“The greatest use of a life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”- William James
European Championships Ends with “Large Amount of Debt”, Organizers Unsure They Will Be Able to Pay
After promising a £40,000 prize purse, European Championships organizer Carl Saville informed athletes last week the competition that was held in a 10,000-seater stadium in Nottingham, England in August racked up “a large amount of debt,” and ultimately athletes can’t expect to be paid any time soon, if at all.
The details: “We have now finalized detail with the venue and despite having the largest footfall in our event’s history, we also had the lowest paying spectator tickets in our history, too,” Seville wrote about his event, which took place August 19-21 and was won by three-time CrossFit Games athlete Uldis Upenieks and 23-year-old up-and-comer Aimee Cringle.
“The disappointing news above means the competition has now been left in a large amount of debt, which we’re working incredibly hard to try and resolve and keep the event in operation,” he continued.
The solutions Seville is seeking are more sponsors, bringing on investors, and possibly trying to sell the event to be able to pay the remaining balance, he said.
If he is able to secure sponsors or investors, he said “we will look to make staggered percentage payments to ensure you receive a part payment as soon as possible and to ensure all athletes are in the same position.”
One big thing:Low spectator attendance was also one of the main reasons Atlas Games Semifinals co-owner and director Alexis Leblanc-Bazinet said his event wasn’t profitable last season.
“People need to jump in and make sure they buy tickets, make sure they go to sponsors to buy stuff. So if everyone wants to come back, people have to spend money,” Leblanc-Bazinet told the Morning Chalk Up after the Atlas Games.
The big picture: Not being able to pay athletes in a timely manner, or at all, because competitions can’t seem to make money, is becoming an unfortunate trend in the sport today. Just yesterday, we reported on a similar situation with the British Columbia-based competition, the CanWest Games, bringing up the question content creator Jason CF Media (Jason Croxon) did on his recent podcast: “Is it right to offer a prize purse based on a potential source of income and revenue that you haven’t yet established?”
Regardless of the answer to that question, it is becoming clear that advertised prize purses don’t mean a whole lot, which is embarrassing for the sport as a whole and needs to be amended if CrossFit is ever going to be seen as a legitimate professional sport.
Dreaming of Pumpkin Spice? Beam Has Got You Covered.
In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil, the host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Matt O’Keefe, the chief executive officer of HWPO, and Jared Graybeal, the general manager of Underdogs Athletics, about whether or not they think the CrossFit Games needs a competitor. 🤔
Tune in this Friday, October 7: Morning Chalk Up’s Preslie Hirsch will be chatting with Kirsten Ahrendt, Director of Coach Development and Education at Invictus, on how to build community in a gym of 400+ members. Coffee Break Conversations, weekly live deep-dives with an industry expert, are exclusive to RX members (join for $1 here!).
Athlete signing: Emma Tall is the latest CrossFit elite to sign with TYR, joining the likes of Patrick Vellner and Travis Mayer.
Comp update: Round one of invites for The TYR Wodapalooza were sent out yesterday, then round two will be sent out this Thursday, Oct. 6, with the final round being sent out this Saturday.
CrossFit CEO Don Faul Aims to Tackle “Misperceptions” in New Role
CrossFit announced on August 2 that Marine veteran Don Faul had taken over as CEO. He has only been in the role for just over two months, but he is already on a mission to change perceptions about the training style and the community.
The details: Faul addressed his new role during an appearance on the “My Other Passion” podcast from Front Office Sports. He detailed some of his background working for companies such as Facebook and Pinterest, as well as lessons learned during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps.
It was during this conversation Faul identified the most pressing concern for CrossFit, in his opinion. He said that there need to be some changes in how the general public sees the training style. Like those that head to the box every day, he has heard the criticism about “having an orthopedic surgeon close by” (editor’s note: thanks, Mark Wahlberg) or how CrossFit is only for “very intense” people.
“I think the first thing that absolutely jumps out is until you’ve experienced CrossFit, I think there’s a lot of folks who have misperceptions that, ‘Hey, you’ve got to be really fit to do CrossFit,’ or, ‘Hey, I see these athletes lifting really heavy weights and [it’s] completely dangerous.’”
“And the truth is, if you experience it, had the opportunity to do CrossFit, you’ve seen like I have people of every age, every fitness level, folks who are recovering from injury, folks who have metabolic disease, folks who are over 65 years old. You’ve seen their lives change through it. You’ve seen the community welcome them. You’ve seen them achieve things that they never thought were possible.”
Faul explained that these “missed perceptions” still exist despite the massive changes that everyday people have made over the years. He acknowledged that CrossFit has touched millions of lives, but he sees an opportunity to reach even more.
“So I think back to my own experience and think, ‘Gosh, I am… we have to figure out how to do a better job of helping more people realize that CrossFit can be for them, that CrossFit can be for anyone.”
Approaching this goal: Reaching millions more people is a lofty goal, but it’s easier said than done. How will Faul and CrossFit HQ accomplish it? There are a few different ways.
First is highlighting even more stories from the community and focusing on those that overcame an illness, injury, or another hurdle. This is something that Faul specifically highlighted when he took over as CEO.
The second focus is on establishing a long-term plan for affiliates and members. Where does CrossFit want to be in 2030 other than simply being bigger? Faul wants to establish a game plan and keep the lines of communication open with affiliates.
An interesting tease: One other thing that Faul briefly mentioned during this discussion is the ongoing plan to work with key sponsors. Rogue, NOBULL, and Trifecta among others will return with their CrossFit focus. However, CrossFit HQ will also work with some others that have an “audience overlap” with people that don’t necessarily use this training style.
Faul did not detail any of the potential partners or provide a date for when these moves will take place. He simply indicated that these talks are ongoing as he spends more time in his role as CEO.
“We’re hustling really hard to kind of think about what are the right types of relationships. We’ve got a bunch already that fit the mold and, hopefully, some new ones going into next year that we’re excited about.”
The changing landscape: Another line item for Faul to address is the number of fitness enthusiasts that have built gyms in their homes. COVID-19 forced the closure of facilities around the world and some people just remained at home with dumbbells, exercise bikes, and other equipment.
Getting these people back in the gym is not a matter of proving how one type of programming is better than something found on YouTube or an app. It’s about another important factor – the community and the mental benefits.
“We need community. We need connection, and there is just no substitute for having people around you to motivate you, to challenge you, to support you, to push you in terms of what you get out of this fitness experience.”
“I think the future of fitness is hybrid. It’s going to be largely physical, but where we need to provide the flexibility of where if you are working from home that day, you can walk out to your garage, grab a pair of dumbbells, and get a great workout. And then the next day show up to your box and reconnect with your community.”
The mission is set: Faul has his goals in place, and he has plans to succeed. Will he achieve this by 2030 or another milestone? No one knows the exact answer, but there is one thing that Faul repeatedly mentioned during his appearance on “My Other Passion.” He sees nothing that will be better for the everyday person.
“There is nothing that works as well as CrossFit, period. Full stop. If you look at the results of the folks who stick to it and commit, they are healthier, they have better outcomes, they are generally happier.”
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CrossFit HQ Confirms Pedro Martins Supplements Were Contaminated
CrossFit HQ announced a final ruling on Brazilian Pedro Martins drug sanction after the appeals process, reducing his sanction from the typical four-year ban to only two years. CrossFit did not initially give a reason for the reduced sentence but the 34-year-old Martins has since revealed he was able to prove his supplements were tainted after a Morning Chalk Up inquiry.
What they’re saying: “Through a lengthy process that included Pedro Martin’s original disclosure of the supplements he used, and then having those supplements lab-tested, he was able to prove that his supplements were in fact contaminated with Clomiphene,” said Justin Bergh, CrossFit’s general manager of Sport.
“CrossFit never issued a four-year penalty since his appeal was still pending. However, despite evidence that his supplements were contaminated, Pedro will serve a minimum two-year ban for competing with banned substances in his system.”
One big thing: This is the second athlete in recent history who has been able to prove that their supplements were, in fact, contaminated and didn’t knowingly take a performance-enhancing drug. However, this is still a very rare occurrence as the process is lengthy, complicated and expensive.
Larissa Cunha, also from Brazil, received only a two-year ban in 2021 after proving her supplements were tainted. She’s eligible to compete in the 2024 Games season.
Martins is eligible to compete again in the 2025 Games season.
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