First things first:
OPEX asked CrossFit if it was ok to use smaller kilo plates instead of rubber plates…we were told that we could, in fact, use them.
Cheating is a harsh word. When my coaches, staff, athletes, and friends are singled out by The CrossFit Games and Dave Castro for having cheated when you did NOTHING OF THE SORT that word gets very harsh very quickly. Cheating implies malicious intent. OPEX athletes have to post their videos publicly. We are not hiding that we used them because we were told that we could.
Let me be very clear with this message. I am not writing this blog post to start a fight with CrossFit. I am writing this because when CrossFit entities and stakeholders post multiple social media posts about my athletes and those posts smear my athletes across the world I have to inform people of what the facts are.
That’s right. The use of kilo plates was deemed LEGAL by the South Regional’s Director of The CrossFit Games. We have multiple forms of evidence that we were, in fact, allowed to use the smaller plates on our barbells.
But here is where it gets extremely bothersome. The posts started to go out last night a bit before 9 pm MST (11 pm EST). We were shocked when the posts began coming out because we had asked the South Regional Director point blank “Can we use the small kilo plates on the bar instead of the rubber plates?” The Director’s response back to that question was “Yes as long as the weight is g2g.” That is a direct YES to the question of using smaller plates.
The social media posts were released anyway. Our team got on the phone to confirm the text with the Director. We then got on the phone with the South Regional Director. He CONFIRMED that he told our athlete that we could use the smaller plates. He also told us that he had already been on the phone with CrossFit and that they were trying to sort everything out. About an hour and 45 minutes later we received a call back from the South Regional Director saying that the top 3 at CrossFit were in possession of the information and the message that we had spoken about and that they would be handling it. Our team also wrote an email to the COO of the CrossFit Games asking for them to remedy this situation. At this point here is where we stand:
1. It has been over 12 hours since the posts went public
2. There have been well OVER 550,000 views on the posts
3. The overwhelming commentary in terms of comments on the post seems to be tremendously skewed to being very negative toward OPEX athletes and the OPEX brand
4. A CrossFit representative has told us that they will be issuing the major penalty even though they told us that we could use the smaller plates
5. The same CrossFit representative told us that he didn’t know if the posts would be removed or apologized for but that “nothing new would be posted.”
6. Another post has been issued confirming that CrossFit will, in fact, be docking our athletes 15% penalties even though they KNOW that we were told that we could set our bars up with smaller kilo plates
The point of this article is aimed at getting CrossFit to properly remedy this written false accusation against OPEX and its athletes. OPEX has had 500 competitors earn their way to the CrossFit Regionals and we’ve also had over 50 athletes earn their way to the CrossFit Games over the years. They earned their way there by extremely hard work and dedication to their sport. They LOVE the sport of CrossFit.
All of our onsite athletes have to post all of their videos because we are not a CrossFit affiliate. We have had years of learning on just how important properly videoing is for ALL of our athletes. We have had 3 years of consistent communication with our Regional Directors where we ask them any questions that we have about the workouts. We ask them because we can’t hide ANYTHING because we have to post our videos each week. Because of this we always try to ask questions that need to be asked so that we have confirmation on strategies that we use. In this case we asked the best point of contact in the South Region, the Regional Director, the question about plate size and we were told that we were good to go.
Regardless of what CrossFit decides to do within their competition, why are their false claims about OPEX continuing to perpetuate on social media platforms? Here are the facts that as far as we know are completely undisputed:
1. We asked the South Regional Director of the CrossFit Games if we could use smaller kilo plates instead of rubber plates to which he replied yes
2. We used the smaller plates and posted our scores onto the CrossFit Games website
3. When a specific OPEX athlete was challenged on her using the smaller plates she publicly responded well before the social media posts went up that we had confirmation that we could use that strategy
4. The posts (3 are still public) went out a bit before 11pm EST, the evening of Monday 2/29/16
5. We had a phone call with the South Regional Director minutes after the posts went out which was Monday night at 11:04pm EST. He confirmed that he allowed us to use the smaller metal plates and that he had spoken to multiple people within CrossFit about him having done that
6. We sent an email to the COO of the CrossFit Games at 12:25 am EST on 3/1/16 asking him to help remedy this situation to which we did receive an email but without any discussion as to their course of action.
7. We received a phone call from the South Regional Director at 12:54 am EST 3/1/16 informing us that the “top 3” in CrossFit knew that we had been told that we could use the smaller plates
8. We spoke to the South Regional Director at 11:27 am 3/1/16 where he told us that CrossFit had chosen to implement the 15% penalty even though they made a mistake. He also informed us that he wasn’t sure what they would do with the current social media posts that are up but that no new posts would go up.
9. There was another post that came out after our conversation with the South Regional Director stating that we would get the 15% penalty because we were “cheating.”
10. The posts continue to show extremely harsh tones toward OPEX athletes and OPEX staff and coaches.
I don’t quite understand how this is ok to do. I find this situation similar to an athlete at Regionals asking their judge about a standard, doing the entire workout as the judge prescribed, going home for the night, and then seeing the head of the CrossFit Games destroying their character on social media as well as penalizing them. I am struggling to understand that. We had a team at Regionals last year. We watched one of the teams make the range of motion MUCH shorter on GHD sit ups. They weren’t docked points or disqualified. I do not know if they asked their judge or not but this sure seems similar to me. We have seen numerous examples of smaller wall balls, shorter range of motion with hand placement on the handstand push-ups, and we have also seen examples of people using smaller metal plates in previous Open workouts on film. If they misunderstood our question about the plates they could have removed the posts and mentioned that there was a misunderstanding. They did not.
We are not yet sure how we want to deal with this because we will handle this in the most professional way possible. We just wanted to explain the facts.
In summary, OPEX asked CrossFit if it was ok to use smaller kilo plates…we were told that we could in fact use them. This can be remedied and we are very much hoping that it will be.
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