The most interesting thing about 17.1 wasn’t the workout

Across the world, hundreds of thousands of CrossFit enthusiasts have signed up for and are now competing in the CrossFit Open, CrossFit’s method of finding the fittest person on earth. It is kind of set up like golf’s US Open except it is more accessible because qualifying can be done almost everywhere. And there is less puking.

Their launch last Thursday went off incredibly well. They had live feeds from both a Canada gym and a Paris gym with live feeds on their website, YouTube and two Facebook pages. Over 100,000 viewers tuned in just watch other people suffer.

A quick primer for this story

For the average contestant like me, we can either be judged by certified officials or video the workout and submit it. All scores are posted online through the CrossFit Games’ website. If you were judged, the affiliate gym you did it at has to validate your score through the website. If you did a video, you have to upload the link.

All of it is done through the website and that’s where this story takes us. Originally I thought I’d post how I did along with the good and bad.

But then something much more interesting happened (at least for those of us who are not trying to win the whole thing).

According to their website, the website stopped working properly. Athletes and affiliates are having problems submitting their scores. The deadline was yesterday.

When you have approximately 400,000 people trying to upload scores over less than four days, this is a major problem. In 13 hours their website and Facebook pages have generated over 600 comments from, mostly, upset customers.

FT: Crisis Management

For a minute, throw out everything that should have probably happened before this point. Thorough testing of the redesign of the website. Expanded server size and speed to accommodate the expected 10-15% increase in participation from last year. The complete drain on CrossFit HQ’s resources.

For this moment, the most interesting thing to me will be how they handle this crisis from a public relations standpoint.

How will their media team handle this?

Will they reply to every comment? Will they accept the blame or deflect it? Will the respondents on the other end of the page get snippy? Will CrossFit contact contestants via email or through our online Dashboard?

Will this issue be addressed at their announcement of the second workout this Thursday? Will their CEO, partner brands or high profile athletes come to their defense, help in someway, rip in to them or simply fade to the back?

At this point, CrossFit has acknowledged that there is an issue and has been responsive to some comments. I’ve also seem some snap back replies that probably should never have been sent.

To watch this all play out, here are some links to follow:

CrossFit Games Open Website:

CrossFit Games Facebook Page: