CrossFit Controversy: Canada East

May 9, 2009 7:00 AM

Posted in Regionals »
101 Comments » on this entry


This Story is a look at the controversy of the The Canada East Qualifier from the perspective of competitor Mathieu Lalonde.

I entered the arena in Fredericton, New Brunswick, at about 7:15 a.m. It was cold and damp, as if the ice on the rink had melted only yesterday. Perfect! For this Canuck, nothing says "welcome home" like a hockey rink.

I registered at the front desk and grabbed my bib. I pinned No. 39 to my shirt and headed for the scale to get weighed. Shortly after 8 a.m., the first event was announced: 1 RM deadlift. There were no weight classes, but body weight would be used as a tiebreaker.

At this point I just knew I didn't stand a chance. My max deadlift was only 410 lbs, and plenty of heavy athletes were in the competition. I'm not an athlete, and I have no previous athletic background. Heck, I've been a typical sedentary North American male for the greater part of my life. I train at a school gym using the main site WODs. Olympic weightlifting is not allowed. There are no kettlebells or no climbing ropes. I run on treadmills. I still have too many weaknesses.

I didn't get much of a chance to contemplate any of that because controversy was brewing. It turns out Anthony and Jodi Bainbridge, who organized the event, were both known for their heavy deadlifts, and many athletes were crying foul. Many wondered why other lifts had not been chosen, but it quickly became apparent that logistics were an issue. There were an insufficient number of racks to perform other lifts or a CrossFit Total, and we barely had enough judges for the event. Some athletes ended up playing a dual role as both competitors and judges, which sparked even more controversy.

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101 comments on this entry.

1. myles wrote...

May 9, 2009 9:04 AM

Doesn't sound like much controversy to me. Suck it up and work on you're weakness'. Now you have a whole year to get better at the stuff you aren't strong at. You'll be prepared for whatever the magical world of Crossfit throws at you next qualifier.

2. Chad Furey wrote...

May 9, 2009 9:10 AM

Hey Mat

Solid article, lets just say i finished 3rd cuz im not near the skill level of anthony......yet. It's finally nice to see someone take what i hope is a non biased approach to the event, give the facts and focus on the event as a whole. I really hope this just doesn't start another debate about the event, but at least people can now have some of the facts.


3. Pierre Boivin wrote...

May 9, 2009 9:29 AM

Great write-up about the whole Canada East Qualifiers Mat!!

Like Chad said, it was about time that someone take the time to write the facts about the events and not just bitching about it

As a competitor and judges at the Canada East Qualifiers, I could say that the event was really well organized and managed. The events were chosen to have well rounded athletes to represent the Canada East in Aromas and that's the only thing that really matters at the end.

4. M. wrote...

May 9, 2009 9:49 AM

Check out the video from the crossfit Games - Canada East Qualifiters...

it was painful to watch the terrible form on the deadlifts - my back hurts just watching it! I don't care that it was the qualifier and a competition, you should never have form like that,which i saw in the video

5. Bob wrote...

May 9, 2009 10:02 AM

What is the point of adding another pile of wood to this fire?

I really dont get it.
And yeah, those deadlifts look pretty terrible to me.

AS far as using a sumo lift, well that seems like BS too.
I still dont understand why the people organizing the event were allowed to compete? They should have completed elsewhere. GReat, they ran a nice event but competing in the event they organize is just plain weird.

I really dont care either way.

WHAT DOES SUCK is the tarnishing to the crossfit image. THe spectators who were there who had to hear and listen to the constant bickering, rude yelling, etc etc.

Seems to me crossfit looked like a bunch of meat heads on this day that should have been at the globo doing bicep curls.

A sad day for crossfit is what I read in another thread. Reading more of how this event played out, I can't agree more.

6. SteveL wrote...

May 9, 2009 10:13 AM

First, great write up!

Also, props to the organizers of the event. Lots of hard work going into that.


Regarding the muscle up standards... we are discussing here if anyone is interested.



As far as competition deadlifts go you will see all sorts of "poor" form in most powerlifting competitions as the weight gets heavy enough.

It's sad but true fact not just for CF but any heavy weighted work where athletes are pushing their max abilities.

Sumo vs. "regular" style is a big point that needs to be addressed though.

May 9, 2009 10:17 AM

For all of those who attended the Can-East qualifiers:

I left my Ugg boots up on the hill where our cars were parked. If anyone found them please leave a message here or e-mail me!

Thank you very much! :)

May 9, 2009 10:26 AM


I second what you said on form. Form is not kept once the load increases and you begin to reach your max.

9. Mathieu Lalonde wrote...

May 9, 2009 10:29 AM


Anthony Bainbridge sent an email to the competitors about a pair of lost Ugg boots. Contact him about it.


May 9, 2009 10:37 AM


Yeah, I just thought it was worth a try getting the word out on here too...I miss my Uggs!!!

May 9, 2009 10:40 AM

Those were my UGG boots!

Mat - solid writing as always. Nice to see your perspective and knowing youas I do, solid views were shining thru.


PS - Melissa stole m UGG boots.

12. Mathieu Lalonde wrote...

May 9, 2009 10:46 AM


I'm not trying to complain, I just wanted to give a personal account precisely for the reason that you underscore. That is, when you look at it after the fact, it doesn't really seem like a big deal. I for one certainly wasn't aiming to qualify. I still have many weaknesses to iron out. I'm surprised I was able to rank in the top 10.


13. Mathieu Lalonde wrote...

May 9, 2009 10:49 AM

Chad, Pierre, Tucker Thanks!

When are you coming to visit Melissa and I Tuck?


14. Jeanette Pearson wrote...

May 9, 2009 11:16 AM

Hey Mat,

Thanks for taking the time to write this article. And congratulations again on a solid performance!

For what it's worth, everyone I spoke to last week remained in good spirits throughout the 2days and they all admitted to having a great time. I heard way more laughter than arguing.

PS- Nice pic Melissa. Lookin' strong girl!

May 9, 2009 11:22 AM

Jeff, watch it, or you'll be buying me new ones!

Mathieu, you did an OUTSTANDING job at qualifiers...don't be so hard on yourself! Beast!

16. Roland Jungwirth wrote...

May 9, 2009 11:40 AM

As soon as you introduce competitions where something is to be gained, you will have people trying to take advantage of the "system". I don't have a problem with that. If a trainer puts emphasis on a certain aspect of fitness, they will do that in their (and their boxes) workouts and subsequently in any routines, e.g. the qualification workouts. If this is not the way it is intended, get all qualifier boxes to submit workouts, shuffle and re-allocate them.

As to muscle-ups - who cares how they get into that position. I couldn't do a V-sit and "catapult" myself into an extended dip position. Maybe it doesn't take the same aspects of fitness into consideration as a 'standard' muscle up does but again, who are we to judge.

Kudus to the Bainbridges to take themselves out of the ranking - it takes a lot to do that. Good article, Mat!

17. Alex Beaulieu wrote...

May 9, 2009 11:46 AM

It was a great article! This was the thinking of the weekend. Just a point that you failed ... You talked about the fact that the point system had changed over the weekend (second workout), but if it had remained the same, the qualifiers would have been different. That is sad in history. I finished seventh, sixth with the withdrawal of Anthony Bainbridge, and the fifth, fourth and third have not completed the second workout in time rx'd. That would have made me finish in third place(with the withdrawal of Bainbridge). Thus, I would have been qualified for the Games, but the rules have changed during the competition. I am disappointed with the situation, but I will be back next year

Alex Beaulieu, Crossfit St-Jean

18. SteveL wrote...

May 9, 2009 12:04 PM

"As to muscle-ups - who cares how they get into that position. I couldn't do a V-sit and "catapult" myself into an extended dip position. Maybe it doesn't take the same aspects of fitness into consideration as a 'standard' muscle up does but again, who are we to judge."

Well, there's two major points being discussed in the thread which are:

1. Center of mass starts higher which means less overall work

2. What's stopping someone from using significant amounts of swing which would result in something like a back uprise?

For reference:

This is substantially easier than a muscle up because of the amount of swing involved, and requires very little strength/work executed correctly.

19. Lars Bredahl wrote...

May 9, 2009 1:14 PM

Nicely put Mathieu.
I'm glad to hear not everyone felt "screwed" by this qualifier. I certainly did not. I entered this event last minute and with the intentions of having some fun, meeting some fellow "CrossFitters" and doing whatever was thrown at me. But, by the end of the first event I had heard enough complaining to last me all weekend.
Fortunately I met a bunch of great people that I look forward to seeing or competing against in the future, which made the 15hr drive (one way) and the weekend well worth my while.
Thanks to all the refs, volunteers, and competitors. If anyone is out in Kitchener (ON) and wants to train let me know.

20. Jeff MacRae wrote...

May 9, 2009 1:35 PM

I was one of the people employing the "kip" muscle up technique. I didn't mean to start any controversy and wasn't ever planning on using it but another athlete demonstrated it in the warm up and the organizers/judges passed it and said we could use it. So I figured why not? As far as being easier, it is. IF YOU CAN DO IT. If you don't have experience with it, it is probably more challenging than a regular muscle up. If a rule were in place to outlaw this technique I would have no problem with it but I think that it is a valuable skill to learn as it employs accuracy and agility mixed with strength, where the traditional muscle up employs mainly strength only. Also it should be noted that after 25 of them mixed with sets of 5 135lb clean & jerks they feel about the same on the arms/shoulders as normal muscle ups!

I think the only way we could outlaw this or the "back/front uprise" from competition is to get rid of swinging all together. That is to only allow strict muscle ups. There were people competing that were swinging so much that it could almost be considered a front uprise. I don't think that anyone would only want strict muscle ups so I say just allow whatever method you want. After all, if the "kip" was so much easier why didn't all 49 people do it?

21. Mathieu Lalonde wrote...

May 9, 2009 1:56 PM

Steve L,

I personally don't care whether or not these muscle-ups were legit but I would like to clarify. The picture you put up on the boards isn't quite right. The starting position for the muscle-up I'm describing in the article was an inverted L-sit on the rings and not a regular L-sit or V-sit. Many athletes argued, and rightfully so, that this was easier than a strict or kipping muscle-up given that the majority of the athlete's body weight was above the rings in the bottom position.


22. SteveL wrote...

May 9, 2009 2:06 PM


It is more technical no doubt, or the other competitors didn't know it was legit or just wanted to stick with tried and true methods. Shrug. That's their choice(s).

I definitely agree that strict is probably not the way to go, but the amount of kipping is certainly getting excessive for my tastes at least (and I'm a former gymnast who does more kipping pullups than strict). I certainly would have no problems abusing back uprising if I was there, and maybe it would be a good idea for someone to so that it gets addressed somehow? I dunno. Just throwing some thoughts out there.



They're all on the same continuum. An L/V is just partway to an inverted pike/inverted L just not as far up.

And if it is a true inverted L or V the gymnastics term for it is "kip to support."

Thanks for clarifying though that makes it easier to discuss.

May 9, 2009 2:21 PM

Great write-up Matt! Sounds like an awesome event, like you said controversy is expected when pitting badass, Type A's in competition. I hope to see Jodi and Anthony qualify.

24. Jeff MacRae wrote...

May 9, 2009 2:43 PM

I agree....I don't really care what methods are allowed but it would be good for future reference to get a solid definition of what is or isn't allowed.

25. grambo wrote...

May 9, 2009 2:46 PM

Isn't sumo allowed in powerlifting competitions? There is a shorter ROM but don't you need stronger hips with the wider stance? I was under the impression whether you were stronger with conventional or sumo depended mostly on limb length ratios (long torso, short limbs = sumo will be stronger).

26. AlexBureau wrote...

May 9, 2009 3:00 PM

Facing the controversy about the muscle up ... it's suppose to be a muscle up, not a SWING up ... and about the second workout, that wokout was seperating the man from the kids ... you want elite athletes, if you didn't manage to do that workout in less then 10 min you're not one ... peace out

27. Jerry wrote...

May 9, 2009 3:31 PM

The controversy is inevitable when you have competitors who have a shot at winning also organizing the event. That was the mistake and whoever allowed that to happen is to blame for the controversy. Bainbridges are strong crossfiters and unless the qualifiers had a endurance focus, they were likely to qualify for the games.

There is nothing wrong with choosing deadlift but they should have anticipated the controversy it would cause since no woman was going to beat the Canadian record holder.

I hope to see the Brainbridges compete in Aromas because they should represent their region in the games.

28. Russell replied to comment from grambo...

May 9, 2009 3:54 PM


Dave Tate, who is really only concerned with heavy, competition-winning Deadlifts, says that Sumo vs. conventional really comes down to personal preference and anthropometry (segment lengths).

29. Tom Fetter wrote...

May 9, 2009 4:13 PM

As a judge for the muscleup / C&J workout, I allowed a competitor to use the technique people are describing - it had been used in previous heats too for other judges.

I don't think that any non-gymnast anticipated that version of the movement - certainly we didn't when as judges, we met to discuss in advance what the judging standards should be.

Given that the judging standards posted for all competitors in advance required but 2 things - full extension at the bottom, and full extension at the top - I don't think that we could have disallowed it, even were we so inclined.

But I agree that it came out to mean something like the "get a barbell overhead anyhow" technique that other qualifiers have used. Hindsight's a wonderful thing.

30. Nat R wrote...

May 9, 2009 4:58 PM

On the deadlift workout. Why wasn't (x) bodyweight taken into account? This would have bought the bigger guys back to the pack. Also I agree with Myles, just work harder on the things you suck at.

31. Matt Solomon wrote...

May 9, 2009 5:02 PM

Cool article. I hope many people take Alex Beaulieu's view and although dissapointed with a few things, had a good time at the Games.

My only problem with the article, is this "Anthony lifted last, used a sumo stance and only lifted 10 pounds above the
top score even though his PR was higher."

Everything about that. Sure, someone has to lift last - although they seemed to have a few platforms so maybe it wasn't just one person at the end. But using, and possibly introducing at the end, a sumo stance?! common! Worse yet, is simply winning the deadlift because you know the next best score. I can't say I know Anthony's PR, but if that's true, that is BS. In the other work outs, where people work out in heats, you put in your best time. You don't cruise along to the end with other competitors and pull away at the last minute. This isn't a triathlon. You could argue that you don't want to go all out in one workout, since there are others you need energy for, but I doubt anyone would do that if they went first. Mathieu (who wrote the article) talked about how he was so motivated he went up to 430 (which seemed to be his PR by 15#). THAT is what the games are about.

May 9, 2009 5:14 PM

I planned to lift 525 as my max before anyone had stepped onto a platform. In fact, I won the event on my second lift (515 @ 169) based on the body weight tiebreaker. If I was trying to "game" anything - why would I continue with my third lift? Because it's what I said I was going to do before anything started. Plain and simple.

As for sumo deadlifts - the rules were outlined weeks in advance - and not a single person complained. We followed CPU / IPF rules minus equipment. That means any stance and any grip.

33. Christian Habib wrote...

May 9, 2009 5:27 PM

Great write-up Matt, with that said, I think there are a few points that need to be addressed in defense of Tony and Jodi.

1- Someone (I'm afraid I can't remember who) mentioned that Tony's 565 lb deadlift PR was at a significantly higher bodyweight and is not all that recent.

2- Tony and Jodi went last in that event for logistical reasons. Specifically reasons relating to getting film of all the projected top athletes.

3- Here's a video which shows off the "new muscle ups", if anyone's interested (w/f/s) I agree these shouldn't count as muscle ups any more than a snatch should count as a clean & jerk but it met all the specified standards that were set for the qualifiers. I don't see how the judges could have disallowed the movement given the rules, but I am hoping that the rules get amended on future events to say that the legs should be below the head at the start of the movement.

I'm really hoping that Alex, Tony, and Jodi manage to get in through the "last chance" qualifiers. They're all tremendous athletes and all deserve a ticket to Aromas in my book.

PS: Chad, you are the man; I'll be cheering for you and Roch to crush the workouts at the games.

May 9, 2009 5:48 PM

That comment is BS ... you know why ... because when we registered for that qualifier you asked us our times on different wods and our numbers on certain 1rep max lifts ... INCLUDING THE DEADLIFT ... so you already knew everybody's deadlift and you knew in advance what you had to do to secure a spot in the top 3 ... peace out

35. AlexBureau wrote...

May 9, 2009 5:53 PM

Sorry for double post ... didn't show on my lousy computer ;) ... sorry train hard

36. Mathieu Lalonde wrote...

May 9, 2009 5:57 PM


I just want to make it clear that I'm not trying to incriminate anybody. I just tried to explain why there was controversy and tried to describe some of the arguments.


May 9, 2009 5:57 PM

Thanks man ... where do I send the check ;) ... keep it up montreal

38. Matt Solomon wrote...

May 9, 2009 6:28 PM

Anthony, if you planned that ahead of time. That's ok. But why not go all out for everything? I don't know why you chose the events. I doubt you did it with malacious intent or to guarantee yourself a spot at the Games. After reading about it on the website, and seeing comments like AlexBureau's, it seems fishy from a third party point of view. It just doesn't FEEL right.

The arguments that anyone should be able to compete in a 1RM deadlift event are valid. It's a great lift. And maybe it'll come up at the Last Chance Qualifier or whatever it's called. That would be ironic. Anyways, good luck.

39. SteveL wrote...

May 9, 2009 7:09 PM

"I don't see how the judges could have disallowed the movement given the rules, but I am hoping that the rules get amended on future events to say that the legs should be below the head at the start of the movement."

Hmm, that still wouldn't rule out any real insane swinging movements. But it's a start.

As far as sumo vs regular thanks for clarifying Anthony.

40. Grady wrote...

May 9, 2009 7:42 PM

Jeeez Bainbridge, you got a bad attitude. Why so defensive? You protest way too much. At this stage of the game you should put on your man pants and zip it.

41. Jake wrote...

May 9, 2009 8:12 PM

Anyone remember this article-"All Other Things Being Equal: The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine?" It puts the so called controversy to rest for two reasons: 1,no one cares about how you get up on the Muscle-ups, as long as you get up and 2, no one cares how you get the weight up and hips extended on the Deadlift, as long as you do it.And as for the run, CF is supposed to prepare you for the unexpected. Would you (the author) have run harder on the 5k if you knew the rest of the WOD?

May 9, 2009 10:01 PM

My apologies to anyone looking for the video of the movement, I took it down to respect the privacy of the athletes shown.

43. RJ replied to comment from AlexBureau...

May 9, 2009 10:59 PM

If you care to look at his workout log over the last year or two, you won`t find a deadlift that much exceeds 525lb (Please have a look and put your indignation to rest). Unless someone can link to a significantly higher DL in the last year or so, I think this misconception should be put to rest. So when he says he planned to lift 525lb, it is because it`s very close to his PR at his body weight of around 170lb.

Grady: The adults are talking, run along and play with your friends tiger.

May 10, 2009 2:35 AM

Matt, 525 is what I had in me for that day (and I was lucky to get that). I don't walk around with a 565 any day of the week. That was 2 years ago at 180. Last year before the 2008 Games I hit 555 conventional @ 170. Since then I have floated in the low 500's. All public knowledge in my journal.

45. Ryan Kells wrote...

May 10, 2009 7:20 AM

Just a couple of quick comments and observations.

1. Anthony was in my heat of the deadlift and we were not in the last heat. We were second last.

2. Having the 1 rep max event benefitted a number of people that day not just one. I myself was one of a few that joined the 500lb club. That event put me in the running to qualify; especially since all the other heavy lifters are slower runners. (Event #2 took me out).

3. Sending in your numbers in advance didn't affect anything. Why? A tonne of people hit PR's that day by wide margins. Some by upwards of 50 lbs or more. Therefore, the stats weren't all that valid for gaming.

May 10, 2009 9:47 AM

Hey Matt, told you it would be interesting to see how this whole thing played out!

Great job on the write-up. I think this is as close as anybody is going to see as far as an informed, objective, and impartial analysis, although your personal anecdotes add a nice touch. There's always two sides to each argument, and with CrossFit level intensity, it's easy to let emotions get in the way.

Given that, I admit I'm biased towards Anthony and Jodi on this one (full disclosure: I'm from Fredericton and was trained by Anthony and Jodi for the majority of last year). Anyone that really knows them would realize there was never any malicious intent on their part. I believe they truly wanted to find the best CrossFitters to represent Canada East and I feel the events were as fair a test as any others to find someone who could do it all and do well in California. The events and scoring were similar to the 2007 Games with an extra metcon to smooth out the domain from 1RM to 5km run. You don't want to be the organizers of the region that sends people that finish near the bottom in Aromas.

I'll just make one more note regarding the deadlift event. It could have just as easily been scored according to bodyweight using Wilks or Schwartz-Malone, but then Anthony and Jodi would have just won by even more. Jodi tied for the lightest female competitor in the field at 111lbs, and Anthony is a below CrossFit average size 169. By not scaling, it gives the advantage to the bigger athletes who have the disadvantage on other movements. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If you truly follow the CrossFit philosophy, you identify your weakness and do your best to make it a strength.

47. Joey wrote...

May 10, 2009 11:28 AM


Great article and way to point out that a lot of people were having fun! I sure did and wrote about it too

Thanks for posting Philippe Boisclair's last name, I missed it and was about to leave it out but found it in your article.

For a visual of Philippe's support to others check out this video and note at 1:29 he spots one of CF PEI's members doing well and comes over to cheer him on:

48. Johnny Winsor wrote...

May 10, 2009 11:45 AM

What a train wreck. Sounds like the organizers were naive about the competition politics. You kicked over a wasps nest as a result. Next time *think*.

49. Eric Vandermeersch wrote...

May 10, 2009 2:33 PM

Great article and lots of great comments! If nothing else the enthusiasm for fitness was sparked in all of us and that is the beauty that we all share in.
Say what you want about the event. It had its fair share of problems but as Jodi said to me during saturdays proceedings, "you're going to get that at any competition". And she's right. Maybe the Bainbridges are known for their Deadlifts but it's still a totally legitimate lift for a CrossFit event. Muscle-ups? ya, they're good at those too but again, the movement is totally CrossFit. They did post a run too and they're not as strong there. I did find it interesting that there was no squat in this qualifier though. At no time did our hips have to drop below our knees. I feel that this was a huge portion of fitness that will be missing in Canada east's representation in Aromas.
The question is, and this is the only question, was a midnight rule change fair?. It totally changed the standings. I have yet to see a post that can justify the change and I would love to hear a fair reason for it. You can't tell a group of people a set of rules to play by and then change them after 75% of the events are done. Thoughts?

50. Steve Moroto wrote...

May 10, 2009 3:10 PM

Eric, since you asked for thoughts, I'll share mine. The rules were altered to give one of the organizers a win. That's the only explanation that makes sense.

51. Linda wrote...

May 10, 2009 4:01 PM

Anthony, I was down at wal mart today shopping for a mother's day present and I saw that they had man pants on sale. You might want to head down there and buy a couple pair. Learn to walk in them. Learn to live in them.

52. Justin McCallon wrote...

May 10, 2009 4:13 PM

I didn't read all the posts afterward, but I read the original write-up.

Just a couple things:
#1 - the poster complains about being little and therefore not being competitive in the deadlift. Then he makes note of how unfair it is that Jodi is competing in the deadlift. Jodi looks pretty small to me.
Underlying point,though: CF should never have weight classes. Yes, bigger athletes have an advantage in moving more weight. But, smaller athletes have an advantage in moving their body weight. And guess what? Half of the competition involved moving your body weight. I don't see a lot of bigger athletes complaining every time they have to do a pull-up or run. If anything, these competitions are biased against tall athletes, because the total amount of work done is higher on just about everything. When CF starts doing Atlas Stones, Sandbag Carries, Farmer's Walks, Throws, etc. then it will actually be a test of Work Capacity over time.

#2 - I still don't understand this crap about how it's unfair that the Deadlift is picked (saying it benefits Anthony/Jodi) when everybody that brings it up also ignores the fact that they also picked the run, which they are awful at. Anthony could have picked to Row a 5k and still have made a fair competition that was biased in his favor.

It also sounds like the second round scoring was about as fair as it could be. There might have been some lack of foresight going in...

My only critique is that I don't think the scoring should have been done the way it was. i.e. Instead of second place always getting 95 (and so on), I think 1st place should get 100, and after that every place should get a percentage of first that corresponds with their total time/weight/rounds in proportion to first place. So, in an extreme situation, if the events were just the 1st and fourth, as it stands, Aaron could pull 500 with Bob pulling 499 and Carlos pulling 498, and then on the run Carlos could finish in 20 minutes, with Aaron at 40 and Bob at 41. Aaron would finish 1st and 2nd, and therefore win, even though Carlos's performance is clearly superior.

May 10, 2009 4:14 PM

Couldn't agree more Eric ... changing rules after the completion of an event is cheating in any sporting/athletic "competition" PERIOD.

54. Justin McCallon wrote...

May 10, 2009 4:17 PM

Oh and two more things: a 430 deadlift @ 149 lbs is seriously legit. Nice work dude.

And the issue of Sumo deadlifting... Why, exactly, does CF have a problem with this? I am 6'4 and I can pull sumo with a much longer ROM than any of you midgets can pull conventional. If you force everyone to pull conventional, you are just biasing against body types (short limb people, as mentioned above). And, it's not a bad idea to do at least one exercise with a wide stance, since you're cleaning/squatting/snatching/jerking with a narrow stance.

55. Eric Vandermeersch wrote...

May 10, 2009 4:30 PM

Steve, so it would seem. It is true that Jodi would have tied for fourth without the rule change. Both Anthony and Jodi had a great reputation going into these qualifiers and it would seem out of character for such a stunt to be pulled by them. Nevertheless the rules of the event were altered and as you point out the change did better the placement of one of the organizers. Combine that with the rest of this questionable weekend and you've got a situation that looks worse than bad. Many people feel cheated and regardless of the intent behind the decisions made by the organizers, it seems that very little thought was given to fairness. It really is a shame.

May 10, 2009 4:36 PM


We didn't anticipate that so few would finish the second workout. When NO woman finished - and therefore no points awarded - the event as a fitness test no longer made sense. Sending women to California based on a DL, burpees, and a run? While completely ignoring weightlifting and gymnastics? Those are major aspects that had to be accounted for in the test or we would not be doing our job.

Now ignore the time limit, points, scores, and whatever ... for a minute. Just rank that workout based on actual work completed in 10 minutes and it's clear where things fall. Now score those efforts however you want. That's how it should have been done from the start - hence the change - hindsight is 20/20.

May 10, 2009 4:37 PM

99.9% of the comments on here are awesome. Everyone's giving their feedback and their opinions in a mannerly way (as we all should). But the other .1% is just unnecessary.

Eric, I wholly agree with you. And I especially would have loved to see an event where our hips are required to drop below the knees. It's definitely another great way to test the strength level of an athlete.

Thanks again to Jodi and Anthony for hosting, and thanks for trying to help me find my damn boots! Some little furry animal is probably living it up in them as we speak!

May 10, 2009 6:38 PM

Do we really care if no woman finished the event ... the ones that did it rx would have had an advantage in a tiebraker situation, the one that was the furthest in the workout would have won, that's it ... and for the men side, if you couldn't manage to finish that workout in under 10min, you're not an elite athlete and thus can't represent east canada as a human machine ... that's my point of view ... peace out

59. Eric Vandermeersch wrote...

May 10, 2009 7:17 PM


I totally agree that the removal of the second workout voids the validity of the fitness test. But, the rules had been set and explained to the competitors, they had been understood and accepted. I appreciate what you were trying to do by giving points for DNF's and I am fully aware of who did the most work on event 2 but it was too late for a change. The rules and the workouts were created by you!
Many competitors were bumped down the standings and were made to feel cheated and what about those who would have qualified had the rules not changed? How were they left feeling? You had plenty of time to decide that a DNF was good for zero points before the qualifiers. No one finished, no point should have been awarded.
And lets not forget about the 12 males who were able to complete the second event. Why change the rules for the men as well. The task was given and athletes unable to complete it were ranking higher than those who were able?
Lets put this in perspective for a moment. A soccer match takes place between team A and team B. Everyone understands before the match that the team that scores the most goals wins. At the end of the match team A has 2 goals and team B has zero. As team A is celebrating there win the organizers of the match (who happen to play on team B) decide that the victory should go to the team who had posession of the ball for the most time during the match and it just so happens that Team B had more posession time. This would be complete and total insanity if it happened in soccer and yet I see no difference between this example and what happened at the Canada East qualifiers.
Anthony, I believe your intensions to be good. We spoke before the event and I believed you when you said you wanted the fittest athletes to represent eastern Canada. I still believe that to be your intension. But come on brother! It's just not right to make a change like that and it sure didn't look good.

60. Alexandre Beaulieu wrote...

May 10, 2009 7:42 PM

Very good comment Mr. Vandermeesch
I think that is one of the best if not the best explanation we have read on this forum. In any sport, the rules can not be changed after the first whistle. The tests were accurate in all, despite what we may have heard, but the change of rules was not appropriate.

61. RJ replied to comment from AlexBureau...

May 10, 2009 7:46 PM

So you're saying that anyone who can't finish an arbitrary workout with an arbitrary time limit should be disqualified because they aren't elite? Imagine a Fran event where the limit was set at 3:00. Everyone with a respectable 3-4 minute fran would be disqualified, and even if they were studs at all the other events, they would essentially be removed from contention by that one event.

I suppose it may be disappointing if you were banking on all your competitors being disqualified in one event to achieve your win. But in the spirit of competition, a scoring change in this case seems appropriate. Credit given for work done. The athletes that qualified arguably had the best balance of athletacism across "broad time and modal" domains tested in the four events, and they will represent the east coast well.

62. Wally wrote...

May 10, 2009 8:03 PM

Jodi: Anthony, wtf?? I thought I was going to win event #2!

Anthony: Don't worry sweetie, I'll change the rules and make you the winner.

May 10, 2009 8:03 PM


Arbitrary?? When headquarters asked affiliates to host qualifiers do you honestly think they wanted anything arbitrary?? I would like to think they wanted well thought out workouts capable of seperating elite from advanced and so on. I think they wanted these tests to be anything but arbitrary. Do you think the workouts in last years games were arbitrary? How about the ones waiting for us in this years games? Because the designers of these workouts would fully disagree with you.
Hosting affiliates were charged with coming up with workouts that would reveal the best of the best. If these workouts seem arbitrary to you there's some very early journals you need to re-read. I think Anthony and Jodi wanted these workouts to accurately test ones fitness. Making a change only admits that the workouts were not written exactly right.

May 10, 2009 8:10 PM


Thank you. It would be nice to see the standings go back to the original scores before the change.

65. Louise Hodge wrote...

May 10, 2009 8:13 PM

Super excited for all the athletes who made it. Great story!!! Good luck to all of those trying the last chance qualifiers!!!!! I am very inspired after Fredericton and was so happy to meet some amazingly positive people who train hard and smile while they do it cuz they LOVE it, yessss.

"Those who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor."
Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

May 10, 2009 8:20 PM

Your soccer example is not quite the same. A more analogous situation would be if you had a soccer tournament and set a baseline that any team that didn't score at least two goals in a game recieves no points for the match (even if they won most of their games 1-0). It would seem that even in games where they did not hit that baseline, they should recieve points.

I can understand why people would be disappointed by the result, but I don't see how any true competitor would want to insist that his or her competitors be disqualified so that they can qualify. The guy that was bumped ahead of you and Alex (i.e., Roch I think you may be referring to) was somewhat lower on the second workout, but he dominated both of you on the other three events. If the objective is to send someone who excels at cleans and MU to Aroma, ok, you guys did very well. If you want to send athletes that are competative across broad time and modal demands, as is the mandate of CF, then the guys going more than earned their position.

The rules were not changed, but the scoring was changed only to give credit to the people for work done. More importnatly, this scoring change did not change your rank in that event at all, only your overall ranking because others received the points for the event that they deserved.

May 10, 2009 8:24 PM

I agree that the workout was not exactly right. And it was rectified when they corrected the point scoring system to give credit where credit was due.

68. GH wrote...

May 10, 2009 8:40 PM

You are exactly right. The final results show the strongest athletes minus Toni who would probably have qualified even if the events were different. He is a machine. The right men and women are going to California. Good luck to all of them.

May 10, 2009 9:06 PM


I'm not sure what you mean by "I can understand why people would be disappointed by the result, but I don't see how any true competitor would want to insist that his or her competitors be disqualified so that they can qualify".

As far as my rank is concerned, I really don't care nor have I even looked at my particular details. It's the 7 other athletes that I train that traveled 1400km to compete that I am concerned about. I also was not refering to Roch. In fact I think he is a fine athlete and will represent very well. The workouts and movements chosen are an entirely seperate issue but I'd be more than willing to discuss those as well.

Find me an example of a scoring change like this one in any of the other qualifiers, even one where no females could finish the workout.

You can tweak my soccer example all day long, the fact remains that at 5pm on Saturday there were standings announced and later that evening when the results were posted, everything had changed. The issue is not which method is better, the issue is which method was decided upon and implimented.

I appreciate your desire for the best athletes to represent and for giving credit for work accomplished. You are obviously someone who wants to see competitors given what they deserve. What I can't understand is how anyone can stand up and atempt to justify that a rule/scoring change made after a competition is legit. No matter how you slice it, it just looks bad.

70. RJ wrote...

May 10, 2009 10:17 PM

I suppose to me the question is exactly what is fair, regardless of what was implemented, and that point may be where we end up differing on this issue. I would argue that the 10 minute cutt-off was far less fair than allowing all participants to recieve credit for their efforts. You seem to be arguing that it was unfair to the people in that event, but the fact is the change in scoring had no significant effect on the rankings of that particular event. It did, however, change the overall standings such that the people that performed best across all events (on average) were ranked the highest. Penalizing certain people for one middling effort out of four seems to me a much greater offence, particularly because the Crossfit philosophy claims to favour generalists.

I guess I don't totally see where you're coming from on this issue. Are you more interested in arguing for your athletes ranking on the basis of a scoring technicality in one event, or do you agree that the best overall athletes in the competition should be able to earn their positions.

To my knowledge, no other qualifier has a problem anything like this so there would be no other examples of a similar solution being implemented. Admittedly, it does look bad, but I think any reasonable person will allow for a couple small hiccups during the first year of the qualifiers.

I simply used you soccer example because you used it to prove a point and it wasn't really an apt anology.

May 10, 2009 10:32 PM

Changing the scoring after the fact was absolutely the wrong thing to do. It wasn't fair to the guys that got bumped and it made you look like you didn't put enough thought and research into your workouts. I'd love to see CF HQ allow the original qualifying athletes into the games. And I'd like to see CF HQ allow in the guys that slipped in on the rule change as well. None of them should have to suffer for your mistake. From all accounts, you sound like a super cool guy with great intentions. But hemming and hawing about scoring after the events have already taken place was a very, very, very poor decision... period.

I feel bad for everyone involved in this mess. You tried to do right by everyone, and now you're being vilified. The guys that got bumped must have a sour taste in their mouths. And the guys that slipped in worked their butts off and I certainly wouldn't want to see them get booted now...Sigh. Unfortunately you can't un-ring a bell.

72. Reno_Ty replied to comment from Linda...

May 10, 2009 10:40 PM

That was mean. And by the way, what the heck were you doing shopping for your mother in WalMart!? Don't you love your mother enough to buy her something from a respectable store?
I hate WalMart.
And say what you want, but anyone that can deadlift (sumo or not) over 500 pounds is a man in my book!

May 11, 2009 3:10 AM

Eric, it was a very difficult situation to be in - but the final result is that the fittest are ranked at top. Period. I think the difference in our understanding of that situation, and therefore acceptance of the change, is that you are more concerned with arbitrary points and we are more concerned with actual fitness. You're like a lawyer trying to get a bad guy off on a loophole even though you know he's guilty.

74. JroCk - Beach Crossfit wrote...

May 11, 2009 3:23 AM

I have so many comments on this, and you, Anthony, that I think that restraint of tounge and pen is the watchward here for me.

And please, you frickin d-bag, refrain from calling me to ask me what it is that I would have liked to have said.

I think it is obvious, from my comments back to your remarks on Jeannie's Youtube Deadlift video, where I stand on thoughts of your character...or lack thereof.

short rant over.

May 11, 2009 3:34 AM

Justin, you're still butthurt because your girl dropped a deadlift and you wondered why people were questioning the lift? I make an objective non-emotional comment that IPF doesn't allow for dropping and then you attack me online and on the phone. Your opinions on character traits are the least of my concerns.

May 11, 2009 4:37 AM

The same topics are being beaten to death. Facts are.. workouts were set up to advance Jodi. When she FAILED at the one workout that was to put her ahaid of the gals,, the rules were changed. Say what you wish, but it's too obvious to deny.
I asked Jodi at the event " why max deads and muscles ups " knowing she rocked those workouts. She rambled on about some shit but the bottom line was that they were easy movements to judge, so she said. ARE YOU FUCKEN KIDDING ME. That just leads to another big problem. JUDGING. some called back for not locking out the muscle up and others did not. And as for the dead lift. My teamate got screwed with her 315 deadlift. Bainbridges,, get a hold of the video, you messed up big time on calling that one back. Way to rock that 315 Danielle.
I would like to know what Headquaters thoughts are on this SHIT SHOW.
One more things to add. Why were they chosen!!!! They are not even level 2 certified. A level 2 coach should be awarded hosting the qualifiers..

77. RJ wrote...

May 11, 2009 4:58 AM

I suppose the irony of posting all that nonsense and then calling tony a d-bag is lost on you. Time to up the meds tiger.

As the crazies seem to be coming out now, I guess its time to leave this issue be.

May 11, 2009 8:38 AM

These comments are getting a bit emotional. Lets leave it alone now before someone says something that they regret or that makes good people look bad.

RJ, great talking with you and I'd love to continue our discussion perhaps over email.

Best of luck to everyone going to Aromas.

May 11, 2009 9:48 AM

My thoughts exactly angie.


80. Jeff MacRae wrote...

May 11, 2009 10:56 AM

Just a quick comment on the issue of giving credit for work completed. By giving credit to people that did not finish as prescribed another problem was created. If you look at the standings the people that"attempted" RX'd got more points than people that did a scaled version. So in the womens case someone that did 5 clean and jerks a 1 muscle up got more points than another girl that did 40 clean and jerks, 40 pull ups, 40 push ups. I don't see how this is properly ranking work completed?? Before the workout started the competitors were told that if you did not finish in time or did a scaled version that you would get 0 points, so people that knew they could do one or two muscle ups but not 25 just chose to do the scaled version. If they knew the rules were going to change than they would have chose to attempt RX'd and get more points.

By changing rules on the fly nobody wins as there are plenty of other discrepancies that arise. Not to mention it just looks really bad and causes comments like the ones in the thread.

For other qualifiers from now on the rules that are originally posted should be the ones that are used no matter how many people finish.

81. Tom Fetter wrote...

May 11, 2009 11:41 AM

I hear you about the Muscleup/C&J. In retrospect, it obviously would have been better to have this as AMRAP in 10 minutes or whatever, from the outset.

About the movement standards though - esp. the two disputed deadlifts ... both hitching, and dropping the bar were expressly prohibited in the movement standards document posted earlier in the week. And it bears pointing out that each competitor/judge had a pre-WOD conversation, before their heat. The conversation:

- reiterated the movement standards set out in the documents published earlier in the week

- asked the competitor to demonstrate

- identified the point at which a rep would be counted (i.e. what's "full extension' here)

- asked the competitor if they understood that only reps like those they'd just demonstrated would be "good," and

- asked the competitor if they understood that a judge's decision is not arguable.

For consistency's sake, those conversations were *scripted* - read from a text printed on the back of each judge's clipboard. Competitors could agree to forego judging wrangles, or they were free to withdraw.

Versions of that same conversation were held prior to EACH WOD on Saturday - whether the Muscleup/C&J, the DL, or the Burpee/Kettlebell. In each case, each competitor agreed up-front that a judge's decision was final and unarguable.

I'm all for making future events better - and there are certainly lessons to be taken from this. And I've yet to be at a competition or tournament without a few questionable calls.

But competitors themselves explicitly ruled out challenging judging decisions after-the-fact. Kudos to those competitor/posters who've held themselves to that undertaking ...

82. AlexBureau wrote...

May 11, 2009 12:01 PM

I find that funny when people try to say that all went well in our qualifier and that these kind of bs happens in every competition and we cannot make everyone happy and blah blah blah blah blah ... but I wonder why each time there is an article or a thread about the East Canada qualifier there is like 100's of comments and on other qualifier there is between 10-20 ????? I think something went wrong at ours so stop saying it's a NORMAL situation when it's not ... good luck for everyone at the last chance qualifier, the ONLY one that will be ruled correctly by HQ ... peace out

83. Stoney Wentus wrote...

May 11, 2009 12:43 PM

I read everything, listened carefully to both sides. It's clear that the event was tailored to suit the strengths of the organizers and the rules were changed after the fact to help one of the organizers qualify.

I hope neither organizers makes it to the finals via the last chance. This is a black eye for the community.

May 11, 2009 12:44 PM


The point isn't that everything was perfect - obviously it wasn't. The big issue, and the one which should be addressed in next year's processes, is the appearance of impropriety. Similarly, the pre-testing of the musleup/C&J WOD obviously predicted different results than happened at the actual competition. The scoring was obviously unfortunate - whichever way you'd go personally.

What I'm reacting to is the inappropriate use of that stuff to breathe life into gripes which should otherwise have died. A hitched DL should fail, whether in a spotlessly pure competition or one run by steroid-addled Mafia dons. A muscleup is a "legit" CF movement, whether you're a #130 gymnast, or a #230 powerlifter. A run flagged well enough for the winning runners to see readily can't have been so awfully flagged that sharp-eyed wonders ran halfway to Moncton by mistake.

Legit criticisms are, by definition, legit. Opportunistic criticisms ... not so much.

86. Lincoln wrote...

May 11, 2009 1:35 PM

Personally, I think every regional coordinator should be granted two slots to the Games just for having to put up with this shit. I see it like being the host country for the Olympics; they don't have to qualify athletes either.

I wonder how many of the people bitching about this particular regionals would be willing, capable, or qualified to put on a regional games themselves. I wonder how many of this year's regional coordinators are thinking, "Let someone else deal with this whining next year."

87. Justin McCallon wrote...

May 11, 2009 1:48 PM

It seems like the main focus is on the second event now. Didn't HQ make the call on the round scoring?

Guys, I'm not sure if you've hosted competitions like this before, but they never run perfectly. I know when CrossFit-Wilmington hosted a competition half this size last year, all the trainers spent a whole lot of time planning for it, and we still missed some things that resulted in some slight unfairness.

Anthony's idea on the time for the second workout was definitely off. Hardly any of the male competitors finished, and none of the female competitors finished. After figuring something like that out, isn't it pretty fucking clear who did more on the event? The choice was (a) cause the entire event not to count, at all, for the females, and for most of the males, or (b) rank the people based on how much work they did in the time limit. I think the choice is pretty clear. Yeah, it was in the rules, but the bottom line is that it's not reasonable to expect amazing foresight on everything, and you're going to need to make adjustments.

And, just as a hypothetical: What would everyone be saying if Jodi was about 10 seconds faster, and was the only female to finish the event?

88. Weezle wrote...

May 11, 2009 3:11 PM

LMFAO @ Lincoln whining. How about we do away with the qualifiers and let everyone compete in the game like we did last year?

89. Jeff Womblaz wrote...

May 11, 2009 5:07 PM

Lincoln, STFU and mind your own business. Put on your man pants and stop acting like a grumpy old woman. If we want your opinion, we'll give it to you.

90. Lincoln wrote...

May 11, 2009 7:08 PM

Bring it, Linda.
Grady, Stoney, Weezle, Jerry, Jeff, whatever your name is.

Wow, there sure are a lot of trolls on this thread with similar emails addresses in non-existent domains. That must be a sad life.

91. Tony Budding wrote...

May 11, 2009 7:28 PM

I think I need to clarify a few things. Anthony called me about the scoring change. Dave Castro and I made the call to change the scoring, not Anthony. We had no idea what affect it would have on the scoring. The mistake was in the 10min cutoff. It was too short for that workout. We decided that it was better to have the event count for something than not at all.

Was that the right decision? I don't know. I'd probably make it again, but I can see the other side also. But, regardless of whether it was right or wrong to change the scoring at that point, it was not done to achieve any particular result. With the original scoring no female would receive points toward qualifying, and this way, the event receives some consideration toward qualification.

Why did we make that decision? Because the intent of the regionals is to send the fittest. The athletes who performed best in that workout got the most points.

What's funny in this whole debate is that no one is saying that the Bainbridges (separately or together) aren't the fittest. Maybe with a different event the results would be different, but my money would be on them to qualify if not win with any of these qualifiers.

Should the fittest athletes on the planet be able to do muscle-ups? Damn straight. Muscle-ups were part of the NorCal regional for women also, and no one is claiming that qualifier was rigged.

I know the Bainbridges well. I can tell you there was no intent of cheating. Say what you will about our decision to allow them to compete, or about the quality of the judging, or about the workouts as a legitimate test of broad fitness. To me, those are all valid debates and the community is better for them.

But to think Anthony and Jodi rigged the event in their favor is simply untrue and wrong. It's sad that so many have lost sight of the forest for the trees. We've learned a lot through this event and this debate. But I for one have more confidence in the character and integrity of the Bainbridges than I do many of the folks posting in this debate.

May 11, 2009 8:46 PM

I'll absolutely stand by my earlier statement that changing the scoring mid-stream was the wrong thing to do. If the 10 minute cut-off was too short, that's the organizer's cross to bear, not the athletes'. Either way, I'd hope people could stand back and see the big picture here. CrossFit is about making people better, both physically and mentally. And while this thread brought out the ugly side of many, guys like Eric Vandermeersch and RJ showed some class while ultimately disagreeing. I also have to commend the Bainbridges for showing much restraint when the mudslinging started. It's damn hard to bite your tongue when things get emotional. Really damn hard. But exercising restraint makes you a stronger person. Just as refusing to drop off the bar during Fran makes you stronger.
See ya'll in Aromas.

93. Jester Bolzac wrote...

May 11, 2009 8:56 PM

Nice meltdown Lincoln! The only troll around here is you. Now threatening a woman? LOL, lighten up Francis.

94. RJ replied to comment from Tony Budding...

May 11, 2009 8:59 PM

Nice to hear from some of the higher ups, people were beginning to make claims about the feelings of HQ (since removed it seems).

Eric, I guess we don`t agree in the end, but it was an interesting chat. cheers.

95. Matt Solomon wrote...

May 12, 2009 12:10 AM


It is good to hear a third party made the call about switching the formatting. And even better that it was from CFHQ.

I have to disagree with you on one thing. I think it was implied by people making the argument that by choosing max DL and muscle ups, the Bainbridges chose events in which they are good at, thus making them seem more fit and that they would not have won if those were not the events. Thus, less fit than another competitor. Two of the four events involved moves they are 'known' for. That being said, heavy deadlifts and muscle ups should be common amongst all elite crossfitters. Nevertheless, everyone has their own personal strengths and weaknesses.

A solution for next year is to have all the regionals must use a hopper! That guarantees randomness!

96. Justin McCallon wrote...

May 12, 2009 11:53 AM

Matt, you have brought up comment #4323 that Anthony is good at Deadlifts, while completely ignoring the fact that he is terrible at running. He could have made the last event "Row 5k" and done very well, as opposed to finish in something like 50th place.

97. Eric Martel wrote...

May 12, 2009 1:00 PM

Can we please get over it?

Justin, you fail to take into account that while Anthony finished like 50th in the run, he's one of the few contestants who did the tire flips and keg press... his time shouldn't be compared with the times of those who skipped the optional events.

May 12, 2009 1:45 PM

Read the results. Anthony finished 11 minutes behind the trail run winner. In fact, 6 minutes behind the top *25* finishers.

You truly can't have it both ways. If Anthony rigged the first day by programming (and crushing) the deadlift and muscleup/C&J WODs, then pls. understand it wasn't a couple of tire flips and a few #100 keg presses that screwed his run time. If he truly dawdled, Anthony *might* have used up 2 minutes. Prolly a third of that, tops.

That 2 minutes would have advanced him 1 place in the run.

May 12, 2009 2:07 PM

Oh sorry, I didn't mean to say he rigged anything. Anthony is a real fit guy and he's most likely going to earn his spot through the last chance qualifiers. But on the other hand, if he already knew he was going to withdraw, who know how hard he pushed on the run...

100. Eric Vandermeersch replied to comment from RJ...

May 12, 2009 9:00 PM


I guess not bro. Thanks for the chat.
All the best to you.

101. Jeff Braodick wrote...

May 13, 2009 10:33 AM

"Some athletes ended up playing a dual role as both competitors and judges, which sparked even more controversy."

Yikes! You have to be kidding.