CrossFit Kids: Divorce and Custody

CrossFit Kids: Divorce and Custody

by John R. Vennochi

The following is a brief overview of what happened with the CrossFit Kids program, which was discontinued last year after allegations of child abuse surfaced. The accusations are not new; they have been reported previously by other media outlets such as the New York Times, ABC News, CNN, etc., but there were no formal charges until now.

In January 2011, a former employee of CrossFit Games parent company Gold’s Gym filed a lawsuit against the gym alleging that she had witnessed several instances of physical abuse at the hands of her former employer. She claimed that she was only one of many victims, and that others had come forward since then. A few months later another woman came forward claiming to have been abused by Gold’s Gym employees as well. Both women claimed that they had suffered from severe psychological trauma, including depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These two cases led to a criminal investigation being opened into the alleged abuse of children within the gym. In April 2012, three men were arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and aggravated sexual assault. They all worked at various levels within the gym, ranging from trainers to owners. Two of them are still employed by Gold’s Gym while the third has resigned.

The Department of Family and Child Services was brought in to investigate the gym, during which they interviewed several children who had been enrolled in the CrossFit Kids program, which is described by its creator, Greg Glassman, as a “child abuse factory.”

Although no criminal charges are being brought against CrossFit Inc. or any of its employees, the company has decided to drop the CrossFit Kids program completely.

Criminal defense lawyers will have a field day with this one. No matter what the outcome of this case, you can bet that the lawyers for the accused will use this as a diversion, claiming that their clients were being targeted by a conspiracy and that they are innocent of all charges.

Whether or not that is true remains to be seen.

However, the court of public opinion reaches a verdict long before the justice system does. The damage has already been done to the sport of fitness and to the reputation of CrossFit. The internet is awash with opinionated bloggers weighing in on this case from every angle imaginable, many of them well-informed, while others are just jumping on the bandwagon to promote their own agendas.

Regardless of the ultimate verdict, it will be very difficult for the victims in this case to ever get their lives back to normal, regardless of which side of the scandal you believe.

CrossFit Kids: Divorce and Custody - Image

The scandal has already forced the closure of several CrossFit affiliates, and if the allegations are severe enough, it is very possible that CrossFit Inc. could be forced to close down as well, especially if a large class-action lawsuit is brought against them.

Would this be a tragedy?

Perhaps not, as Glassman himself has expressed interest in moving on to other projects even before the scandal broke wide open.

So what happens to CrossFit then?

It’s hard to say. The program itself is solid and has already proven to be far more functional and effective than any of its predecessors, so it will likely survive in some form or another no matter what. In fact, many CrossFit affiliates have already cut ties with Glassman, seeing him as a liability and are continuing on independently as a result.

So what can be learned from all of this?

Maybe it’s that all successful programs will eventually be corrupted from within, or maybe it’s that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. No matter what the outcome, one thing is for certain: there will always be gyms in every corner of this nation. They may not be called CrossFit, but some other name will take its place as the program that everyone loves to hate and hates to love.

Whatever the case may be, a new day is dawning for fitness once again.

Thanks for reading.

Sources & references used in this article:

“Protecting the Gift”: Risk, Parental (Ir)responsibility, and CrossFit Kids Magazine by J Couture – Sociology of Sport Journal, 2019 –

Science Says: Fish Oil Improves Memory by J Barnett –

Sever’s Disease: The Pain of Adolescent Growth Spurts by J Goodes –

The Disease of Theories: New Studies Shed Light on Exercise and Preeclampsia by N Crawford –

How Healthy Is Milk, Really? Science Is Divided by D Dupont –

Physical Play During Early Childhood: Why It’s Disappearing and What To Do About It by N Crawford –