CrossFit. Community?

My first CrossFit experience was 7 months ago, so please forgive my novice opinion. 7 months ago, I walked into the CrossFit gym behind my back fence. I walked there. The gym was empty except for the owner. Backward hat, sweatpants and toting a monster sized monster. “I’m an Olympic Weightlifter.” I said shyly. Jake said back to me. “I can tell.” Jake worked out a deal that allowed me to come and do my Olympic Stuff. While I was at it, I began doing the WODS. I couldn’t do a pull up. I was bad at it, but I kept doing CrossFit because of the community. Crossfit Stompin’ Ground is a no nonsense gym. Great people and a great athlete in Jake Neubauer. Never a stitch of drama, and to this day I swear it, not an unkind word said of anyone. Crazy movements, walking on my hands, climbing ropes and crawling around on all fours… I don’t know? Great people who love to make themselves and the people around them better… Now that I can get behind. I quickly understood the appeal of working out in “community.” As time went on, my specialty brought me to Crossfit Gyms around the country. I quickly learned that Stompin’ Ground was the exception, not the rule.

I am just as competitive as the next guy. I want to win, even if that means you loose. This is my first crack at the Crossfit Open this year. I am not an elite athlete so I’m kind of watching from the bottom. This week, elite athlete Josh Golden submitted the top score in the world for 13.2.; 387 Reps. I admit, my first words were “that seems impossible.” After a video of him doing the WOD hit the internet, we all discovered, that may in fact be true. I do not know Josh Golden. My only experience with him is 1 competition that he destroyed me in. I was impressed. To this day I have never said a word to him.  CrossFit HQ spends a lot of time and money trying to present, and judge the standards of the Open. 150 thousand plus athletes are hard to standardize. I will say, in my non-expert opinion, Josh did not meet those standards. If Crossfit is going to succeed, there needs to be a governing body, with a higerarchy of checks and balances to make sure we are all being judged with the same ruler. In any sport, the human factor is always the deciding factor. Super Bowls, World Series and yes, even weightlifting medals have been won and lost because of human judgment error.  As a weightlifter I think specifically of my close friend Jon North, loosing a national gold medal, and perhaps a spot at the Olympics because Jared Fleming’s obvious press out in the Snatch was ruled good. I was mad, Jon was mad, but I NEVER attacked the personal character of Jared Fleming.

My friend and coach Kevin Hughes posted this. “Our role as coaches is to give our best effort forward and to uphold the integrity of the sport. It falls on our backs as owners and coaches to ensure the standards of the sport are upheld.” I agree. I am sad today that standards have not been upheld. The standard of excellence that for many was the reason they joined Crossfit. The standard of community. As a coach Josh failed to be excellent, and he paid. As a community we failed to help make Josh better. Personal attacks have been thrown at him. He has been called a liar, cheat and even a douche. I don’t know, like I said, I’ve never met the guy. If Josh was trying to cheat, then why did he post the video? It was not required. There are several other scores on the leader board in the 350+ range with no video. Even an astonishing 420 reps. All verified by judges, that cannot be questioned because there is no video to show. Unfortunately the machine is somewhat broken. I accept all of those scores because a judge verified them.


Did Josh meet standards? No. But is he a liar or a cheater? No. Is he a douche? How do you know? Is he an incredible athlete? Clearly. I Crossfit because I am part of an amazing, supportive, honest gym who makes me better. Today however, I am a weightlifter. Did you get better today? You moved up 1 spot. Did Josh get better today? Maybe, but not because of you. Today I am a weightlifter.


  1. Danny

    I read an interview with him the other day. I believe what he said; he is guilty of being ignorant of the standards. Was it cheating? yes, it was. The definition of cheat: “Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, esp. in a game or examination.” Maybe not on purpose, but it was cheating. Ignorance is a poor excuse.

    With all of that said; People make mistakes. I do not believe that CF Stompin’ Ground is the exception. I have been to CF boxes all over the country (and a few in Canada). 3/4 of the boxes I have been to have been WODERFUL. The other 1/4 were not that bad, just poor in comparison. I do not believe that a bunch of computer jockies should be considered a representation of the CF community. Mistaking some jack ass on a keyboard for the average crossfitter is no better than the keyboard jockey mistaking Golden for the average CrossFitter.

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