The roaring waves of the internet have washed ashore a glaring problem in the recent growth of CrossFit, brought to light by the ongoing 2013 CrossFit Open. When 13.2 was announced, and Annie Thorisdottir competed live against Lindsey Valenzuela, from CrossFit South Brooklyn, the message boards were awash with criticisms of Iceland Annie’s form, and what was perceived, to the video public, as a high number of “no reps.”
In a recent article, March 18, 2013, by Los Angeles Fitness & Exercise Examiner, Dave Chung, the problem has been amplified: Josh Golden's first place video for CrossFit Games Open workout 13.2 is rejected.
Some people will dismiss all the negative publicity as internet chatter, small talk, or to wear out an already worn phrase, haters gonna hate. None of these dismissals address the real issue at hand. The question is: Whose problem is this? Which leads to the next question: What is going to be done?
Despite what many people are claiming, the idea that Annie Thorisdottir or Josh Golden intentionally cheated in 13.2 seems highly unlikely. Each are world class athletes, and represent CrossFit with absolute integrity, time and again.
Can CrossFit be to blame for this flood of criticism? Surely no one is going to logon to their favorite message board and start accusing CrossFit HQ of intentionally cheating? Of course not. CrossFit handled this most recent situation with all the integrity of its combined athletes. Quite simply, Josh Golden’s 13.2 workout is rejected, and the CrossFit Grover Beach, his home affiliate, will no longer be qualified to judge video submissions.
Still, the questions remain: Whose problem is this? and What is going to be done?
In a recent interview with James Hobson, of CrossFit Addiction, I learned that there is a growing discomfort within the CrossFit community as to how events and athletes are judged. Quite simply, aside from a very detailed workout description given by CrossFit HQ, there is no solid standard for judges. CrossFit has begun to make attempts to rectify this problem by requiring aspiring judges to complete an Online Judges Certification. This Certification goes into some degree of physiological detail as to how exercises are performed, but potential discrepancies between the actual anatomy and structure of each athlete is left entirely up to the discretion of the judge. Also, when elite level athletes perform these exercises at high speed, catching flawed forms is difficult at best.
Even in this short assessment of athletic judging, some details are overlooked. What is needed to ensure the continuing integrity of CrossFit, and the CrossFit Games is a comprehensive Judging Certification Course, and continuing re-certification for active Judges.
As the name implies, a comprehensive course would be a huge undertaking, but a necessary one. With the continuing growth of CrossFit, and the growing popularity of the CrossFit Games, there is simply no other alternative than to tighten up judging standards in order to maintain the high integrity of CrossFit and its athletes.