5 Observations from the 2014 CrossFit Games:

5) ESPN became a major factor in the coverage of this year’s Games.

The good: The Games appeared on ESPN and ESPN 2 live during primetime.
The bad: The final day of the Games, the ESPN show “Outside the Lines” aired a negligently researched shock piece, which uses quotes from TV news anchors and an edited video as the presuppositions for its “concerns about safety”.
The ugly: ESPN reporter, Mark Fainaru-Wada, lied to Kevin Ogar to obtain an interview, and used Kevin’s words to try to bolster his piece about safety concerns.


The above is a screen shot from a text conversation I had with Syn Martinez, who does merch for both TOW, and Kevin Ogar. I asked if he’d spoken to Kevin about the ESPN piece, and he copy and pasted Kevin’s response for me to see. When I first heard about the OTL special I didn’t think much of it. It’s an “exposé” sports journalism show, and I blew it off as them jumping on the CF hater bandwagon. But when I got home and finally sat down to read the piece and watch the video, I became increasingly furious – especially after noticing the fallacy and outright lies throughout video.

Lie #1 – “The injury could have been prevented with better technique and fewer repetitions.”

This assumption is made by the ABC news anchor who is describing the Ogar injury. It is credited to “critics of CrossFit”, and is uttered at the exact moment of a cut to the video of a barbell injuring Kevin as he misses a 235# Snatch. So why is this quote/assumption a lie? Because technique, and repetition DID NOT cause Kevin’s injury. Kevin was not just a competent lifter, he was an excellent one. He snatched in the 130-135kg range. In his weight class, around the time of his injury, this would have ranked him somewhere between 5th and 10th in the country. By using this quote ABC News, Mark Fainaru-Wada, and the ESPN producers of this piece, show that they – at the very least – have believed the wrong critics. I take personal offense to this, because I have a somewhat more in-depth understanding of Kevin’s lifting ability.

I spent the better part of a year-and-a-half remotely coaching Kevin periodically, and I spent multiple days working with him in person during the camp CF Unbroken (his gym, he was our host for the weekend) hosted last year. Kevin’s main issue was the Jerk, and some mobility issues that had limited him. These mobility issues were also evident in his Snatch, and as you can see in the video below he usually would have a bit of a walkout with maximal weight. Ironic that in this video Kevin lowers 290# to his thoracic – multiple times – from an overhead position, and it does not sever his spine.

I, however, am clearly not as qualified as “CrossFit critics” to comment on technique, right? I’m just a competitive exercise coach, and because I own a CF affiliate and coach Games athletes I’m just drunk on the same Kool Aid the rest of the “cult” is drunk on, right? And because I’m a part of the sport that can paralyze you, I don’t give a damn about technique, right?

Guess what ABC News, Mark Fainaru-Wada, and the ESPN producers – my 69k, who is a CrossFitter, just won a National Championship in the sport your “experts” have deemed Kevin Ogar as having “bad technique” in. I’ve also coached over thirty lifters at National meets in the last three years – am I qualified to comment on the technique of the Snatch (if they even know what the lift is called)? Kevin Ogar didn’t have “bad technique” you non-researching, lying to the public, tabloid TV producing motherf**kers. Kevin was a top ten 94kg lifter on any given day, and your assumption that “bad technique” is what injured him is a farce.

Also, the assumption that “fewer repetitions” would have prevented the injury is… How shall I phrase this… Utter bullshit. So the first rep, of a three rep max, is too many? Well shut down every Weightlifting gym in America, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and every other country you can think of that has a WL team, because clearly no one in the world should do more than one rep any reps. I know, I know, “but Kevin did a million workouts before he Snatched, and neurological fatigue coupled with muscular fatigue is what caused this”. Nah, you’re wrong. If that’s the case then every lifter on Team MDUSA should have a broken back because of CNS fatigue and their daily loading. Hell, every football player in training camp should crush their chest with a bench press because they lift after practice, and every Ironman competitor should be dead. The workouts prior to the 3RM Snatch in the competition where Kevin’s injury occurred, were not only not to blame, but weren’t as taxing as a Tuesday at any high-level Weightlifting gym in the world. Again, READ THIS if you don’t believe me.

This leads me to a sub-lie, that I’ll address quickly, and move on from… Kevin WASN’T HURT AT A CROSSFIT COMPETITION. Oh, also, just to add a little more icing on the cake. If you have watched Mark Fainaru-Wada’s steaming pile of DOGSHIT piece, Brad Hawley wasn’t exactly injured doing CrossFit. Ok, maybe that’s an understatement – the video that is used by ESPN as the focal point for a piece on CrossFit injury concerns ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE AT AN IRONTRIBE FITNESS WHICH HAD BEEN DE-AFFILIATED BY CROSSFIT HQ. Sorry for the all caps, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

So a guy got hurt doing an “Iron Tribe” workout, Kevin got hurt doing a standard Weightlifting movement at 80% of his max (and the miss of the Snatch IS NOT what injured him – more coming on that), and those two things are the entire basis for ESPN and Mark Fainaru-Wada’s “concerns”. Sweet journalism, asshole.

Lie #2 – The video used by OTL, which supposedly captures Kevin Ogar’s injury, may have been edited to omit the real reason Kevin’s spine was severed.

Sorry, kids – this one is to be continued until tomorrow.

WOD 140813:


1) Power Snatch: 2RM (drop first rep) – 2X1@95%, 2X1@90%

2) Snatch Balance: 4X3@100-120% of max double from #1


1a) 4XME Pause Back Squats @ 80% (STRICT 3 second pause in the bottom at absolute bottom depth – NO PAUSE FOR BREATH at the top) – rest 90 seconds

1b) 4X1:00 (total) Freestanding Handstand Hold – accumulate 1:00 total hold even if broken, rest 90 seconds


Compare to 130105.

8 min AMRAP of:

Run 200m
20 Pistols (alternating)
10 Push Jerks 145/100#

-then (no rest)-

3 min ME Lateral Burpees (over bar)

21 thoughts on “140813

  1. WOW…Watching the interview, there is some amazing “selective editing” going on. Hawley still performs “Crossfit-Style” workouts to this day and touts that without it, he may have not recovered.

    Some one from CF needs to realize that ESPN is the best thing and the worst thing to happen from a publicity stand point. There were waay too many contradictions in that piece. STOP THE FEAR-MONGERING! People are getting off their their lazy butts and becoming healthier by doing Crossfit the fitness program. Sport is inherently dangerous. Once you cross the line of recreation and sport, injury statistics go out the window. Football is healthy and fun on Thanksgiving, but it could create lasting brain damage and orthopedic injuries if done on Sunday’s for million dollar contracts.

    Thank you for writing this Rudy.

    • BBG
      1) 175, 180×1, drops done
      2) No balances

      2+20 pistols
      35 burpees
      Back and legs were done. But this was by far the easiest pistols ever were. And yes, Rudy, I ran in my Adipowers #Communism

  2. BBG: 1) 160
    2) 170
    Strength: 1a) 5,5,4,4 – needed a bounce outta the hole on the last rep of last set
    1b) 1 min HSH

  3. Great write up on that joke of a ESPN report. Well stated.

    1) Up to 205
    2) 205, 215, 225

    Strength: @295lb for sets of 3 – Ouch. I hate these with a passion
    HS Holds: Done

    Cond: 3 rounds + 40 burpees. I could have ran another 100m or so after the 3 rounds but didnt want to end up 100m from the bar. Lateral burpess were brutal. The lateral jumps just destroy my quads.

  4. BBG:
    1) up to 155, 160# for a single (PR I think)
    2) 135, worked on solid form with this. I can snatch more than I can snatch balance/OHS; need to get remedial
    a) Off 305#: 2,3,3,2 -Felt better than last week, lost my breath on the first and last
    b) Did Free HS progressions

    Condish: Different, sleds were involved, blah, Death Marches involved, ugh

  5. 5’9″/145/39 yrs

    Power Snatchesx2= 78#+ drops
    Overhead Squat practice= 98#x3
    Snatch Balances= did pretty good at these today compared to usual. Was able to get to 73# before I wasn’t dropping as low as the first ones.

    Pause Squats= 128, 133,138,138
    4×5’s, last rep was super hard. Couldn’t breath, heart rate way up
    HS Holds: on wall, still progressing with intermittent glances of free standing holds

    Conditioning= 2 Rd’s , 98#(UB first set, 5,3,2 on second), TRX strap holding for pistols. Can do pistols freestanding on R leg, not L yet. Pistols were surprising more challenging than I thought going in. Really made HR go up.
    Burpees over bar= 23
    Not so bad. Solid day, felt good for a Wednesday.

  6. BBG
    1.) off blocks (just above knee). Low back is smoked. 195#, drops done
    2.) up to 215#, +10#

    1a.) @295#, 5/5/5/5
    1b.) done

    3 rounds + 40 something Burpees. Lost count

  7. snatches 185
    balances 195
    squats 3×5/275, no pauses. getting comfortable squatting semi heavy still
    hs holds-done, very broken today
    2+200+15(assisted band pistols)/39burpees
    always nice to see proof of improvement

    • and good critique of the espn piece too rudy. the whole time i was watching it all i could think of was that the entire crossfit community is going to recognize this as a garbage report. but for the people who dont know any better, they made it sound downright scary. somebody from the bristol connecticut area needs to get a hold of somebody on the espn staff and introduce them to a good box…and teach john buccigross why the kids love the crossfit

  8. BBG
    1) 190 drops @ 180/175
    2) Up to 205
    1a) 3-3-3-3 @ 300
    1b) Done
    3rds+10 pistols 52 Burpees

  9. Mentally and physically beat today. Hard week already, those rows yesterday took more out of me than expected.

    1:) 205# (+5), drops done
    2:) 205, 215, 225, 235# (+10)

    1a:) 275# – 4, 4, 3, 2
    1b:) done

    3rds + 35 burpees

  10. 28/170#/5’9″/M/CenEast

    1/3/1 – coming down with something…

    PSn: 180#; drop sets done
    Sn Bal: 165#; focused on dropping under as fast as I can, which is not fast

    BS: off of 355#; 4/3/3/3; +1 rep from past two weeks
    HS: used partner; done

    Conditioning: 2 rds + 20 pistols – NOT Rx – can’t do pistols unassisted. Used a band strapped across the rig. 19 holes up, white band.

    36 burpees…couldn’t breathe

  11. BBG
    200, drops done
    Snatch balance: up to 240×2
    BS: 300lb
    HS done
    2rds+30 burpees

  12. BBG
    1.) 92 kg drops done
    2.) 100 kg, 105 kg, 105 kg only did 3 sets
    1.) 315# 3,3,2,2 same amount of reps as last week but felt stronger.
    2.) doneish
    3 rds + 200 m + 3 pistols Rx
    38 burpees

  13. BBG
    1. 115
    drops done
    2. 105,115,120,125

    1a. Off 260 – these are damn near the worst things ever…..I believe Rudy’s intention is to toughen those who need it….it’s working.
    1. Handstands done

    3 Rounds + 35 Burpees

  14. BBG:
    1) 185# (+10# from last week) – drops done
    2) 185#

    1a) off of 315# (3/3/3/3) – these are evil but great and are feeling more and more solid
    1b) nose/toes to wall – walked 100′ the other day (PR) but can’t figure out how to just freestand HS hold and not move

    2rds+200m+pistols+6 push jerks
    38 burpees
    *I don’t care what anyone says but running in Romaleos SUCKS (only way I can do pistols)

  15. BBG 1) 145#
    BBG 2) Failed at 145, 135#
    Str 1a) 3, 3 @ 255#
    Cond – 1rd+5 push jerks, 22 burpees

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