The Reality Of Sport: The AJ Moore Fiasco

The CrossFit Regionals have been taking place around the world. As with all sports, there is some controversy. Many feel that AJ Moore was unfairly judged during one of the WODs when he got 60 reps called back during his kettlebell swings. I wasn’t there, I haven’t seen any videos and, like many people around the world, I have been reading eye witness accounts online. However, I think a lot of people are losing perspective.

Fans & Judging
From what I understand, people felt that other competitors were held to looser standards than AJ was. It seems like a lose/lose situation for the judge. Either the judge does her job correctly and is hated by fans or lowers the standard and sacrifices her character. I’m not sure if his swings were valid, but if they were not, I applaud her for being able to call back 60 reps with angry fans yelling at her. Again, I wasn’t there, but I heard people were extremely rude to her, which I find surprising and unsettling. I hate hearing fans say horrible things to players and refs during MLB or NBA games. I’ve always appreciated the class CrossFitters have shown during events and I’d hate to see it fade away as competitions become more intense. With that said, the responsibility falls on the shoulder of the head judge if other competitors were able to get away with bad form. Again, I wasn’t there so I can’t say wether the judging was unfair. However, from what I read it seems like AJ’s judge was holding up the correct standards and should not be thrown under the bus for it. Also, I read about someone having a video of AJ”s performance but electing to only show it to HQ to avoid a giant backlash. This is awesome, and great for the community. In fact, I’m not sure who this guy/girl is but the class they are showing should be commended.

Rich Froning
I’ve seen people use AJ’s other WOD finishes as an argument. Basically, there is no way he would finish is 30th if he placed 1st and 2nd on every other workout. But didn’t that happen in the Games last year? Rich Froning killed WOD after WOD but didn’t win the games because he couldn’t climb a rope. I mean no disrespect to Rich, in fact, I think he’s going to win the games this year, and started rooting for him to win last year. The same thing could have happened in this case also. I’m not saying it did, but want to point out that the argument of using previous WOD finishes are flawed.

The Reality Of Sport
Judging or refereeing is a vital part of every sport, and, at times, can be the reason someone gets an unfair advantage. For example, in the NBA there are some refs who are notorious for calling certain types of fouls or throwing guys out of the game early. However, it’s the reality of sport. There will always be bad calls, because, like the rest of us, judges are human. The best CrossFit can do is figure out the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The Brighter Side
I didn’t know much about AJ Moore before this event, but I sure do know a lot about him now. From what I have read he is a stand up guy, beast athlete and is ready to be in the sequel for 300. I have no idea what CrossFit will do, but I don’t think they are obligated to let AJ go to the games. However, AJ has something that few competitors have, a following. He has thousands of people who stand behind him. Thousands who respect him for his hard work and admire him for his talents. I really hope he runs with it and ends up doing well in the future. I hope he can look back at this time and say that’s when the spotlight hit him and he was able to get to the next level. I’m a big AJ supporter now. I’ll become a fan on facebook, follow him on twitter and root for him when I can. In fact, we’ll give him a life time account on beyond the whiteboard and I’ll pay for his drink if we ever hang out.

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.



  1. Denise
    June 8, 2011 / 1:48 am

    Well said. Thanks!

  2. VOR
    June 8, 2011 / 1:51 am

    Exercising is not a sport…

  3. Eric
    June 8, 2011 / 2:04 am

    I was there, and the judge under the microscope judged everyone the same way. There were 7 or so other heats that day before AJ’s, all with the same movement, All judged the same way by that judge. Yes, it’s unfortunate and it sucks, but that is life. I also think Ben Smith had the same thing happen to him last year at the games, so its not like this was some rogue judge that was out to get someone.

    AJ is a class competitor, he will be back.

  4. Amy Z
    June 8, 2011 / 2:49 am

    Well, you be the judge. Here is the video:

  5. June 8, 2011 / 2:54 am

    great article. i was the one holding the video back for HQ. i wanted them to see it first in order to head any $hat storm off at the pass but i could only hold it back for so long as i was not the one in possession of the video. I am AJ’s sponsor (2POOD performance apparel) and i will fight for my guys and always have their backs. I have done everything in my power to keep all this above board and to keep it from taking a turn to negative town. there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. regardless of what happens i will always believe that AJ Moore is one of the fittest in the world and belongs at the games in LA this year. I’ve spoken with Castro and Dale Saran about this and i will say that they have not run from this or avoided this issue. Dale took my call on his cell 1st thing monday morning and Castro immediately returned my emails and called me on my cell this AM. both very professional and 100% upfront with me about how they viewed this situation. great article and thank you for writing this


  6. Alao Hogan
    June 8, 2011 / 2:57 am

    I watched the standards video by CFHQ (Dave Castro) and the standards are pretty clear, the KB must be completely vertical at the top. Judge has a job as does the athlete, its a “team” effort.

  7. Tatum
    June 8, 2011 / 11:33 am

    The fact is that the judges weren’t consistent. You have AJ’s judge calling no rep, while another judge is saying higher. But the rep still counts? There is no way he placed 30th! Send AJ to the games!!!

  8. BrianG
    June 8, 2011 / 11:50 am

    watching the video, I can see why the judge called some no reps, however I can’t see the other competitor’s swings and therefore compare. I’ll have to agree and just say this is the reality of sport. Doesn’t matter which side you’re on, both suck. One thing every one should be able to agree on, AJ is a beast and a great rep for the Mid-Atlantic region (my region) regardless if he’s going to the games or not.

  9. Keith Phillips
    June 8, 2011 / 1:33 pm

    I see where the judge could say that the kb was not perfectly vertical on the reps she didn’t count. But I also see the guy in the background getting his reps counted for similar reps. Bad for A.J. but to ask that he gets to go to the games after not qualifying is not the answer. Just remember Dan O’Brien in the 1992 Olympic trials when he didn’t qualify on pole vault and missed the team. He clearly was the best decathlete the US had and he had to watch at home. Just the way it goes sometimes.

  10. Tyler Wheatcraft
    June 8, 2011 / 2:42 pm

    I’ve watched many crossfit events and after viewing the video i see no problem with the judging here. The standards are clearly stated, he should know them well and be comfortable with them. The judge was very strict, but that is essential for an even playing field. I hope all other judging in the comp was the same way, although i’m skeptical that it was. I commend this judge. Every judge needs to strive to uphold the standards to a T, not almost to a T. As an athlete and a judge you need to communicate! AJ appears to be a good guy, but he is solely responsible for those lost 60 reps.

  11. JWF
    June 8, 2011 / 3:11 pm

    Yes, the kB did have to be completely vertical at the top but that is relative to the judge. The standards have to be more simple. Can you see the ears past the bicep when the arms are extended overhead? That is clear cut. The view point of is the KB completely vertical is different to every judge. If you are going to be that picky on the standards, you need to have the same panel of judges judge everyone. Hopefully Crossfit can get it right.

  12. Brandon S
    June 8, 2011 / 5:08 pm

    After watching the video and educating myself on this situation it is clear to me that the judge was being very consistent in her calls. So this situation reminds me of being a pitcher when I played baseball. There were rules as to what the strike zone was but at that same time each batter had a different strike zone because of (height, stance, etc.). Add to that each umpire had slightly different tendencies in what they called a strike. As a pitcher you have to deal with that, for example: One umpire is not giving me the outside corner as a strike and I have hit it several times. It would not be in my best interest to continue to throw the ball there if it is not going to be called a strike. So I adjust and try to find out what he is calling strikes (either by speaking with the umpire or trial and error). What I could not stand as a pitcher are umpires that have no consistency and the strike zone would change from inning to inning. As long as the judge was consistent there should be no problem, you figure why she is calling no rep (either by talking to her or trial and error, I recommend talking as it takes less energy than continually swinging the kettlebell till you find the spot). Once you have completed a successful rep then replicate it.

    I think AJ is CrossFit Games material but like the post says this is sport things don’t go your way. I bet AJ has the best damn kettlebell swing in the world come next year.

  13. Joseph Griffin
    June 8, 2011 / 7:31 pm

    I just watched the YouTube video, those would have been called “No Rep” at the Dirty SOuth Regionals as well. It was heartbreaking to watch some of our athletes get continually “No Repped” while you watched others get away with lesser standards. The solution isn’t lower standards, it’s better consistency, and maybe not letting anybody who volunteers judge competition this high. As a closer, no disrespect to AJ, he’s obviously world class.

  14. Jayme
    June 9, 2011 / 1:22 am

    @ Eric – yes this judge did judge several heats and there were numerous issues w/ them also. Was brought to one a head judges attention during the team round and the standard “sticking by my judge” is what was given. Movement had to be changed to kb snatch to be able to give not only the exact positioning of the kb but also a suspension/stop. No arching momentum, primarily straight up and down for control. Anybody give a crap that we see the kb fall back numerous times? This happened to athletes all day. Am I the only one that sees an isssue with that. Hard judge or not this is a horrible standard of movement to start with. I would hope this would never be taught or practiced like this in any box. FYI- I was on one of those teams so I do know what worked for a good rep and what did not.

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