While the deadline to apply for a region exemption for the 2024 CrossFit Games season is not until February 1, CrossFit has already issued decisions for those who have applied earlier. One of those decisions handed out was in regards to Ellie Turner’s application. A citizen of Australia, Turner had applied for a region exemption to compete out of the North America West region.
Turner shared a screenshot in an Instagram story of the email from CrossFit stating that her request had been denied. It reads:
Thank you for your time and patience as the competition team reviewed your request for a competition region exemption. Based on the information you have provided, your request has been denied – you will remain in the Oceania region for the 2024 season.
The decision comes a year after CrossFit denied Turner’s request for a region exemption for the 2023 CrossFit Games season. In July 2021, Turner moved from Australia to Canada in order to train with Michele Letendre and DEKA Comp as she prepared for her rookie debut at the 2021 CrossFit Games. Turner has since lived in western North America ever since.
The July 2021 date is where CrossFit is basing its decision. Section 1.09 of the 2024 CrossFit Games rulebook states one of the minimum requirements to be approved for a region exemption is proof of sustained residency in a single country since February 1, 2021. It reads:
- Proof of sustained residency in a single country outside of the athlete’s country of citizenship beginning on or before Feb. 1, 2021 (three years). Proof of residency may include, but is not limited to, lease agreements, utility bills, or government-issued identification;
The difficult part in all of this is that Turner’s situation technically does not meet all of the criteria to receive a region exemption. However, it appears that CrossFit has been inconsistent in its rulings, especially with high-profile cases like Khrennikov and Davisdottir. To complicate matters, CrossFit will not publicly disclose the specific clause or reason why an athlete’s request was approved or denied.
For example, Roman Khrennikov has been approved again for a region exemption for the 2024 season. Khrennikov did not move to the United States until February 2022, seven months after Turner moved to North America.
Some could argue that travel restrictions could be an issue for Khrennikov because of his Russian citizenship. However, Khrennikov traveled to South Korea, the same country as the Asia Semifinal, this past December to host a CrossFit seminar with the Far East Throwdown.
And then there’s Katrin Davidsdottir. Davidsdottir received an exemption last year, but the decision was questioned by many as she had not sustained permanent residency in the United States for the prior three years. While Davidsdottir had been living in the United States for years and was in the process of applying for United States citizenship, she left the United States in 2021 to train with Annie Thorisdottir and was then an alternate on Thorisdottir’s team in 2021. The rule for teams in 2021 was that all members of a team must consistently train at the affiliate of record. That affiliate was CrossFit Reykjavik in Iceland.
Because she had not officially become a United States citizen and had not been a permanent resident for three consecutive years, the criteria used to accept Katrin’s region exemption request is unknown.
As for 2024, it is unclear if Davisdottir now has dual citizenship or if she has re-applied for a region exemption.
Adrian Bozman said on the CrossFit Podcast released today that the official list of athletes approved for a region exemption will be published once all applications have been review – likely in mid-February. But until then, all we know is that Ellie Turner’s path to the 2024 CrossFit Games will be through Oceania (again).