Greg Glassman

2011 CrossFit Games

Greg Glassman on Universal Participation

Dark Horses Will Always Have a Shot at the Title

The prize for the individual male and female winners of the 2011 CrossFit Games is set at $250,000 each, but CrossFit founder and CEO Greg Glassman expects that the winners of the CrossFit Games will soon win a million dollars. With the rapid growth of the sport, some have wondered if unknown athletes will still have a chance at winning.

Coach Glassman fundamentally disagrees with this idea. No matter how large the Games become, or how successful it's top athletes are, a teenager training in his garage will be able to dethrone the big name athletes like Mikko Salo and Rob Orlando. There will always be dark horses, and with CrossFit's commitment to universal participation, they will always have the opportunity to compete and show what they've got.

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25 comments on this entry

1. merle mckenzie wrote...

I agree with coach. So far the history of CF games winners is replete with come from nowhere winners. There will always be some beast of an athlete who is supremely motivated working out in his garage. I would however love to hear some clarification of what coach meant by "meg boxes" charging 250-300 k for a membership.

2. steven b wrote...

Yeah Merle I was thinking the same thing. Had to replay a few times to make sure I heard him right. Thats a huge price tag for a yearly gym membership.

3. Doug Mayfair wrote...

So with all this prize money it's safe to expect that some athletes will try to gain any advantage possible. We're all grown ups here. What is the real story on drug testing. Has HQ ever addressed what is illegal. All the major sports differ in their interpretations, so it would seem to make sense for HQ to define this grey area. Has anyone ever heard anything on this?

4. Notbuyingit wrote...

250K+ for a CF gym membership? That is funny.

5. Nukemarine wrote...

Don't get distracted by the 250k/year membership. There will always be people who will pay a lot of money for the illusion of prestige and exclusivity. Just compare a coach class ticket to a first class ticket from LA to Japan and ask yourself why someone is paying $3000+ for just 9 hours of extra comfort. Coach's point is that having access to "the best and most elite" will mean nothing in the end when some guy in Russia using the public gym might come in top 10 if not first place.

Off topic: Anyone else getting tired of this interview being parsed out in small segments? Post the entire lecture please and Q&A please.

6. Joe wrote...

It won't be the client paying $250k a year, it will be his/her sponsor company

7. Dave wrote...

That is pretty funny @notbuyingit. @Joe, why would a sponsor spend 250K on a gym membership (20+k/month) so their athlete can do thrusters, oly lifts and KBS? Too funny....

8. ShowmetheMoney wrote...

@Joe, is sponsor money kind of like "government money" and free? Sponsors & corporations are people and they want bang for their buck.
There are a lot of personal trainers in Hollywood and NYC that could get a Level 1 cert and compete for the glamour clients. I just saw a pic of A-Rod and Cameron Diaz flipping tires but I doubt they are paying big bucks for that much fun.

9. N wrote...

"a teenager training in his garage will be able to dethrone the big name athletes like Mikko Salo and Rob Orlando" AKA Ben Smith let's go

10. Chris S wrote...

Is anyone ever going to tell us when/where Regionals are being held?
I know the US has the luxury of 10 Regionals to themselves (deserrvingly so) and only have to travel max an hour flight to their Regional location. The rest of us out here need to know whether we have to save a couple hundred dollars each for a trip just a few hours away, or whether we have to save $1500 dollars for a trip to the other side of the Region.

11. Reed M wrote...

@Chris S. Couldn't agree more. Australia, Europe, Canada, Africa, and Central/South America are big ass geographical areas. Don't mind traveling and planning to travel but some heads up on how far we're going would be nice.

Where and when my regionals are is much more valuable information at this point than CrossFit's scouting report on a bunch of people that we may never see again. WIth an "open competition" these athlete profiles and "scouting reports" are total conjecture. CrossFit: please give me something I can use.

12. Jake wrote...

Chris and Reed,

I didn't know you guys had already made it through sectionals. Congrats.

13. Chris S wrote...


If you don't prepare to win, you're preparing to fail.
Our box placed well in the affiliate challenge last year and plan on building on that.

14. Tim Carr wrote...

Would love to know what the prize money is for Masters? Affiliates?

Although, I know I need to qualify FIRST!!

15. Reed M wrote...


Thanks for straightening me out. I'll let all the people at my affiliate that are planning on competing to not worry about contemplating regionals or making any tentative plans for babysitters, time off work or sourcing out flight and hotel costs so that they can budget appropriately for something they may not qualify for.

Apparently planning ahead and organizing for any and all eventualities that may or may not come up is foolish. Thanks for the sarcastic, non-constructive feedback.

See you at the games.


16. Dave wrote...

Chris and Reed...completely legitimate concerns. It's ridiculous that this hasn't been announced yet so people can plan ahead. Just another example of a young sport making some mistakes along the way. Hopefully they fix this in the near future.

17. Joe M wrote...

@ Dave and Showmethemoney,

If UPS can sponsor Lance Armstrong's team for $8M a year I don't see why it's unreasonable that Reebok or some other company that uses "stars" such as Graham or Mikko to sell their apparel for millions more wouldn't mind shelling out that kind of money to keep their sponsor's name on top. Not some kind of garage gym with used kettlebells and a weekend certified L1 trainer, but a world-class training facility.

18. ShowmetheMoney wrote...

@ Joe M, did you watch the video? I'm not talking sponsors or star athletes getting comped. Coach G states that a box membership would be going for 250K. It's going to have to be one heck of a "world class facility" to get those type of paying members. Either that or the dollar will be worth very little like currency in Zimbabwe.

19. Joe M wrote...

I'd imagine you're similar to a person that years ago would have balked if told that snowboarding would become so popular and profitable that stars would have Million dollar half-pipes built in mountainous seclusion solely for themselves.

Would I consider it unfathomable that the demand for top-notch coaches in 1 location (the likes of Burgener, K-star, simmons, Wolf, Martone, etc etc etc) far outstrips the supply so that the only athletes with big enough wallets are those with corporate backing? No.

20. Grant wrote...

I really do see Crossfit as getting extremely popular with an ESPN TV contract as well. Couple comments: I don't think a beast from a garage will win; just too many very fit, seasoned competitors out there who are too practiced&skilled for that to occur. Second, A Crossfitter will definitely win these events because of the required skill. Just too much skill involved in double-unders, OH squats, front squats, butterfly pull-ups, etc. Which means that, a guy who can bench a lot, carry a keg, farmers' walk a lot of weight, be an NFL D Back, or a top decathlete...aint going to win because it's a Crossfit-specific testing event. Now, I think that's fine...and quite a logical test of complete fitness; its just that an 'open' entrant better practice on these skills or he/she is not going to do well.

21. Dale Howard wrote...

@ Grant "Crossfit Specific?" Haven't events in previous games (sand bag sprints, sledgehammer stake drive, wall burpees etc) proven that you CANNOT train for specific events. Developing high capacity in the ten aspects of fitness is the best you can do.

22. Nikki wrote...

Please don't try and rationalize a $250k-$300k annual membership fee. It was an error.......NO ONE WOULD PAY THIS. There is literally nothing that a Crossfit gym can do to justify $25k per month, and NO MARKET for that type of gym.

What Crossfit athlete could afford this? This is predominantly a blue collar/civil servant/soldier based culture in Crossfit. The top Crossfitters own gyms. $25k per month??? No sponsor would cover this as no programming can guarantee any outcomes. You don't know the programming at the competitions because the constantly vary.

23. Tommy wrote...

I agree with you Nikki. I'm not sure what he was talking about, but there is literally no market for a gym with a $25k monthly membership.

The math doesn't work.

If you simply take the number of people that make $700K annually world wide ($700K minus taxes and life expenses home, food, car, etc is what you must make to leave you with the 300K for your Mega Gym Crossfit Membership) you would have a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of people that fit into this quota.

Now how many of these people Crossfit? If you just look at the age demographic of competiting athletes (who else would be serious enough about Crossfit to pay 25K per month) you find the average age is between 24-28.

From our selection of individuals that make $700K per year, how many of these would you guess are between the ages of 24-28?

Whatever that number is (I'm certain it is low) we have one more problem for the Mega Gym.....PROXIMITY. We need all of these 24-28 year old, $700K Annual Income, Crossfit DIE HARDS to live in close proximity to this Mega Gym.

I'll stop because I think it is quite obvious that this is a statistical impossibility.

The idea that a sponsor would pay this is also not correct. Sponsors are in the business of making a profit, and Reebok doesn't become Reebok by paying $300K a year for a gym they could build for $150K and employ the BEST OF THE BEST to train their squad.

(**A team of four athletes would cost $1.2 Million at a "Mega Gym" ....No way a Reebok pays this out.)

24. VinceCD wrote...

Dark Horse Winner?

Define Dark Horse, because if you mean someone the community as a whole is not aware of the answer would be "yes" that could happen.

If you mean a home gym Dark Horse, then "No"

There is a huge component missing in a home gym solitary Crossfit experience. No coach, No peer Competition, No one to check ROM, and limited equipment (in most cases).

The unknown is not really that "unknown" at this point. Those Crossfit athletes with 5 years under their belt are pretty well trained in all of the disciplines of Crossfit.

Each year they sew up more of their holes and the "unknown" becomes irrelevant.

25. Sean wrote...

If anyone has ever watched a significant number of videos from the coach you start to notice that his exaggeration is merely to make a point about growth and the future potential of the box.

The truth is that every box that is gaining more members and expanding more rapidly will eventually start charging higher amounts to cushion the expansion process, unlike a traditional gym which would normally offer lower rates upon growth because they are corporations that are publicly and privately traded. The affiliate will charge more for several reasons: more members = more trainers/sessions, more Kb's, more bars, more weights, more rowers, more PUB's, more wall-balls, more bathrooms, more water, more chalk, more overhead that needs to be covered.

I am fortunate to live an area where the rates are only a quarter of the rates that friends in boxes on the east coast pay and only a third of what my sister in California pays.

I hope to repeat what's already been said to not look into the pricing too much as it was more hypothetical than a logical statement. But who knows, Coach has been in the business of proving people wrong for a long time, from those who said Crossfit would never be where it is today, to every big box that kicked him out for teaching what we have all come to love. $250K Box a year hear I come!


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