Jul 15, 2020 - Sports

Timeline: CrossFit transforms as athletes unionize and new owner steps in

A crossfit setup.

Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

In the three weeks since CrossFit founder Greg Glassman resigned amid backlash against his offensive remarks on George Floyd's killing, the company — and community — have undergone substantial change.

Why it matters: While CrossFit undergoes its first ownership change, its athletes are unifying and aiming for a seat at the table when it comes to the future of their sport.

Timeline: Glassman resigned as CEO on June 9, hoping to assuage the countless sponsors and affiliate gyms who'd begun a mass exodus in response to his comments. Dave Castro, director of the CrossFit Games, took his place.

  • June 20: Glassman's long history of rampant sexual harassment comes to light, and it becomes clear that merely stepping down as CEO (while still owning the company) won't be enough to placate the CrossFit community.
  • June 24: It's announced that tech entrepreneur and CrossFit affiliate owner Eric Roza will buy CrossFit from Glassman and become the new CEO.
  • July 9: CrossFit athletes form their first-ever union — the Professional Fitness Athletes' Association.

The big picture: Founded in 2000, CrossFit exploded over the last 20 years as both a brand and a fitness regimen to include nearly 15,000 dues-paying affiliates, plus an annual competition called the CrossFit Games.

  • Yes, but: As 10-year CrossFit affiliate owner Mike DeNicola told Insider, "They don't own the workout, they just found a way to market it to people."

What they're saying: To learn more about the industry shake-up, Axios spoke with Justin LoFranco, founder of Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit media company.

  • On new CEO and owner Roza: "The guy's a tried and tested CEO. He's been at the top of the business world, whereas everybody in the top brass of CrossFit came from inside CrossFit."
  • On the formation of the union: "This is a direct result of what Glassman said and did, and athletes understanding that now is a pivotal moment for them to finally have a voice."
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