AFJ Releases Statement on Quarterfinals Video Review Penalties

Yesterday, CrossFit began imposing penalties on athletes following the video review of Workout 1 of the 2024 CrossFit Quarterfinals. By mid-morning on Thursday, 265 penalties were handed out and that number has ballooned to 348 this morning. Of those penalties, some were given to athletes where their judge was part of the Association of Fitness Judges (AFJ).

The AFJ was formed late last year with the “purpose to [promote] the professional development and advancement of Officials in the sport of functional fitness (‘Judges’), to include the safety of Judges and athletes, fairness and consistency in standards for competitions, and by developing a greater degree of transparency between athletes, coaches, event organizers and Judges, inclusive of all individuals and organizations involved in the sport of functional fitness.”

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Judges from the AFJ were invited to several training camps including HWPO Training, Mayhem and JST Training in Europe. However, notable athletes at those camps such as Brooke Wells (HWPO), Paige Powers (Mayhem) and Ella Wilkinson (JST) all received major penalties on Workout 1 following video review.

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Last night, the AFJ released a statement regarding the penalties incurred by athletes who were judged by a member of the AFJ.

Via the @associationoffitnessjudges Instagram account:

Over the last 24 hours a lot has happened in the competitive CrossFit space.

The AFJ was started to professionalize and legitimize the sport we all love. We are a group of Judges from around the world with years of experience judging at the highest levels of the sport – SemiFinals, Regionals, Sanctionals, Games, Rogue etc.

This QuarterFinals, the AFJ was brought in to help a number of Training Camps and Individual athletes with their workouts. We had their trust, their faith and their confidence. The CrossFit Video Review Team was looking for very exacting standards that we didn’t manage to produce every time. Since the first wave of penalties have gone out, we have been in communication with the various athletes and training camps that have been affected to advise and consult with how to move forward.

Specific movement standards at live in-person events are easier to address when the judging team sees something nuanced being overlooked (i.e. head down, soft knee on the non-working leg, etc) and immediately corrected so the athlete can make the adjustment and continue working. Online competition makes these types of nuances very challenging to always catch at live speeds for these elite level athletes, and as we’ve seen can be missed by even the most experienced group of judges as well as their coaches and multiple invested, experienced onlookers in the sport. However, behind a computer speed with the ability to slow things down and review multiple times, it is easy to catch and capture all of those standards to the letter, and subsequently penalize an athlete for a consistent error regarding one of these nuances.

We have the utmost faith and confidence in the judges that were selected and represented the AFJ this past week. We have no doubt that without these professional caliber judges present, many more penalties would have been incurred. That said, we still feel responsible for the penalties that have been handed out thus far as we take pride in helping to elevate this aspect of the sport and ultimately making the athletes’ virtual stage of competition easier. Judging, by its very name, is a highly subjective role and mistakes will happen at all levels.

As a sport, we need to do better in every aspect to move further toward professionalism.

We intend to be a part of that change. Thank you to those that have continued to support what the AFJ does and stands for. We look forward to seeing you on the competition floor!

The video review process is ongoing with the individual leaderboard to be finalized by no later than Monday, April 29, and the age group leaderboard to be finalized by Wednesday, May 1.

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