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CrossFit’s Comments Cast Doubt on Priority of Athlete Safety

Morning Chalk Up

May 21

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. It’s all hands on deck as some big news in the sport of CrossFit has broken over the past 36 hours, and we have a full rundown below. We now have a much fuller picture of the Mayhem Madness team competition, an elite roster of athletes were tapped by Gillette Deodorant for a national social media advertising campaign and an Instagram exchange between the CrossFit Games and a fan got heated. Today:

  • Tommy Marquez breaks down the Mayhem Madness announcement.
  • Patrick Clark profiles Gillette Deodorant’s #GilletteSweatForRogue CrossFit athlete campaign.
  • Editor-in-Chief, Justin LoFranco covers the controversial CrossFit Games Instagram exchange.
  • And, does your gym need a COVID-19 waiver?

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“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary


Breaking: Details Announced For Mayhem Madness

  Breaking: Details Announced For Mayhem Madness  

Some exciting new details have just been released about the Mayhem Madness competition that is stepping in to fill the void left by the cancelation of the 2020 team division at the CrossFit Games. It was previously announced that Rich Froning and his CrossFit Mayhem crew would host a team competition for the qualified teams that earned their way through Sanctionals, but now as more details have come to light it seems like athletes and fans of the sport are in for a real treat.

The nuts and bolts: The competition will take place on August 2-9 in Cookeville, Tennessee at CrossFit Mayhem and “the surrounding areas.” The competition will include the nine teams previously qualified for the Games through Sanctionals as well as three new teams that will earn their spot through an online qualifier.

  • The online qualifier will feature workouts that can be done individually, and team scores will be a combination of individual efforts similar to how teams qualified for Regionals through the CrossFit Games Open from 2011-2018.
  • Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishing teams. First will receive $3,000, second will receive $2,000, and third will get $1,000, and neither Mayhem team is eligible to receive prize money.
  • The top three new teams from the qualifier will receive an invite, and all nine previously invited teams will also need to participate in the qualifier in order to seed all 12 competing teams for the purposes of setting up an “event draft” to help determine the programming.

You read that right: One of the exciting new wrinkles to the format is the “event draft” where each team competing will in some fashion have a hand in determining not only what the programmed workouts will be, but also when they show up during the competition.


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Gillette Partners with Top CrossFitters for National Campaign

  Gillette Partners with Top CrossFitters for National Campaign  

A “who’s who” of top male CrossFit athletes are teaming up with Gillette for a national campaign leading up to the Rogue Invitational online competition. Tabbed the #GilletteSweatForRogue campaign, the athletes will see if Gillette’s Clear Gel deodorant will keep them smelling fresh during and after their grueling workouts this coming weekend and in the days leading up to the Rogue Invitational on June 13-14.

Taking on the challenge: The roster of CrossFit athletes taking on the Gillette deodorant challenge includes Mathew Fraser, Cole Sager, Pat Vellner, Jacob Heppner, Chandler Smith, Noah Ohlsen, Travis Mayer and Saxon Panchik.

  • All the athletes signed to the sponsorship deal will be posting about the campaign on their social media accounts, host Instagram live videos this weekend during the challenge as well as being featured on Gillette’s social media and national advertisements.
  • “The deal with Gillette stemmed largely from a recognition of the sport of CrossFit,” said Sager. “They reached out a few months ago expressing interest and eventually got in touch with Loud & Live and Matt O’Keefe and they came up with the campaign agreement for their Clear Gel Deodorant. Gillette is a very well known company, one I have used for many years from razors to deodorant, to body wash, and have always had a respect for their products. Back in 2018 I even did a small campaign for them, so there is a bit of history there. It felt like it came together fairly organically, especially as our sport of fitness has grown. It probably also helps that I have a fairly clean shave or just lack of facial hair. Idk. Haha!”

Why it matters: A national brand like Gillette signing a deal to market some of the top athletes in CrossFit who are participating in one of the premier CrossFit events in the world reaffirms the popularity and marketability of the “Sport of Fitness.” Gillette reached out to O’Keefe, President of Loud And Live Sport, who also represents many top athletes, about partnering with them on the campaign. For O’Keefe it was a perfect match.


CrossFit Games Comments Cast Doubt on Priority of Athlete Safety

  CrossFit Games Comments Cast Doubt on Priority of Athlete Safety  

An Instagram exchange between the CrossFit Games and a fan caught the attention of the CrossFit community Wednesday. In the exchange, the CrossFit Games downplayed the priority of keeping athletes safe and healthy, saying “toughen up” and disagreeing that the health of athletes should be prioritized above the test of fitness.

*NOTE: The comment thread is long and has been condensed to show the initial comment and the exchange with the CrossFit Games. Neither the content nor the order of comments has been altered.

CrossFit HQ did not return a request for comment after given an opportunity to clarify the remarks.

The big picture: California Governor Gavin Newsom delivered encouraging news Monday that pro sports may begin as early as the first week of June, clearing a potential hurdle for the Games to move forward. However, California and other states are outlining clear restrictions on how these sports can operate.

  • In the NBA, only four players are allowed on-site at a time in states that are allowing teams to return to practice.
  • In the NFL, clubs can allow at most 50% of staff at once with no more than 75 people present.
  • The CrossFit Games has invited 60 athletes, and there will be dozens more potentially between operations, media, and medical.

One big thing: Privately, several Games athletes have expressed doubt to the Morning Chalk Up that safety protocols will be a priority. In official CrossFit Games announcements, they have yet to mention COVID-19 or coronavirus, nor have they released any details regarding safety protocols or procedures they’re planning to take to ensure athlete safety.

Even as fit as professional athletes are, there are several known cases of athletes contracting the virus. Here are a few:



Should Gyms Draft a COVID-19 Waiver?

  Should Gyms Draft a COVID-19 Waiver?  

As affiliates begin reopening all around the world, many are choosing to have their members sign an updated waiver that lets them know they’re taking a risk by going to the gym during the ongoing worldwide pandemic.

Jeremy Brassard, the owner of Armor CrossFit in Ocoee, FL, explained while he’s not worried about his members getting sick from his facility, experience has taught him he should cover all his bases.

  • “(I) just wanted to go over the top…I was a cop for five years and was wrongfully sued twice, and it’s just a huge pain in the butt. This way, there’s no chance,” Brassard said.

So he reached out to a local lawyer, who drafted a new waiver for his gym to add a clause about the COVID-19 risk.




Games Training Prep with Tia-Clair Toomey

In this video, the Fittest Woman on Earth, Tia-Clair Toomey shows you her breakfast and a morning training session including strength training and monostructural conditioning.

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25% Off VIRUS Gear

From training to performing to recovery, VIRUS gear is built to help you in every condition and situation you encounter on your path. Shop the Memorial Day sale now and score 25% off sitewide.

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Chalk Up Founder Dissecting the Games Environment

On this episode of BoxTV, Editor-in-Chief of the Morning Chalk Up, Justin LoFranco joins the hosts of the Argentinian fitness show to discuss the CrossFit Games, the effect of the pandemic on the sport and community and the recent cancelation of the age group division this season.

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Your First Handstand Pushup

Brent Fikowski has designed a program that takes just 30 minutes, 3 days a week, for 6 weeks to get you your first kipping handstand pushup. If you’re nervous to get inverted or struggling to figure out the movement this program is for you.

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The Best Healthy Cole Slaw Ever

Check out this healthy coleslaw recipe made with fresh purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and a kick of heat from jalapeño. There’s no mayo or sugar, just a naturally sweet and slightly tangy dressing with a hint of pure maple syrup. This simple, healthy coleslaw is vegan, paleo & dairy-free and perfect served with your favorite grilling recipes all summer!



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