“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” — Simone Weil
Lefteris Theofanidis on Drug Breach: “I don’t give a shit”
CrossFit HQ announced today that Greek national champion Lefteris Theofanidis was in breach of CrossFit’s drug testing policy. Theofanidis placed third in the CrossFit Open worldwide and tested positive for a banned substance during the 2019 Dubai CrossFit Championship in December. The announcement didn’t say what substances were found, but the national champion is appealing the results, a step commonly taken by athletes in breach.
One big thing: How exactly this will affect backfilling remains unclear. The rulebook says nothing about what would happen if a national champion is in breach of the drug policy.
Section 4.02: “CrossFit, Inc. will only backfill a national champion spot if the national champion decides to compete as a member of a team that will be competing at the Games.”
The rulebook states that the position will not be backfilled if the athlete declines or doesn’t “complete all workouts as prescribed.”
Nothing is said about a drug policy breach, however.
The spot would go to fellow Greek athlete Giorgos Karavis, who also finished 34th worldwide, if HQ decided to backfill the position.
At 34th worldwide, Karavis is actually next in line to receive an invite if another top 20 athlete declined to go team or otherwise declined.
Theofanidis was set to compete at this past weekend’s CrossFit Strength in Depth Sanctional but did not travel to London, England.
In the second year of the national champion system, Theofanidis isn’t the first in breach of the policy. Four national champions tested positive at the 2019 CrossFit Games. Sadly, he is the second Greek national champion to do so in as many years.
Gabor Torok (Hungary)
Anna Fragkou (Greece)
Achilleas Pantazis (Cyprus)
Franky Wood (Honduras)
Unapologetic Theofanidis: Unlike past athletes who have taken to social media to explain, apologize or defend their positive test results, Theofanidis has taken a different approach. In a series of stories on his official Instagram account, he quoted Tupac Shakur’s “Only God Can Judge Me.” Soon after HQ’s announcement, he posted in a series of stories “I Don’t”, “Give”, “A Shit,” a clear shot at the results and the backlash he has received since the announcement. In his Instagram post, he quoted Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor by saying “I would like to apologize to absolutely nobody.”
Looking for a top twenty CrossFit Games finish, Ant Haynes also hopes to transform CrossFit in Asia.
The 2020 CrossFit Games won’t be Ant Haynes’ first rodeo. Last year, the competitor from Hong Kong made an impressive comeback after a rocky start on event one, finishing as high as ninth on the sprint couplet and ending the weekend in 27th place. This August, the 30-year-old thinks he can fare even better, and in the process, he hopes that Asia may become a global hub for CrossFit.
China is a fertile pasture for the sport. The country has nearly 1.4 billion people, many of whom were developed as potential Olympians and now have nowhere to channel their skills.
Haynes: “Traditionally, Chinese culture doesn’t place much importance on leading an active lifestyle after competitive sport.”
However, that may be changing. According to the South China Morning Post, the government is eager to combat lifestyle-based chronic diseases, which could cost $16 trillion by 2030, and has found a willing partner in CrossFit HQ.
HQ has also released a Mandarin version of its website and an app on WeChat, the most popular social media platform in the country.
Haynes: “You’ve got people who’ve done gymnastics before, who’ve done weightlifting before, and normally they would fade off into the distance and never do sport again, but now they have this CrossFit outlet.”
Currently, a new box in China opens about once a week, though the market is less bearish in Hong Kong, where Haynes and his brother opened an affiliate, Coastal Fitness, in 2009, and where there are now seven boxes.
Haynes: “Although there are seven million people here, it’s actually quite small. You’re always within 20 minutes of a CrossFit gym, and Hong Kong is incredibly expensive in terms of real estate.”
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Customers Left In Limbo for Months By VullSport: “I want my clothes or my money back”
Editor’s Note: The decision to publish the story was given serious consideration as well as ample time for VullSport to provide a public statement. Customers left waiting up to two months for orders have expressed a desire for an explanation as to the cause of the delay. Additionally, with VullSport advertising their next new release on February 3, 2020, we believe that the community of customers, current and future, have the right to make informed decisions about the purchases they make. — Justin LoFranco, Editor-in-Chief
Apparel company VullSport has come under fire for failing to explain why customers were left waiting up to eight weeks for items purchased during its Black Friday sale, and raises questions about its compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 30-day Rule.
The Morning Chalk Up launched an investigation more than two weeks ago after speaking with ten disgruntled customers who made purchases between November 28 and December 1, a number of customers reported waiting until late January to receive a shipping notification and their goods.
One of the customers – Valentina Cecchi – is yet to receive her three items purchased: “I am (or was) a regular customer. I bought a lot and my last purchase was made for Black Friday. I want my clothes, or my money back,” she said. Valentina is yet to receive a shipping notification but finally received an email on January 29, two months after her purchase which read: “Your order has reached Australia and should get to you soon.”
Peejay Lawson waited until January 17 to receive her full order, which came in two shipments. “We love VULL. All we wanted was a simple ‘Hey guys …’ and we could of completely understood and waited for our items,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.
Missy Gee waited eight weeks for her goods to be shipped and said: “I definitely feel like Vull should have given an explanation for the delay. Even if these become my favorite workout tanks I will probably not order from them again just because of the way they handled the transaction.”
Tiffany Evanchof waited until January 23 to receive her shipment and while she said it was exactly what she wanted: “It makes me feel bitter towards the company and I get that it’s a small business but I feel like all the customers deserve some kind of explanation for this.”
The law expressly states that companies are required to ship orders in the time frame the company has specified, or 30 days at the latest if no time was originally promised.
VullSport states on their website for domestic orders: “All orders ship within 2-3 days via USPS.” It also says: “New releases can sometimes take longer, when excessive order volume comes in.”
If a company cannot ship within that time frame or 30 days, customers must be contacted to provide their consent for the delay and include the option to cancel an order for a “full and prompt refund.”
A company’s obligations to fulfill begins when payment is received.
A search for answers: Customers began taking to social media to voice their concern that orders hadn’t arrived. VullSport subsequently disabled the commenting feature on its Instagram account. What’s more, Kat Leone has also switched her personal Instagram account to private.
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CrossFit Kids Builds Confidence and Momentum across Fitness Community
CrossFit Kids classes have become a staple offering at boxes across the affiliate community; some boasting a hundred or more young athletes in their programs. As is often the case with CrossFit though, the specter of “safety” is always lurking. Here are a few pieces that have shown up on our radar over the past few days, all of which address the safety question, but more importantly, highlight the significance of proper, well-coached physical activity in building physical, mental and emotional fitness in young people.
CrossFit Gardendale in Gardendale, ALoffers kids classes to athletes as young as seven years old. The twice-a-week classes focus on bodyweight movements only, no loading for the youngsters. Affiliate owner, Chad Langston notes that more than anything else, the workouts help the kids build self-confidence.
Milton, Ontario’s FirePower Kids, the largest CrossFit Kids gym in Canada, has a membership of 200 children participating in age group-based classes of 20 or more. All the classes focus on basic functional fitness — running, jumping, squatting and hanging — but the young athletes then learn weightlifting fundamentals with PVC pipes and light dumbbells before progressing into increasingly loaded movements.
The South China Morning Post recently profiled the kids’ fitness movement, focusing on CrossFit Asphodel in Hong Kong. There, children as young as three-and-a-half years old can begin participating in classes, where the focus in game-based fitness and the kids never lift anything heavier than five pounds.
Other companies within the fitness market are taking note of the success and growth of CrossFit Kids. For example, digital fitness startup NEOU, the self-dubbed “NetFlix of fitness,” has just released a new concept called NEO Kids, geared toward children in the 6-12 age range. The service is available to stream for a monthly fee.