On March 8, 2021, sports anchor for ABC-affiliate WEWS-TV Derek Forrest was announced as the newest member of the CrossFit Media team. In a post quote tweeting an interview with CrossFit’s play-by-play commentator, Sean Woodland, on the CrossFit Games Twitter page, Forrest said he looks forward to “covering a sport I have a tremendous passion for!”
BarBend had the opportunity to interview the former baseball player turned sports anchor about CrossFit’s hiring process, how he plans to balance the work with the CrossFit Media team and his job as an anchor in Cleveland, OH for WEWS-TV — he’ll be doing both — and what he hopes to achieve in this new position.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: NOBULL Is The Title Sponsor For The 2021 CrossFit Games]
Entry to Broadcast Journalism
Forrest first discovered his aspirations to be in front of the camera in 2003, during his senior year at Stonehill College in Boston, MA where he acquired his communications degree. His background in sports extended well beyond that. During his high school career, he expected to compete in collegiate baseball. That plan came to a halt after a shoulder injury that prevented him from stepping back in the batter’s box.
His unfortunate departure as an athlete didn’t stymie his desire to stay involved in the world of sports. He created and hosted his own radio show for his college’s radio station, doing play-by-play. As he headed into his final year at school, he knew where he wanted his professional career to go, and reached out to a former professor who was previously employed at ESPN.
I asked her if she had any contacts, which she did, and was able to get an interview.
His time at ESPN spanned four years in production across multiple shows, including Cold Pizza, co-hosted by Jay Crawford, which aired for three seasons. Crawford helped Forrest secure an interview with his former television station — WYMT in Hazard, Kentucky.
“I made the transition from production to…a sports reporter in 2007. I got into the business because I just loved being around covering sports.”
[Related: WHOOP Named The Official Wearable Of CrossFit]
Pursuing the Position
Forrest’s first encounter with the work of the CrossFit Media team came in late 2013-early 2014 when he saw the video titled “Letting Beauty Speak.” The message of that video, which strives to “define” beauty rather than “describe” it, still resonates with Forrest to this day. The production quality of CrossFit’s content was also noticeable to Forrest early in his television career at ESPN.
It caught my eye right away.
He continued to keep tabs on CrossFit’s YouTube channel as well as the documentaries they released.
“I have honestly thought it would cool to work with the CrossFit Media team for years,” Forrest says.
He began training CrossFit® around 2017 and continues to do so to this day. Currently, he works out six days per week for about an hour, following the programming of CrossFit New England.
His initial steps in seeking out a position on the CrossFit Media team came back in June 2020. That was around that time that major changes were happening in the CrossFit space, particularly the acquisition of CrossFit by its new owner and CEO, Eric Roza.
“After all the changes happened, I…saw signs there could be a chance the media team could be coming back,” Forrest says. “So I just took a shot and thought, what’s the worse that could happen, they just say no. Luckily, they said yes.”
[Related: Jacob Heppner Retires From Competitive CrossFit]
WEWS-TV and CrossFit
Forrest plans to continue his work at WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH while also hosting the Open announcements for CrossFit. He hopes to land a long-term position with the CrossFit Media team and believes this new position will tee him up for that. His goal right now is to “help out in any capacity” that can further “grow the sport of CrossFit and to bring top-notch coverage to the sport.”
Forrest enjoys the adrenaline rush and feeling of butterflies that accompany performing live for a large audience. Fortunately, Forrest is already operating smoothly with everyone on the CrossFit Media team.
“Live television and live broadcasts always have a ton of unknowns, kind of like CrossFit itself, Forrest says. “Everyone on the media team has their own unique style and they all mesh well together. I just want to be able to bring my own style into the mix.”
He aims to leverage how he delivers stories to further the overall vision of keeping the CrossFit community informed as to what is going on in CrossFit.
View this post on Instagram
[Related: Weightlifter Dmitry Klokov Has Entered the 2021 CrossFit Open]
Striving For Better
Forrest admits he will always be his “own worse critic,” and his focus is on continuously improving his craft in front of the camera.
I just try to be myself, and try to be genuine. People, including myself as a viewer, appreciate that more.
Forrest writes “strive for the best version of your day” on his social media daily as a reminder to himself, and those who follow him, to keep striving to grow and improve. He emulates his own advice as best he can and hopes that that translates through the camera.
Forrest will be covering the 2021 CrossFit Open which kicks off on March 11, 2021.
Featured image: @derekeyb on Instagram