“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”- Michael Jordan
BREAKING: CrossFit Fires Dave Castro
Dave Castro has been fired from his position as general manager of Sport for CrossFit LLC by Eric Roza, according to an internal email circulated to CrossFit employees on January 4. The change comes seven weeks before the 2022 CrossFit Games season kicks off and Roza said the decision was “difficult” in the internal memo.
“(Dave’s) vision, creativity and drive have taken the CrossFit Games from an informal backyard competition at his family’s ranch into a global phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of participants and millions of viewers worldwide,” said Roza in the memo.
Castro confirmed the firing to Morning Chalk Up via text, however, did not respond to a further request for comment.
One big thing: The most immediate question is who replaces Castro, who just wrapped up his 15th CrossFit Games as its first and only director. He’ll be replaced by longtime CrossFit employee Justin Bergh who is being promoted from his position as VP of Sport and Partnerships.
Roza in an email to employees: “I have made the difficult decision to change the leadership of the Sport team to best support CrossFit’s go-forward plans, and Dave Castro will be leaving the business.”
The big picture: The Games has only ever had one director since its inception in the backyard of Castro’s ranch in Aromas, CA in 2007. As such, for the past 15 years, it’s been stamped with a uniquely Castro feel.
In that time, Castro has transformed the Games from a backyard barbeque competition to a major international event broadcast live on CBS Sports.
Given the proximity of the start of the season, it’s unlikely that any significant changes will take place to the overall season and structure.
With the CrossFit Games still eight months away, however, we could be looking at a different Games look, feel and presentation.
The bottom line: Castro’s exodus from the sport of CrossFit will be widely felt across the industry as he’s been instrumental in shaping every facet of the sport of CrossFit.
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Five Cities (Outside of North America) that Could Host a Future CrossFit Games
The hunt is on and the rumors are flying, CrossFit LLC is looking to take the CrossFit Games into new territory, physically speaking starting as early as 2023. Of course, the first step is to break from Madison, Wisconsin, and the iconic ranch and host an edition in an American city. Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado have confirmed they put bids in and appear to be frontrunners for the near future.
But we all know Eric Roza’s grand plans as the new CEO of CrossFit, he wants to tap emerging markets around the world, and there is no better way to help a sport catch fire in a new region by hosting a local event. However Covid-19 is still in play and getting dozens of elite athletes into a foreign country could prove too much for a few years, but one thinks sooner or later our “new normal” will actually be normal.
So with that in mind let’s have some fun for a moment and dream big as to where CrossFit could take its flagship event in the future as it looks to globalize the sport.
Reykjavík, Iceland – This one is a no-brainer given the foothold the sport has in Iceland and the myriad of elite competitors who have come from there. Sara Sigmundsdóttir, Björgvin Karl Guðmundsson, Annie Thorisdottir, Katrin Davidsdottir, the list goes on and on. Icelanders love their sporting events too, and the sporting nation, which has approximately 330,000 people, regularly overachieves in a number of disciplines including soccer, basketball, and handball.
Reykjavik may be a good play during this pandemic given it’s a tiny country built for social distancing located in the middle of an ocean. August weather would mean it wouldn’t be freezing, and the city has a number of suitable venues that could accommodate the CrossFit Games, most notably the Laugardalshöll, which is a multi-purpose venue right in the heart of the city.
Sao Paolo, Brazil – Given Brazil is CrossFit’s biggest market outside of the US, this one seems like an easy pick, on paper at least. However Brazil is a third-world country, and Covid-19 has been running wild and free there since the onset of the pandemic. Venues are aplenty and this would be one heck of a party, that’s for sure.
According to reports the sport first got its foothold in Sao Paolo back in 2009 when Joel Fridman opened a box, and Roza has said Brazil is his first target in terms of kicking off a new era and CrossFit’s international push. Brazilians would rally around the event for sure, and we’re already starting to see athletes emerge from the nation will elite level ambitions, with 22-year-old Guilherme Malheiros leading the charge.
From Whiteboard Discussion to Paid Programming, CrossFit Affiliate Program Hits the Market With About 2,000 Affiliates, $4 Million Annually
For the past six months, CrossFit affiliates have had the opportunity to test out the CrossFit Affiliate Programming free of charge. But with the change of the calendar year, CAP officially hit the market and affiliates will now pay for programming.
At the launch of CAP, membership exploded with nearly 1,800 affiliates signing up in just the first 24-hours. Since then, well over 4,000 affiliates took advantage of the program leading into the New Year. The question now is – how many plan to stay with the $150 monthly fee?
“In terms of what we think will transition to the paid product, we’ll keep that tight but we’ve spit out a number that we’re super confident in and that’s based on usage, downloads, and what individuals are viewing of the product,” said Gary Gaines, the general manager of global affiliates and international with CrossFit.
Of the more than 4,000 affiliates signed up, Gaines says around 2,000 are regularly using and active with the programming – foreshadowing their expectation of affiliates that will continue with CAP come January 1.
“Will it be all 4,500? No, I’ll confidently tell you that but we should see about half of those transition to the paid product,” continued Gaines.
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