led to her desire to get into healthcare.
In college, she double majored in psychology and economics. Then Wakwe started medical school and gained experience as a clinical researcher in oncology and cardiology at a hospital in Atlanta.
“I kept seeing the same thing. Chronic illness, and a lot of outcomes weren’t good for the minority populations. I thought I could serve this way through research, and I was good at it, but it wasn’t bringing me joy,” she said.
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Breaking: The CrossFit Games Speaks, Vows Improvement In Diversity And Inclusion
Four days after breaking their silence publicly to acknowledge some of the current events surrounding social injustice and the black community, the CrossFit Games expanded upon their position and current state of affairs internally while posting a short video composed of an animated Games logo adorned with country flags from across the world.
The post to Instagram revealed that the CrossFit Games team would be undergoing a “cultural review to examine diversity and opportunities for inclusion,” and laid out multiple steps around how to do so, remaining committed to improving upon the culture surrounding the sport in light of recent issues raised within the community. The steps included:
“Commissioning an external analysis and review of diversity and cultural representation.”
“Producing media that represents and creates opportunities for the Black community and underrepresented cultures.”
“Continuing to collect, organize, and circulate feedback internally while consulting with diversity experts.”
It should be noted that comments were disabled on the post. All posts within the last week regarding the topics of social justice, or the developing changes surrounding founder Greg Glassman’s “retirement,” have disabled the comment function.
A step in the right direction: Given the difficult two weeks that CrossFit Inc. and the CrossFit Games team has had, this statement is arguably the most direct and clear communication from the Games team regarding their plans moving forward to address some of the concerns and criticisms levied against the organization.
At least 20 athletes have already vowed to sit out of the Games — and potentially additional events — or have stated that their involvement in the sport as it pertains to CrossFit Inc. specifically would depend on real change moving forward.
It remains to be seen to what extent this statement and pledge will satisfy the conditions laid down by the athletes that have spoken out. In the conclusion of the post, the Games admitted that “This is the start of a continuing process that will take time to execute well. We recognize it’s not enough to say this. CrossFit is working to develop a consistent response rooted in action.”
Kelly Valdez Uses Firefighting and CrossFit Skills to Become West Region Titan
The fifth episode of The Titan Games featured the start of the West Regional competition as six men and six women face-off against Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s handpicked Titans for a chance to compete in the finals and the $100,000 grand prize. The women’s match-up featured the first head-to-head match-up of two CrossFit athletes as Kelly Valdez and Natalie Talbert competed for a chance at Mount Olympus.
The match-up: Valdez and Talbert have each competed at CrossFit Regionals on teams. For Valdez, she made her Regional appearance at the 2013 South East Regional with Broward CrossFit. A former member of the US Coast Guard and current California wildland firefighter, Valdez has competed in the Florida Grid League and at Wodapalooza. Talbert made her Regional appearance in the 2018 West Regional with Team Diablo Moxie, placing 11th overall. Talbert is a coach at Coast Range CrossFit.
Event 1, “Launch Pad:” The first event for the women tested leg strength and momentum. Each athlete is connected to a rope atop a platform and must push off the platform to knock off a 250-lb pad unto the ground. The first athlete to knock four slabs off wins.
Talbert struck first quickly kicking her first slab but then Valdez gained momentum and went on a tear. Valdez used the momentum from pushing off the slabs after kicking them off to keep moving, resulting in her kicking off four-straight slabs before Natalie could knock off her second, winning 4-1. Valdez – 1, Talbert – 0.
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Misfit Athletics Discuss the Current State of CrossFit
On this special edition of the Misfit Athletics podcast, hosts provide their reaction to current events. More than anything, they cover ideas that can lead to having meaningful conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion in the CrossFit community, and whether CFHQ deserves your support in the future.
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Give this vibrant curry cashew chickpea quinoa salad a try. It’s packed with veggies and delicious flavor from curry powder, fresh ginger, turmeric and sweet and spicy maple glazed cashews. The salad is easy to make for the perfect main meal or a healthy side dish!