In a brief Twitter message posted after a Zoom call with 2020 CrossFit Games athletes, new CrossFit CEO Dave Castro announced the 2020 Games would be the last he programmed. His potential replacement? Four-time Individual and four-time Team Games Champion Rich Froning.
Thanks for hopping on a short notice zoom call today @CrossFitGames 2020 athletes. Good discussion to include working together more in the future and this will be the last games I program. 2021 season potentially programmed by @richfroning #crossfit #crossfitgames #richfroning
— Dave Castro (@thedavecastro) June 12, 2020
There has been no statement on whether programming for the Games would preclude Froning — who has competed every year since 2010, when he took second as an Individual before winning four in a row — from participating as an athlete. Froning is currently planning the Mayhem Madness event for August, which will serve as a de facto replacement for this year’s Team competition. (The 2020 CrossFit Games will only featured Individual competition, and not Teens, Masters, or Teams categories.)
Update: In speaking with independent blogger Armen Hammer, Rich Froning said the following of Castro’s announcement.
“I consider Dave a friend, and actually a good friend. The statement about me programming made on the CrossFit Games athlete call was the first time I had heard anything about it. While it is a dream job and honestly one of the highest honors I could hold or ever be awarded in the sport, I think there is a way bigger issue that needs to be handled right now and that’s the community and the affiliates.”
It’s just the latest news in tumultuous few weeks for CrossFit HQ. Tensions rose last week after CrossFit Founder (and now-former CEO) Greg Glassman posted a controversial tweet concerning the death of George Floyd. In addition, communication between Glassman and owners of Rocket CrossFit in Washington also caused ripples throughout the community, as did audio of a Zoom call Glassman had with affiliate owners concerning CrossFit and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Those remarks set off a firestorm of criticism within the CrossFit community, with many prominent athletes — Froning among them — publicly stating their disappointment and disagreement with Glassman’s remarks. Over 1,000 CrossFit affiliate owners — including 2008 Games Champion Jason Khalipa — announced they would be cutting official ties with the company. (Froning, who owns CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, Tennessee, has not announced whether or not his gym will maintain their CrossFit affiliation.)
Reebok also announced they would not be renewing their sponsorship agreement with CrossFit.
On Tuesday, June 9th, CrossFit announced Glassman would be retiring from his position, with long-time CrossFit Games Director and co-Director of Training Dave Castro stepping into the position.
It’s worth noting that most sources still peg Glassman’s ownership in CrossFit at 100%, and there have been no public announcements on if or how he will divest ownership (and/or control) of the company.
Castro has long been a face of the CrossFit Games, controlling its programming from the Open all the way through to final Games events. The first three iterations of the CrossFit Games took place on Castro’s ranch in Aromas, California, and the 2020 CrossFit Games is also scheduled to take place there; the event was originally scheduled for the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, but was moved to the smaller, private venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s unclear if or how the recent shakeup at CrossFit HQ will impact this year’s Games. Several Games athletes — including Noah Ohlsen and Chandler Smith — announced they wouldn’t be participating unless major changes were made at CrossFit HQ. Those statements were made before Castro was announced as the new CEO.
Shortly before Castro’s programming announcement, two-time Games Champion Katrin Davidsdottir took to Instagram to express her disappointment in CrossFit’s leadership change, saying, “This might have given the worldwide press a headline that they wanted, but fundamentally there was no change. Doesn’t Greg Glassman still own 100% of CrossFit?”
Featured image: @thedavecatro on Instagram; original photo by @bownmedia