In June of 2020 CrossFit founder Greg Glassman stepped down as CEO amid intense backlash after he used racially insensitive language in a now deleted tweet.
Almost overnight, Reebok, along with some 1 250 affiliate gyms severed ties with CrossFit.
In an attempt to preserve the long term viability of the company, Glassman sold the company to 53-year-old venture capitalist Eric Roza.
Although he is a successful businessman, Roza is also a fitness fanatic. He opened CrossFit Sanitas in 2013 and three other gyms over the next three years.
Notably, Roza boasts a 400 lb deadlift, a sub-20 minute five km run, and a two minute Fran time. Not too shabby for someone in their 50s.
Roza’s real gift to CrossFit thus far has been his ability to foster an inclusive environment that promotes fitness for all people regardless of their ability level.
Each year, CrossFit hosts the “CrossFit Open” in which over 100 000 people worldwide compete for the chance to go to the CrossFit Games, the winner of which is crowned the “Fittest On Earth.” The format is three scored workouts over three weeks.
This year Roza has expanded the Open to include more categories of athletes than ever before. There are masters age groups for men and women ages 35-39 and increasing in five year increments up to age 65+ which allow for age appropriate movements and competition.
In addition, there are Rx workouts (the highest level), scaled versions of those workouts, foundation workouts for those new to the sport, and equipment free versions to allow for those affected by COVID who still compete from home.
Jeremy MacDonald is a UNB student with cerebral palsy who has been doing CrossFit for several years now. This year's Open has also added divisions for those with visual impairments, short statures, neuromuscular impairments, upper extremity impairments, lower body impairments, and intellectual disabilities.
MacDonald is excited for the opportunity to compete in the most accessible CrossFit Open yet. He says the CrossFit community has been incredibly supportive.
“My gym here in Charlottetown, CrossFit 782, has been amazing in teaching me the basics of the sport and helping me grow,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald currently trains five days a week in classes with able-bodied people but began with a dedicated adaptive class prior to COVID.
“I am planning on doing Open workout 21.1 on Monday. I’d like to see smaller, local competitions with adaptive divisions someday,” he said.
MacDonald has found a home in the CrossFit community, pursuing fitness goals while surrounded by great people.
The Open is taking place from March 11-29.