Dave Castro Fired By CrossFit 7 Weeks Before 2022 Open Starts

Former VP of Sport and Partnerships, Justin Bergh, will replace Castro as General Manager of Sport.

Dave Castro was fired by CrossFit® LLC on Jan. 4, 2021, by CrossFit CEO Eric Roza, less than two months before the start of the 2022 CrossFit Games season. Since 2007, Castro has solely served as CrossFit’s General Manager of Sport. The previous VP of Sport and Partnerships, Justin Bergh, has been promoted to assume the role

According to an internal email sent by Roza, the decision to fire Castro was due to the future intentions of the company that he felt Castro’s leadership did not align with:

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.

Castro’s firing is abrupt, occurring just seven weeks prior to the release of Open workout 22.1 scheduled for Feb. 24, 2022. On New Year’s Eve, Castro was featured on the CrossFit Games YouTube channel, hinting at two new unnamed elements that will debut in the 2022 Open workouts.

The entirety of the internal email sent on Jan. 4, 2022, acquired by BarBend, can be read below:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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[Related: 2022 CrossFit Games Rulebook — Updates And Additions]

Eric Roza’s Email

Team,

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.

Over the last fifteen years, Dave has played a key role in building CrossFit into what it is today.

His 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. Dave was also a central figure in the growth of CrossFit’s training business, helping to scale the seminar department to reach tens of thousands of trainers. 

All of us in the world of CrossFit owe Dave a debt of gratitude for his contributions, and we wish him well as he brings his talents to his next chapter. 

Dave has assembled a world-class team, which will now be led by Justin Bergh, and we are excited to see this new generation of leadership build on his legacy as we work together to bring our Sport to the next level of success. 

I look forward to seeing you all at next week’s All Hands Meeting.

Best,

Eric

 

 
 
 
 
 
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[Related: CrossFitter Mal O’Brien Is the Newest Member of Mat Fraser’s HWPO Training Team]

Dave Castro’s Response

Castro took to his Instagram to make his first comment since the news of his firing circulated. Read his response below:

I have talked to Roza once in the last 3 or so months during his time away. He called me tonight to fire me. He told me they had messaging prepared that this was mutual. I asked him not to use that because that couldn’t be further from the truth.

During his time with CrossFit, Castro programmed 15 CrossFit Games. The former Navy Seal had a brief stint as CrossFit CEO on June 9, 2020, when Greg Glassman stepped down. Roza became the official owner of CrossFit and assumed the role of CEO shortly after that.

Castro’s CrossFit career began in Santa Cruz, CA, when he visited the first CrossFit box, owned by Glassman. The first CrossFit Games was held on his parents’ ranch in Aromas, CA, in 2007.

About Justin Bergh

Castro’s new replacement isn’t all that new. According to his LinkedIn profile, Bergh has been the General Manager of the CrossFit Games since 2013. As the Games GM, Bergh managed the daily operations of the events, acted as Executive Producer of the Games’ media coverage, and handled the business.

In 2021, his title changed to Vice President of Sport and Partnerships. At the time of this article’s publication, Bergh has yet to comment on his new role. 

BarBend’s CEO and Co-Founder David Tao interviewed Bergh in 2020 on an episode of the BarBend Podcast. You can listen to the conversation below: 

According to Bergh’s athlete page on games.crossfit.com, he competed in the CrossFit Open 10 years in a row, starting in 2012. His best-ever finish was 4,174th worldwide.

What’s Next?

It’s unclear how Castro’s absence will affect the 2022 season so soon before it starts. Castro was already deep into testing the Open workouts, even teasing new elements as recently as Dec. 31, 2021.

Shortly after his initial response, Castro issued another tweet that read: “I wonder if they are still going to use my Open workouts?”

The CrossFit Games, however, are scheduled to take place August 4-7, 2022. With eight months between Castro’s firing and the 16th edition of CrossFit’s most prestigious competition, it’s possible that changes will be made.

BarBend will update this article if and when new information regarding this development arises. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Garves