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Josh Golden speaks about his 2013 ReeBok CrossFit Games Open Individual Disqualification

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A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of traveling to the coast to interview Josh Golden of CrossFit Grover Beach. I had watched him compete at the FTF Affiliate Challenge, which he won. The interview was basically a get to know Josh session, which discussed his training etc…. (Read Article Here)

Fast-forward to today, and his 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open Competition has come to a screeching halt when he received a disqualification notice from CrossFit HQ.

How I got involved.

Yesterday I noticed numerous posts (on the games website leader board, comment section) calling for video submissions for some of the higher than normal scores being posted by athletes.

This was no different than what was seen last year. As the day went on, the post became more and more negative. Eventually I chimed in and my thoughts were not welcomed. Basically I stated in my comments that no one should knock anyone’s integrity without absolute proof.

Then someone posted a link to a YouTube video, which showed Josh Golden performing 13.2, but I still wasn’t convinced. I figured that maybe the video was from an earlier practice WOD, or that his 387 might be from a subsequent round. I didn’t have all the facts at that time, and wasn’t ready to make my mind up on the matter.

As I went to bed last night I figured it would all calm down by the morning, it didn’t. In fact the video had been removed from YouTube, and there were posts calling for HQ to do something.

After spending some time with Josh, I figured he’d want to give his side of the story so I sent him an e-mail. Several text messages later, and at least a few e-mails, and Josh agreed to a phone interview regarding the incident.

Below is the official interview of Josh Golden, after he learned of his disqualification by HQ for WOD 13.2 . The interview was recorded and conducted via phone, then typed.

The questions I asked Josh were formed from some of the posts I found on the games comment section.

Here are those questions and Josh’s responses.

1. As you know the games website comment section was buzzing with negative posts regarding your 13.2 score. How did you learn about the negative posts?

 Josh: People called me and told me people were talking about it negatively.

2. Your score posted to the games website was validated at an affiliate, and that validation did not include a video submission correct?

Josh: True, correct.

3. There was a video posted on YouTube of you performing WOD 13.2. Was that video of the WOD that your 387 score was based on?

Josh: Yes, it was

4. Why was the video removed from YouTube?

Josh: I didn’t post the video myself, it was another person and she wasn’t happy with all the negative feedback that was coming from the video. So she decided to take it off. She basically felt bad that it was getting all this negative feedback and she didn’t like reading it all.

5. The buzz online was that a bunch of your shoulders to overhead didn’t count and that your box jumps should have been no repped each time. What do you have to say about that?

Josh: Um, I do agree on the shoulder to overheads, on that one workout, because I didn’t review the standards and I was led to believe that I was able to clean grip snatch the first rep. I was going further below my chin, pretty much close to my shoulders but the video was from the ground up so it made it look every movement look worse than it was.

As far as the box jumps, I felt that I didn’t have anyone telling me they were not correct. The knees are pretty locked out, and my hips are pretty straight, but I was slightly hunched over.

I don’t know they weren’t far off some of the bad reps that I’ve been seeing. I had done the workout earlier in the week and got a 380 on video and it was much cleaner. I was just trying some new ideas on how to get a higher score and this is the result.

6. Today you learned from HQ that you were being disqualified from competing in the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, Individual Event.
How were you notified?

Josh: Through an E-Mail

7. What did they base their disqualification on?

Josh:  They said that a few times I went straight from the ground to overhead without making contact with my shoulders. Then some of the box jumps I did, did not show control at the top. They never said anything about being locked out, they said control at the top.

8. If you did not submit a video for validation, what were they basing their analysis on? 

Josh: They got wind of the (YouTube) video, so they are basing their analysis on the video. If I hadn’t submitted a video (On YouTube) I would have gotten the score and I would have gotten to compete.


9. Do you think you deserved a better chance to explain your side to HQ before the disqualification?

Josh: Uh, yes. I feel like I should have had a chance to do something.  You know as much as CrossFit claims to be a non-corporate thing, they are completely. They didn’t hear my side or anything. They said our job is to review movement standards and your standards were off, good luck training.

So I had no chance to do anything. I offered to do it in front of a judge, I offered to do it against anyone in the world, I offered to do anything.

Obviously I’m one of the better athletes in the Region, if not the world. They didn’t even think twice about it. I think they are trying to set an example.

10. Do you think you were treated fairly?

Josh: No, the thing that makes me most upset is that I don’t think I’m being treated fairly by the CrossFit community. First of all I think HQ is reacting on the community response and their covering themselves by doing this disqualification without any type of human interaction of any kind.

The community is completely unfair to me and I’m really hurt by it. I did not try to steal anyone’s spot or cheat the system. I’m being honest with what is happening and I’m not trying to hurt or take anything away from anybody. I’m a good athlete; I’m a solid athlete. I could do that workout and get a top ten spot with little effort in front of a judge, given a chance.

I posted a video of my first workout 13.1, I post videos of all of my workouts (To YouTube). I’m an honest competitor; I was just an ignorant competitor in this case. 

11. How do you think this incident will affect your future with CrossFit and the games in general?

Josh: Well I mean, it’s been emotional, such negativity you know. No matter what happens, I’ll probably be called a cheater forever and this has nothing to do with cheating.

You know it hurt me, in a negative way. I don’t deserve this given my history and background with the sport.  

12. Do you have any comments on the overall judging system in the Open?

Josh: Oh man, yes I do. I do not see how HQ can sit there and tell me that they are just trying to uphold a standard by disqualifying me, when there are no videos of the top scores being posted in the whole world.

Why is that happening? Is it because people don’t have a cell phone with a recorder on it? They don’t want people to see what they are doing? Or is it there’s an issue with the judging?  I’ve had countless people tell me that in their box they’ve seen way worse form. I’m not judging anyone, but there is no standard if everything is not the same.

Me being disqualified for actually being open with what I’m doing and putting it out there for the world, as the number one competitor for that workout supposedly,  what does that say about me?

Does that make me somebody without integrity or does that make me someone with more integrity than all the other people posting their scores (Without videos)? I don’t know, there is no standard as far as I’m concerned.

13 . Would you like to add anything else that you didn’t say already?

Josh: I’m not trying to cheat anybody or trying to take any spot in Regionals. I’m sorry if I offended anybody by just posting some score without really taking into consideration the rest of the community.

I am disappointed in the community for judging me without seeking any information first. The community is supposed to be so supportive of each other and is supposed to be caring.

I feel I am a great coach, a positive member of the community. I do countless outreaches and help the Boys and Girls Clubs. I’m a good athlete, and a good person and for people to sit there on their computers and rant a rave about what a douche bag I am, or whatever I am, is very disappointing.

In conclusion

That concluded the interview. At times, when writing this blog it is hard to remain impartial, this is one of those times. First, do I think Josh screwed up, yep big time. Just so you don’t think I’m going all one sided here, he is a coach, and he knows standards. He should have found out what they were prior to the WOD. Enough said.

Now do I think he was trying to cheat? Nope. Does he lack integrity? Nope.

The reason I say this is that I’ve seen him in live competition and so have many others. He honestly would have no problem qualifying for Regional’s and there are many out there that know it.

If he wanted to cheat, he would never have allowed anyone to take a video and post it, and he never would have posted such a high score. I call the entire thing a serious lack of judgment, but I will not condemn his character on the incident.

I think that sometimes it’s easy to say as CrossFitter’s were one thing, but it only counts when it is put into practice. I know there are many that will blast me personally for giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but hey I got big shoulders and can take it.

Say what you will about Josh, he’s here to stay and you’ll see him soon on a podium near you.

If you have any thoughts on this post please leave a comment below.

See you in the hills.


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