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“World-First” at Australian CrossFit Championship

Morning Chalk Up

February 26


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Four years ago today the Morning Chalk Up sent out its first newsletter to the CrossFit community. Founder and editor-in-chief, Justin LoFranco, reflects on the past four years below. And, we’ve got Sanctionals news and updates as the season moves toward the midway point. Today: 

  • A note on the past four years.
  • Sanctionals payouts already top $1 million for 2019-2020.
  • The Australian CrossFit Championship will introduce the CrossFit world to “Flags.”

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“The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to find a mode of being that’s so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.” – Jordan Peterson


A Note on Four Years


Today marks four years of Morning Chalk Up emails hitting inboxes just in time for your first cup of coffee. Honestly, I never actually thought we’d get here.

What started as a solo project I kickstarted while sleeping on the floor of my parents’ pool house has turned into an actual company with about eight freelance writers and a handful of key operations staffers. This seems so massive compared to even two years ago when this was pretty much still a solo operation. Truthfully, we are still a small company with a lot of growing up to do.

After publishing more than 1100 individual newsletters, there’s one defining characteristic of this company that’s never changed: a commitment to producing solid, quality journalism that serves this community.

Reporting the news is a privilege and a trust we need to earn daily. As we move into our fifth year, this commitment is even more important.

This has been the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m having fun every day of this journey. So, thank you for making this whole thing possible because without you I’d probably still be living with mom and dad.

Justin LoFranco


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$1 Million in Payouts Already Earned this Season

 $1 Million in Payouts Already Earned this Season 

With Wodapalooza over we’re about a third of the way through the 2019-2020 Sanctional season.

One big thing: Though we don’t have a full picture of all future payouts, the available prize money has increased significantly from last year due in large part to the contribution from Loud and Live’s five Sanctionals, awarding nearly $1.3 million — a majority of which will go to elite individuals.

  • $1,012,852: The total prize money earned so far this season.
  • $2.3 million: The approximate prize purse of the 2020 CrossFit Games.
  • $3,072,856: The total prize money earned by individual athletes during the 2018-2019 season.
  • Track all payouts on our season payout leaderboard.

How athletes are doing so far: There are 27 total Sanctionals planned this season up from 15 last year. Eight events have been completed with several serious money makers still up for grabs.

  • West Coast Classic — $40,000
  • Granite Games — $25,000
  • Madrid CrossFit Championship — $10,000
  • Rogue Invitational — $50,000 + $5,000 per event win
  • French Throwdown — $11,000


  1. Patrick Vellner — $105,060
  2. Brent Fikowski — $64,500
  3. Roman Khrennikov — $37,500
  4. Cole Sager — $30,000
  5. Lazar Dukic — $22,520
  6. Noah Ohlsen — $22,020
  7. Jeffrey Adler — $20,020
  8. Saxon Panchik — $16,500
  9. Chandler Smith — $15,500
  10. Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundson — $12,500


  1. Sara Sigmundsdottir — $119,020
  2. Tia-Clair Toomey — $73,080
  3. Sam Briggs — $44,520
  4. Karin Freyova — $38,500
  5. Jamie Greene — $24,000
  6. Kari Pearce — $23,020
  7. Amanda Barnhart — $17,020
  8. Gabriela Migala — $16,725
  9. Haley Adams — $11,962
  10. Emily Rolfe — $11,500

Another “World-First” at a Sanctioned Event: Why “Flags” will be Included in Australia

 Another "World-First" at a Sanctioned Event: Why "Flags" will be Included in Australia 

Another brand-new event will debut at the Australian CrossFit Championship (ACC) next month, following the lead of several Sanctionals that already introduced culturally significant implements and events this season.

The ACC took to Instagram to introduce the “Flags” event, but to Australians, the iconic beach sport needs no introduction.

  • Event organizer Darren Coughlan told the Morning Chalk Up: “There has been some sprinting and agility components in previous CrossFit Games, and even though we are not trying to replicate the Games, I did want to throw in something that is an iconic Aussie sport but also has relevance for those trying to reach the top end.”
  • “The fact that there will be physical contact between athletes is something new at this level, so I’m very keen to see who really goes for the win,” he added.

How it works: Competitors will be asked to lay down on the starting line, facing away from the “Flags” or small rubber poles in the sand, a short distance away.

There are always fewer “Flags” then there are competitors, so when the whistle blows it’s a turnaround sprint to grab one. Any competitor who misses out is eliminated. It continues in this fashion until there’s only one man standing.

  • Many Australian children grow up doing a weekend sport known as “Nippers” which could be described as the CrossFit Kids of Surf Lifesaving training. Flags is one of the first events they are trained in, practicing speed and agility on the sand.
  • Beach Flags were introduced at a Surf Lifesaving carnival in 1947 and have been a staple in beach competitions ever since.

In the past two years since the introduction of worldwide Sanctionals, we’ve seen a number of culturally significant nods as events seek to embrace the diversity that is being promoted from the top at Crossfit.

Taking the baton and running with it: Each Sanctional is independent and therefore is able to inject creativity and excitement into their event, however they see fit.

  • Dave Castro, while openly saying he doesn’t closely follow the programing at sanctioned events, was open about his aversion to the inclusion of shooting at the Rogue Invitational.

Castro told the ShootingUSA Podcast: “I do not believe that shooting should be involved in any of our CrossFit competitions that have weight to them or that have qualification to get someone to the Games.”

  • “Shooting has nothing to do with the test of fitness. Fundamentally, we’re testing fitness … and in those qualifying events, we’re testing fitness again to get the fittest to the next stage,” he said.
  • Our very own Tommy Marquez discussed the innovative events and “…a way of mitigating it overall effects” on competition on his Talking Elite Fitness Podcast.

While ACC HAS yet to release how the “Flags” event will be scored, Tommy and Sean Woodland used the Strength In Depth rowing example; IT scored the event with 50 points instead of 100, to weight the new-innovative movement against more traditional CrossFit programming.


Sanctional News and Notes




Four Things Jacob Heppner Learned in Canada

This episode of Jacob Heppner’s vlog is packed full of tips on the snatch, clean and jerk, swimming, and diaphragm breathing. Heppner talks about all the tips he picked up at CrossFit Lolo in Victoria, BC and how they can help you.

 Morning Chalk Up 



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Tommy Marquez Live at Wodapalooza with Logan Aldridge and Steph Hammerman

Wodapalooza was one of the first events to feature an adaptive athlete division, and athletes Logan Aldridge and Steph Hammerman sit down with Tommy to talk about their journey in the community, the development and overall state of adaptive training in CrossFit, and how they’re working to create more opportunities for athletes in the next generation.

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