“I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.”- Florence Nightingale
CrossFit Games to Stay in Madison for 2024
The NOBULL CrossFit Games will be staying in Madison for the next two seasons. CrossFit HQ sent out an official statement Wednesday, Jan. 25 stating the Wisconsin home of the Games since 2017 will continue for at least two more years.
Remind me: Morning Chalk Up previously reported that the CrossFit Games would be moving to Birmingham, AL for the 2024-2027 seasons. On October 7, 2022 we reported, based on confirmation from a city official, that the Games would move to Birmingham and be hosted at the Birmingham Crossplex.
When contacted by the Morning Chalk Up for more information about the move in 2024, CrossFit responded: “We’re not commenting on any potential locations for 2024 and beyond at this point. We’ll be making an announcement soon that will detail the complete 2023 season and we’re looking forward to returning to and celebrating our time in Madison next summer. Once the 2023 season announcement is complete, we’ll be able to confirm future locations before the end of this year.”
CrossFit did not confirm future locations before the end of the year.
From the email: “CrossFit today announced that its flagship event – the NOBULL CrossFit Games – will remain in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2024. Madison has played host to the Games since 2017, and officials have been vocal about the benefits Wisconsin’s capital city have enjoyed from spectator and participant spending as a result of its role as the epicenter of the competition season.”
“CrossFit and Madison have a very special relationship that we are honored to continue for yet another two years, and I know our businesses and residents will welcome CrossFit back in 2023 and 2024 with open arms,” said Destination Madison and Madison Area Sports Commission Vice President Jamie Patrick. “As we saw during last year’s Games when thousands of people rallied behind an athlete to propel her to the top of the Wisconsin State Capitol stairs, CrossFit athletes, fans, and the Madison community are in this together every step of the way.”
“Our vision for the future is to bring the life-changing potential of CrossFit to more people, in more ways,” said CrossFit CEO Don Faul. “The CrossFit Games are a focal point for our brand as we reach millions of people around the world, and an opportunity for our global community to gather and celebrate as we crown the Fittest on Earth. We’re thrilled to return to Madison where we’ve been able to form an incredible partnership with the city and local community.”
“The athlete experience, and the test of fitness itself, is always front-of-mind for CrossFit,” said Justin Bergh, CrossFit’s GM of Sport. “But what I’m most excited about is the lasting impact we can make in host regions like Madison as we use the full strength of our education platform, network of coaches, and gyms to introduce fitness to people at all levels.”
The bottom line: Madison, WI has been a great home for the CrossFit Games and getting another year in Madtown is great for athletes and fans alike. It remains to be seen however, when, where or if the Games will move to a new host city.
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In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil sat down with sports analyst Mike Halpin and Games athlete Brent Fikowski to discuss the biggest questions around the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games season. This was part two of a two-part series.
Interesting listen: Mat Fraser was on the Come Correct with Zack Telander podcast and talked about a number of things including how he feels like he “failed” as a weightlifter, the hardest things he’s ever been through (and none of them are CrossFit related) and the kind of coach he strives to be.
The CrossFit business model is not the simplest and is not always the most profitable, however one thing some gym owners seem to agree on is the need for full-time coaches.
While many gyms don’t feel like they can afford this business model, some owners who have full-time coaching staff are suggesting they give it a try. Gym business mentorship company Two-Brain Business released a report completed in late-2022 that dives into the state of the fitness industry, including a look at coaching staff.
The “State of the Industry” report collected data from Aug. 16 to Sept. 1, 2022 from 10,657 gyms worldwide, including CrossFit gyms. The report found the average number of full-time staff at a CrossFit gym to be one and the average number of part-time staff members is six.
TYR Wodapalooza Adaptive Winners Want More for Their CrossFit Divisions
Casey Acree, Camille Vigneault and Alyssa Kobela all left Miami, FL as 2023 TYR Wodapalooza champions earlier this month, and all gave the event a five-star review.
“The experience was amazing. Meeting other adaptive athletes was great, and the community was great,” said Vigneault, who won the women’s standing upper body division in Miami by 75 points.
“Wodapalooza is always fun and it’s cool to have an event that is both large…but that also feels intimate. The (CrossFit) Games have that grandeur, but not as much of the community feel,” said Acree, the men’s standing upper body division winner and two-time CrossFit Games champion.
Kobella, the women’s neuromuscular division winner, added: “Even though we were competing, there was a sense of camaraderie among us all…I had so much fun.”
But despite their great experiences in Miami, there’s still an elephant in the room: Adaptive athlete numbers in CrossFit continue to be low, which will prevent all divisions from being featured at the CrossFit Games, as CrossFit LLC has made it clear that their decision to include all adaptive divisions at the Games comes down to Open registration numbers.
Most recently, CrossFit said: “In 2024, we will be inviting all adaptive divisions to compete at the CrossFit Games Finals, as long as the divisions have enough participation to allow for a competitive field.
And according to Kobela, Acree and Vigneault, there are a couple of limitations right now that will possibly prevent the sport from growing to where it needs to be.
In the past, adaptive athletes simply had to show they had one of the 10 eligible impairments via a medical diagnosis, but under the current rules a diagnosis is not enough. Under the new rules, athletes must also show evidence that their condition impairs their ability to do CrossFit movements.
What this means for athletes like Kobela, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), is that she isn’t sure whether or not she will be eligible based on the new requirements, because, according to CrossFit, “I may not be impaired enough to be eligible,” she said.
Kobela added: “On one hand, we want to be as inclusive as possible and accept new people with all types of disability, both observable and invisible; however, CrossFit has updated their policy to require observable impairments throughout the entire competition season. This, in turn, reduces the number of people eligible to be part of competitive CrossFit.”
Kobela has sent in her paperwork and is waiting to hear whether or not she will be eligible this year, but regardless of the decision, the new rules have led to unclear expectations, something Acree said needs to be improved in order to grow the sport.
“Creating a clearer idea of standards and expectations across competitions, and improving qualification standards and divisions breakdowns,” he explained, is an important piece of the puzzle for the adaptive CrossFit to grow and be taken more seriously.
South African Competition Aims to Connect Africa Through Affiliates
Africa’s 1,200 or so affiliates make it the continent with the least amount of boxes CrossFit in the world. In fact, 133 of those affiliates come from a single country – South Africa.
Former General Manager of Affiliates, Gary Gaines, who was replaced by Austin Malleolo in December, had spearheaded a plan to help CrossFit reach into new areas. Also, the Games’ push of highlighting National Champions and the inclusion of Africa in Semifinals hopes to bring new athletes from around the world into the sport.
Separate from HQ itself, though, one gym in South Africa has already made big moves to include new regions of the world in the sport of fitness.
The Fittest Games, founded by CF-L4 candidates Ryno and Bronwen Verster, takes an affiliate-focused method to qualify for their in-person competition. Athletes compete in their box in the first stage of competition, then go through a series of higher-level qualification events to get to the finals, which takes place at CrossFit Ground Zero–nicknamed “The Small Ranch”–in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
The competition, which the Versters started in 2019 to connect the community countrywide and provide an extra source of income for affiliates, has quickly gained steam. In 2020, six affiliates competed with 30-40 athletes each and has grown more than tenfold for the 2023 season. Their goal is to host a world championship in the future.
“I’m a bit in awe of what we’ve done to say the least,” Bronwen Verster said. “It really did just start as a small thing with the intention of helping a few boxes through lockdown, and three years down the line we’re a licensed event. In that sense, I’m grateful that it’s grown as much as it has.”
For Ryno, the biggest takeaway from the past few years of hosting the competition has been what he’s been able to give back to affiliates and athletes. He says that while many top-level athletes in the Americas and Europe are able to train full-time, there isn’t as much financial support for CrossFitters in Africa. He hopes that competitions like this allow up-and-comers to focus on their training.
“It’s not just that we’re able to host an event like this, it’s that we’re able to provide the community in South Africa with options,” Verster said. “We can provide (prospective athletes) with an avenue where they can focus purely on (performance) if we can give them prize money that’s worthwhile.”
The Versters’ love and passion for the athletes doesn’t stop with competition weekend. Their box is equipped with an athlete recovery area and a designated competitive athlete area. Also, they’re constantly expanding and developing their spot. In fact, the next addition they’re looking to complete is a “Colosseum” built out of shipping containers that brands can sponsor and host guests in for the final stage of competition.
For Ryno, who grew up in a tumultuous environment, including leaving school before his teen years and having to teach himself math when he got to university. Though difficult, he says that the lessons he learned in his childhood have helped him succeed through his process of growing a gym and competition.
“We have to just stay grounded and founded in that we want to uplift the community,” Verster said. “Everything we do, what we do at ground zero, is through the love and the passion for the athletes.”
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Congratulations Darrin Diaz from Carolina CrossFit in Columbia, SC on turning his 385-pound/174.6kg 1RM front squat into a 2RM.
Adaptive athlete Skylar Devault from Persistence Culture CrossFit in Ventura, CA says “No Hand, No Problem“, as she shares a tool used to complete double-unders and ski-erg calories one-handed.
Devault placed 13th in last year’s CrossFit Games Adaptive Semifinal in the Women’s Upper Extremity division.
Games athlete Christine Kolenbrander starts her day with a 195 pound/88.5kg snatch double.
Congratulations David Brezler from White Plains, NY on the 1065 pound/483kg CrossFit Total.
405lb Back Squat, 405lb Deadlift, 255lb Shoulder Press
CrossFit Fringe in Columbia, MOis hosting a memorial WOD this Saturday, January 28 in honor of Maddie Gramke, a CF Fringe member, wife, and mother of two. Gramke passed away on Saturday, January 21 after a six-month battle with breast cancer.
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