January 05, 2022
Dave Castro, the now ex-Crossfit Games Director, was fired on January 4th, 2022. This comes as a surprise to most because just a few days earlier, Castro posted on CF's Youtube channel about possible new events for 2022 CrossFit Open Workouts.
Less than two months before the CrossFit games commence on Feb. 24th, the long-standing CF Games Director Dave Castro has been fired and replaced by Justin Bergh, the former VP of Sports and Partnerships.
Castro served as General Manager and Director of Games at CF since 2007 and is credited for much of its success. So, it's no wonder why this news is coming as a shock to many.
The man responsible for Castro's firing is Eric Roza, the CEO at CrossFit.
Here's the private email Roza sent to CF employees posted by TheMorningChalkUp, a website covering all things CrossFit.
I have made the difficult decision to change the leadership of the Sport team to best support CrossFit's go-forward plans, and Dave Castro will be leaving the business.
Over the last fifteen years, Dave has played a key role in building CrossFit into what it is today.
His vision, creativity and drive have taken the CrossFit Games from an informal backyard competition at his family's ranch into a global phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of participants and millions of viewers worldwide. Dave was also a central figure in the growth of CrossFit's training business, helping to scale the seminar department to reach tens of thousands of trainers.
All of us in the world of CrossFit owe Dave a debt of gratitude for his contributions, and we wish him well as he brings his talents to his next chapter.
Dave has assembled a world-class team, which will now be led by Justin Bergh, and we are excited to see this new generation of leadership build on his legacy as we work together to bring our Sport to the next level of success.
I look forward to seeing you all at next week's All Hands Meeting.
Castro took to his Instagram following this news, saying this was not a mutual parting of ways...
Roza is a former CEO of NexAction, a Westminster, Colorado-based company that analyzed shopper data for print catalog companies. As catalog shopping was quickly becoming a thing of the past, Roza made a remarkable transformation of the company. He spun off the idea into Datalogix, which became a digital ad business that serviced giants like Facebook and Amazon. Roza ended up getting involved in CrossFit in 2008 and fell in love with it, eventually opening his own Box. After Oracle acquired Datalogix for $1.2 billion, Roza needless to say he became super wealthy.
In 2012, Roza thought of trying to buy CrossFit, but it wasn't in the cards yet. Fast forward to 2020, Greg Glassman, Crossfit's founder and the sole owner, was embroiled in yet another controversy. With big-time sponsors dropping off, such as Reebok and Rogue, coupled with de-affiliating Box owners, athletes, and more, it became clear that Glassman might want to sell CrossFit. Roza purchased CrossFit for an undisclosed amount and has made multiple changes within the company, especially the company culture.
A former Navy Seal who served from 1998-2010, Castro got his start at the original CrossFit HQ based out of Santa Cruz, California, back in 2006. Not long after, Castro was helping with Level 1 Certificate Courses.
Castro ended up hosting the first-ever CrossFit Games at his family's ranch in Aromas, California. As noted in Roza's email, Castro had taken the sport from a backyard BBQ to a worldwide phenomenon. Castro programmed every Crossfit Games since 2007, creating the challenging events and tests to determine the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth. Castro also was no stranger to being disliked with some prominent athletes speaking negatively about him, but just like Glassman, he didn't seem to care. We don't know why Castro was let go, but this may have been part of the reason.
Bergh, now the new General Manager of Sport is not new to CrossFit; he served as General Manager to the CrossFit Games since 2013 then became VP of Sport and Partnerships in 2021. Bergh said he got into CrossFit back in 2006 and had competed in the CrossFit games yearly since 2012.
At this point there's no clear reason why Castro was let go. We've seen both positive and negative reactions to this news so far. It will be interesting to see how this change will play out in the look and feel of the games moving forward.
What do you make of this new direction for CrossFit?
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