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More Athletes Boycott the CrossFit Games

Morning Chalk Up

June 23

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Slowly but surely, elite athletes are lining up to boycott the CrossFit Games later this summer, Tommy Marquez has more. And, what does the path forward look like for former affiliates seeking to re-brand? Today:

  • Five more elite athletes withdrew from the Games over the weekend.
  • Brand awareness is critical, but what are the complications?
  • O2’s #StayforMay vouchers end soon. Make sure to get yours.

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“I’d rather be the guy doing and failing than the guy doing nothing more than telling others they’ve failed.” – Greg Everett


Athlete Boycotts Continue, Tally Hits 20

 Athlete Boycotts Continue, Tally Hits 20 

The list of qualified athletes choosing to boycott the 2020 CrossFit Games continues to grow as another batch of big names made their intentions to skip this year’s contest known over the weekend through a collection of posts on social media, bringing the total tally to 20. The latest group includes 2013 CrossFit Games Champion and legend of the sport Sam Briggs, and 2017 silver medalist, and perennial podium contender Brent Fikowski.

Five athletes in total joined the list of names boycotting the Games under the current CrossFit Inc. ownership, with four-time individual qualifier Tim Paulson, three-time indy qualifier Camilla Salomonsson-Hellman, and two-time qualifier Emma McQuaid joining Samantha Briggs and Brent Fikowski.

  • Briggs: “Until CrossFit has new ownership and I can once again say I’m proud to be called a CrossFit athlete, I will not represent or compete under the brand.”
  • FIkowski: “I’ve made the decision to not attend the 2020 CrossFit Games. If you’ve been following the news the last two weeks the reasons are pretty obvious”
  • Paulson: “It’s with an incredibly heavy heart that I say I will not be competing in my 4th Crossfit Games — for many of the same reasons we are de-affiliating (Pallas Fitness). It’s time to stand up for change.
  • Salomonsson-Hellman: “I’m no longer proud or comfortable competing under the name Crossfit until bigger changes are put in place. In my opinion, it’s not enough that Greg is stepping down as a CEO.”
  • McQuaid: “I will not be competing at the CrossFit Games as long as the ownership remains as it presently is.”

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A Damaged Brand, or No Brand Awareness at All?

 A Damaged Brand, or No Brand Awareness at All? 

Is it better to work with a damaged brand that has some serious brand awareness, or one with no brand awareness at all?

That’s the question CrossFit affiliates have been grappling with since the CrossFit brand took a turn for the worst in recent days.

While many affiliates had already co-branded before the scandal broke — some have a certain degree of local brand awareness in their respective cities — hundreds of others still live or die by the name CrossFit, explained Jim Crowell, OPEX Fitness CEO. This has left many grappling with the question of how to successfully rebrand.

Rebranding, and especially creating brand awareness, is challenging, said Crowell, who works directly with gym owners — both OPEX-licensed gyms and others — to develop their unique brand.

  • “All the people in CrossFit right now who are jumping ship so quickly might not be looking at the trade off…The trade off being that they don’t have a brand anymore. CrossFit has brand awareness and you can’t underestimate that,” Crowell said.
  • “It’s not just putting a new sign on the door and calling it a new brand. Nobody knowing your name: That’s difficult to overcome,” he added.

Crowell knows this firsthand because he admitted that, although OPEX is a well-known brand in the CrossFit world, the general population has no idea what OPEX is. So when a new OPEX gym opens up, they don’t have brand awareness on a local level, Crowell explained.


O2 and Partners Contribute More than $4 Million in #StayforMay Vouchers, Loyal Gym Members Benefit

 O2 and Partners Contribute More than $4 Million in #StayforMay Vouchers, Loyal Gym Members Benefit 

In the early weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown, O2 Recovery and their community partners, including Born Primitive, Pouri, and Bear KompleX came together to help local gym owners with a “Community Coalition” program.

Following quickly on its heels, O2 launched the #StayforMay campaign in which any member at a qualifying gym could earn a $100 gift voucher ($25 each for O2, Born Primitive, Pouri, and Bear KompleX) simply by keeping their gym membership active for the month of May.

If your gym qualified and you stayed active in May, you’ve got until June 25 to redeem and use your gift voucher.

Some stats: Of the 2,633 gyms that qualified, 1,740 have had at least 1 member redeem their #StayforMay voucher.

  • On average, there have been 23 voucher signups per gym. That means approximately $4 million in gift voucher value contributed to the community for their loyalty so far.
  • There are dozens of gyms with more than 100 voucher sign-ups and a handful with more than 200.
  • O2, Pouri, and Born Primitive are offering more prizes and incentives for gyms who sign up the most members. Check out the leaderboard.

Find out if your gym qualified and ask your coach or owner for the link.

All gift vouchers expire on June 25, so it’s now or never!


CrossFit Athletes… What Now?

 CrossFit Athletes… What Now? 

By Maddy Myers

We, as athletes, also have a role to play. If we sit by silently and say nothing, are we not also complicit?

Athletes, we are the role models for many. We represent what it means to be strong, resilient, and hard-working human beings. Day in and day out we push our bodies to their limits. We are experts at being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Now is a time to be uncomfortable. This discomfort may feel strange, but it is not unlike the discomfort we feel during a grueling workout. It will be mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically zapping. For many, athletics is more than a health hobby: it is a passion, and for some a career. I don’t discount that there is a lot on the line. Choosing between taking a stance on something that feels political or remaining silent can be both a business decision and a matter of principle. I hope we focus on the latter… simply put, this is a matter of right and wrong.

For those of us who choose to explicitly support the Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements as well as come out against Glassman and CrossFit Inc., we will certainly receive words of hate. We will be told to stay in our lanes and to not get “political.” Basic human rights are inherently political. It takes political will to change systems that are endemically corrupt. In this sense, the problems at CrossFit are a metaphor for一and an exercise against一the world’s greatest struggles. We may be opposed, but we will also be supported by the CrossFit community and by Americans at large.

According to Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement. A Monmouth University poll found that 76% of Americans consider racism and discrimination a “big problem” (this is up 26 points from 2015). The numbers regarding American feelings towards sexual assault are hard to come by, but it is safe to assume that the great majority are strongly against it. A study conducted by Ipsos and NPR found that 69% of Americans surveyed felt that the MeToo movement created a climate in which offenders will now be held accountable. No one champions Larry Nassar, Jerry Sandusky, or Jeffrey Epstein. In a short time, I believe no one will champion Greg Glassman (except, perhaps, his former lawyer Dale Saran) .

I think of those professional athletes who so inspired me. I think about the women of USA Gymnastics and how one woman, Rachael Denhollander, was the spark that inspired the rest to join and tell their conflagration of stories. Together, they changed the sport and achieved some semblance of justice. I think about Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick, and Megan Rapinoe一each more alone, but still standing, or kneeling, strong. Where is the chorus of CrossFit athletes unequivocally saying what we stand for? Ours has been a sport based on strength and perseverance, community, and support. But those can’t just be words. They have to be actions that we embody not just in the gym or at Games. Athletes who have completed an event turn back to cheer on their competitors. If ever there was a community where we could show that we are stronger together, it is CrossFit.




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Sean and Tommy on the Delay of Games and Dave’s Districts

In this episode, the Talking Elite Fitness crew discuss the CrossFit Games delay announcement and the development of affiliate representative districts.

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