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In many ways, CrossFit’s current dilemma of trying to shake off its association with an insurgent far-right and conspiracy-minded wing is reflective of the Republican Party at large.
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A coach leads an outdoor workout at CrossFit Jetty in Oceanside, New York, on July 20, 2020.
CrossFit, the company, probably does not own the local CrossFit gym near you. When I die Don’t Let Me Vote Democrat Shirt, hoodie
Instead, affiliate owners like Marjorie Taylor Greene operate their own locations far from the corporate leadership, making their gyms their own distinct brand within the larger one. The pandemic has split CrossFit and its affiliates politically. CrossFit released COVID guideline recommendations for affiliate gyms in late December, after BuzzFeed News published a story about its pandemic protocols, telling gyms “the stricter standard should apply” in discrepancies between CrossFit and local government recommendations.
Meanwhile, Greene has become associated with the national brand in a major way — a mix of her own history and positioning as a candidate. She’s made the mythology behind the business an integral part of her political image. Her first viral tweet after she won election was herself doing a WOD (“workout of the day”) in her DC hotel room, complaining gyms were shut down due to “Democrat tyrannical control” (they weren’t). She’s pointed back to her time as a competitive CrossFit athlete to justify signing on to a bill that would prevent transgender women from competing in women’s sports (CrossFit announced back in 2018 that trans athletes were welcome at the CrossFit Games). On Wednesday, she argued against new LGBTQ protections in the Equality Act by declaring on the House floor: “I have competed in sports and I am so thrilled that I was able to do that, that I competed against biological women.”
And at least some at CrossFit have embraced the surface-level connection. Morning Chalk Up — a popular newsletter focused on CrossFit — wrote about “the first CrossFit affiliate owner elected to Congress” and mentioned the gym, though it avoided discussing Greene’s politics. “This will do wonders for the CrossFit image,” one user on CrossFit’s Reddit forum wrote. “On a serious note, why the fuck didn’t they mention how she’s fucking crazy? It’s not politics to say she’s radioactive in DC and that she sure as shit isn’t getting anyone to think positively about CrossFit.”