Yesterday CrossFit held a press conference following the end of the Semifinals. Here are 3 takeaways from the press conference that we think you should know about.
The conference was headed by General Manager of Sport Justin Bergh, and CrossFit Competition Director Adrian Bozman. At the end of the conference, three athletes joined the conference: Brent Fikowski, Lazar Dukic, and Emma McQuaid.
Accountability for Safety, Movements Standards in Competitions
The first question posed to Bergh and Bozman was surrounding the accountability for the safety of athletes during competitions. This is in light of Scott Panchik’s injury at the Syndicate Crown when he asked for the rope length at the legless rope climb event to be shortened so nobody would get hurt and, in the end, Panchik withdrew due to falling on top of the rope while descending.
“Under the system that we are running this year, ultimately, that is a decision and accountability that we have allowed the event organisers to own,” Bergh says, although he agrees that more needs to be done and communication needs to be improved. “Needs improved communication and more direct accountability before the stage takes place.”
Bergh says they want event organisers to have as much freedom as possible to program for the elite individuals in ways that match their competition venues.
Bergh also says that “the inconsistency from one event to the next is it did not affect the overall results from that competition.” This means that the shortened length of the rope in the event in one Semifinal did not provide an advantage to athletes from another different Semifinal.
That is, however, disputable, as Scott Panchik was well on the way to being in a Games qualifying spot before he had to withdraw due to his injury.
“The reality is athletes brought this to our attention. The evidence that they brought was weighed against the evidence of past competition, the experience that we’ve had running these competitions for,” Bozman said and “all of that was weighed before the decision was made.”
Online and On-Site Judging Criticism
More recently there appears to have more people complaining online about the judging of some events, either on-line or in-person competitions. The most notable one is Andrew Hiller who makes nearly daily videos on his YouTube channel to call out on any athlete who should get a no-rep, but instead, for one reason or another, gets by.
Bozman says that this isn’t new, that there has always been criticism of judging both online and in-person, but that we are currently in a hyper-critical moment. “There should be a healthy level of pressure put on people that choose to engage in sport in that way and I think in the same regard that should be a healthy level of pressure put on the athletes to conduct themselves in a way that’s in accordance with the standards that they’re being asked to do.”
“That’s always a priority for us to get the judging as squared away as it possibly can be and that’s something that we are very committed to doing in the future,” he continues saying they hired new people to “help bolster our review team” to be more effective in both online and in-person competitions.
Athletes Being Drug Tested
CrossFit conducts drug testing at all Semifinal events and those results usually come back 10 to 14 days after the competition is done and we could be seeing some athletes being banned for failing their tests.
“We have results back from some of the earlier weeks,” Bergh says. “There are athletes who have either adverse findings or findings that require additional testing.” CrossFit will first inform those athletes and allow their B sample tested. “We will share those results once the B sample either confirms the result form the initial [test].”
CrossFit Press Conference In Full
Last-Chance Qualifier and CrossFit Games Dates
The Last-Chance Qualifier is the final opportunity for athletes who are close to finishing in a qualifying spot on their respective CrossFit Semifinal competition. Two CrossFit Games invitations will be sent to the top 2 men and women at the Last-Chance Qualifier.
THE LAST-CHANCE QUALIFIER IS AN ONLINE COMPETITION AND TAKES PLACE FROM JUNE 29 TO JULY 1.
The CrossFit Games will take place in Madison, Wisconsin. The CrossFit Games takes place on August 3-7.
- CrossFit Press Conference: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.