“I will not lose, for even in defeat, there’s a valuable lesson learned, so it evens up for me.”- Jay-Z
CrossFit Games Athletes and Community Respond to Firing of Dave Castro
The sudden firing of longtime CrossFit Games mastermind, Dave Castro, has sent shockwaves throughout the sport – especially coming just seven weeks before the 2022 CrossFit Open. With many questions still unanswered, we compiled CrossFit Games athletes, current and former, and well-known figures in the community’s initial reactions that they posted publicly or responded to us directly.
It’s worth noting: Though many on social media have been outspoken since the news of Castro being fired, it’s important to point out several high-level Games athletes have remained silent. Our staff reached out to dozens of athletes and most carried a similar tune responding with “no comment.” While those we did speak with cohesively voiced sadness and frustration, we have yet to hear if any athletes feel this was a positive move for the sport.
CrossFit Games Athletes
Patrick Vellner: “He’s done a good job programming for years. But he’s always been part of a team and now we get to see what the team can do without him.”
Lazar Đukić: “I really don’t know what to think of it. Not sure how they thought it’s gonna benefit the sport moving forward to do this just before the season starts. Also, we knew what to expect (sometimes we didn’t know), but it was familiar. I’m curious to see what happens next starting with the Open.”
Caroline Conners: “I’m really disappointed. As an athlete who’s spent 5+ years working to make it to the Games, it’s such a letdown to not have more opportunities to experience the Games that we all know. Dave was a huge part of the experience. Even just for affiliate members participating in the Open. He is the face of competitive CrossFit. Whether you love him or hate him, it was a part of your experience. I have a hard time envisioning walking onto the playing field and seeing someone else try to fill his shoes. Being able to get briefed from Castro and see behind the scenes at the games was one of the coolest experiences. He was the last most authentic thing about the sport. I just hope they maintain the spirit of what he has built.”
Michelle Basnett: “Honestly, there is very little to almost no info on the situation (as to why) and just like a lot of people, I am not happy about the choice to fire him. I think Dave is a big part of the culture that’s been created in the sport of CrossFit and whether you like him or hate him you gotta give the guy credit for what he’s done for the sport over the years, really since the beginning. Unless there’s something going on that we haven’t been informed on then I’d say it was uncalled for and it was obviously not a mutual decision. Maybe this is a good choice for CrossFit but right now, it doesn’t really feel like it. It just feels like another change to the sport and we have A LOT of that over the last few years. He was a constant and they just took that away.”
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CrossFit Affiliates Increase By Nearly 1,400 in 2021, Home Office Plans to See Upward Curve Continue in 2022
As CrossFit gyms around the globe ring in the New Year with hopes to make 2022 a success, CrossFit Home Office already has plans to ensure another year of affiliate growth. While the fitness industry saw a major hit due to the pandemic, there has actually been an uptick in CrossFit affiliates.
Why it matters: Contrary to what’s been happening to big box gyms and other “boutique” style fitness centers this past year, CrossFit as a company seems to be headed in the right direction. Although places like Ontario, Canada are still facing shutdowns and mandates inside their gyms, affiliate growth nationwide has been a success.
“We’ve grown about 1,400 affiliates since last year. That growth has been led outside of the U.S. which is even crazier based on what’s gone on with COVID and the restrictions, local municipalities not supporting financially small businesses, and that’s just been relentless support that our country managers have provided, said Gary Gaines, the general manager of global affiliates and international with CrossFit.
By the numbers:
At the start of 2021, there were 9,400 CrossFit affiliates worldwide.
By the end of the year, paying affiliates increased by 1,400 rounding out to 10,800 leading into the New Year.
In total, however, affiliations are closer to 12,500 which includes non-paying gyms such as affiliates in prisons and schools.
Home Office is staying tight-lipped about what their 2022 goal for affiliations is, but Gaines says they’re looking to exceed where CrossFit has ever been with no end to their growth in sight.
“The largest this company has been in that paid cohort is right around 11,715 and we plan on beating that…” said Gaines.
“We have a North Star metric of impacting 100-million lives through CrossFit. It’s going to come through a number of different channels but that is our target condition and that’s what we get up every single day to try and achieve and inch closer to that milestone,” Gaines continued.
The recent news of Dave Castro being fired from his position of General Manager of Sport for CrossFit has sent shockwaves across the community. For the past 15 years, Castro has been the undeniable leader of the sport, and in CrossFit’s own words “a driving force behind the systemization of CrossFit into the Sport of Fitness.”
While Castro’s influences were far reaching, he was most infamously known for the impact his programing had on the wider community. That impact is too substantial to capture in a singular written piece, so instead it will be split into a trio of articles framed under the structure of the CrossFit Games season starting with the Open.
Thrusters and Chest to Bar Pull-Ups
Beginning with the first ever open, thrusters and chest to bar pull-ups were featured in the finale that was 11.6: a 7:00 ladder of thrusters and chest to bar pull-ups starting with three of each and adding three reps every round.
This combination was made famous by Fran, but has built its legacy throughout the Open:
12.5 was a repeat of 11.6
13.5 was another variation of the same two movements
Then there was a four year hiatus from this combination while thrusters were paired with burpees, rowing, and double unders.
But lo and behold, in 2018 we had 18.5, which was also 12.5 and 11.6 (the first time a workout was repeated for a third time)
19.5 once again saw the same two movements but with the amped up 33-27-21-15-9 rep scheme
If you’re counting, half of the Open seasons we’ve had have ended with the thruster / chest to bar pull up combination, making it the most iconic combination in the history of Dave Castro programming the Open.
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