CrossFit Waives Region Exemption Application Process for Athletes Approved in 2023

Last year, a new rule was implemented for the 2023 CrossFit Games season. This new rule allowed athletes to apply for a region exemption in order to compete in a different region than where they held citizenship. At the time, many referred to it as the “Roman Rule” as it would allow Roman Khrennikov to compete in the United States rather than travel back to Asia for Semifinals.

Khrennikov, along with 15 other athletes, received a region exemption pursuant to the new rules in 2023.

The region exemption rule remained when the 2024 CrossFit Games rulebook was published last month. However, the “extreme financial hardship” clause was removed from the 2024 rulebook.

While CrossFit has yet to announce an official list of athletes who have received a region exemption list, we reported earlier this month that Roman Khrennikov did receive a region exemption again for the 2024 season. This news was confirmed by Roman’s coach, Facundo Etchecolatz. In that discussion with Facundo, he mentioned that he was not involved in the application process.

And now we might know why…

You see, the 2024 CrossFit Games rulebook, Section 1.09 states “Athletes must apply annually in order to maintain their eligibility to compete in a different region outside of their country of citizenship.” (clause is in bold in rulebook)

However, we have obtained an email that CrossFit sent to an athlete regarding their region exemption status. In the email sent by Athlete Communications Manager, Becky Harsh, the athlete is told that if their “situation” has not changed from last year there is no need to re-submit paperwork and a response to the email is all that is needed.

A copy of the email is shown below:

In bypassing the application process, it violates the rules written into the 2024 CrossFit Games rulebook by CrossFit itself. CrossFit is taking the athlete’s word, via email, to approve a subsequent region exemption.

And yes, most of the athletes who received an exemption last year are likely to have similar situations for a region exemption in 2024. However, it does not guarantee it and CrossFit is not ensuring all criteria are met for this year’s competition season.

Case in point, Roman Khrennikov. We outlined earlier this month that Khrennikov has shown the ability to travel to South Korea in December 2023 for a seminar. Last year, with the war between Russia and Ukraine, Roman’s travel situation was much different and deserved a region exemption. This year, however, it could be strongly argued that he does not meet any of the criteria to receive a region exemption this year based on the wording of the 2024 CrossFit Games rulebook.

As of this article’s publication, CrossFit has not published an official list of athletes who have received a region exemption for the 2024 CrossFit Games season. Additionally, CrossFit never responded to our request for comment on the “Roman Khrennikov Receives Region Exemption for 2024 CrossFit Games Season” story we published on January 4.

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