Elite Sports Insider – Teams Cancelled, NOBULL Knit Runner

Hello and good…what time is it? Noon. Good noon. Good afternoon and welcome to your weekly dose of Elite Sports Insider. We are a live show delving into news about CrossFit, the CrossFit Games and the greater community of gyms, members, and professional athletes. 

I am your host, Ben Garves, and today is Sunday, the 3rd of May, 2020. You’re a busy person, and I have five WODDITY Podcast episodes to write for this week, so let’s jump in. 

This week on Elite Sports Insider, we’ll talk through major news highlights, including the early end to the Masters and Tean division CrossFit Games season. From there, I’m going to get you a review of a certain pair of shoes in the CrossFit space. They are…are you ready for this?

The Reebok Nano…NOPE.

Reebok owes me two pairs of Reebok Nano X shoes, which were expedited and should’ve arrived yesterday. According to FedEx, Reebok hasn’t event shipped them yet. For shame, Reebok, for shame. 

But fear not, I will still get you a shoe review. Two days after I ordered the Nano X, I also ordered this gorgeous pair of NOBULL Black Ivy Knit Runners. So we’ll take a quick jog together and talk about NOBULL’s latest running shoe. Reebok Nano review turned Reebok Na-NOBULL.

But seriously, Reebok. You’re a giant shoe conglomerate owned by Adidas. And you’re losing in the shipping game by almost a week to a scrappy startup like NOBULL. Super disappointed. Don’t worry, than Nano X review is coming as soon as the shoes actually show up.

After the shoe review, we’ll take a peek at CrossFit in social media, dig through Dave Castro’s live Q&A on Instagram, and finish out with a thought-provoking Opinions from the Couch segment. Stay tuned.


Before we jump into news, let me just clear something up. Elite Sports Insider is a show I’ve been working on for more than six months. That includes many test iteration versions, ideas and formats. This is not one of these COVID19 pop-up shows. It’s not supposed to be the fitness version of Some Good News. It’s not even supposed to be a less-fit version of FRAN with Jacob Heppner. This is a straight up ongoing series I was planning on starting long before the world went to hell in a handbasket and we all became crazy fitness nerds locked in our basements with some jugs of antifreeze and trying to do burpees for an hour. So I’m here now, I will be here after, and I’m glad you’re watching.

US Gyms Open Despite COVID Resurgence

While gyms in a few states, like Georgia, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Oklahoma are all opening in some way, shape, or form, China has issued a lockdown of Beijing-area gyms almost immediately after they were allowed to reopen. The reason? A resurgence of Coronavirus. 

Experts have been warning for weeks that pandemics occur in waves, with the second wave being historically more deadly than the first. Whether this will be the case in the five-plus US states to reopen businesses like gyms, salons, spas, restaurants, and bowling alleys, only time will tell. 

I tend to lean on the side of science and statistics, though. Be safe and be smart if you are a gym owner or a gym-goer headed back to your fitness fam. What’s happening with the second wave in China should be a warning to all of us.

CrossFit Games Likely in Madison Through 2023

Not to throw shade, but for sure to throw shade, Morning Chalk Up reported this week that the City of Madison passed a resolution granting permission for CrossFit to use the Olin Boat Park through 2023. A story I published on WODDITY on February 11th. Remember February? We were still allowed to high five strangers in public back then. So here’s the recap: CrossFit applied with the city council to get approval for use of the park for the next four years. The Olin Boat Park is the site used for swim and paddle events since the Games moved to Madison a few years ago. It’s awesome news, implying that CrossFit intends to extend with Madison an additional four years, along with intention to keep up with some semblance of a water event each year. https://bengarves.com/crossfit-games-stay-in-madison-through-2023/

In the show notes for this episode, I have put a link to February’s article about the Games in Madison through 2023, along with a link to the filing on the matter. https://bengarves.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CrossFit-Inc-2020-2023-Agreement.pdf 

Army Warrior Fitness Member Treating COVID in Manhattan

Capt. Allison Brager of the United States Army is simultaneously a member of the Army Warrior Fitness team and a neuroscientist now working in a field hospital here in New York. The makeshift hospital has been set up at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. As of today, New York City has had 172,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus, resulting in 13,365 deaths. Reiterating that this isn’t a joke really quick. Also, Thank you, Captain Brager, for you and your team’s service. https://www.army.mil/article/235073/army_scientist_on_covid_19_frontlines_shares_experience

CrossFit Cancels Masters and Teen Competitions

And here it comes. In a press release on Friday, CrossFit dropped an age group bomb. Along with an Age Group Online Qualifier summary and recap, CrossFit wrote:

“On April 16, it was announced that the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games would not be held in Madison, and all options were being evaluated for a change in format in light of the current constraints. This year, there will not be an in-person competition to crown the fittest in the CrossFit Games Age Groups. Prize money will not be issued. The age group competition will resume when the season resets in 2021.” https://games.crossfit.com/article/2020-age-group-games-season-over/games

More on this in a bit, when we circle through to Dave Castro’s live Q&A. 

NOBULL Diamond Knit Runner Review

But first, let’s talk about the latest running shoe from NOBULL, one of the hippest shoe brands competing in the CrossFit space. Don’t believe me? Haven’t heard of them? Their athletes include Katrin Davidsdottir, Tia-Clair Toomey, Brooke Wells, Kristi Eramo, Alex Anderson, Sam Dancer, Jared Stevens, and Tola Morakinyo. https://www.nobullproject.com/pages/story

This is the shoe we’re talking about today, it’s the diamond knit runner. This specific color is called Black Ivy, and I looooove it. The shoe itself has this epic diamond texture on the sole and the unique knit upper. 

‘ “Knit” you say? Other companies have done that! What about the Nike Flyknit or Reebok’s Flexweave?’

Well, thank you for asking, random stranger who looks like me but has a bad southern accent, THIS knit is very different. I have a pair of Nike’s Lunar Flyknit running shoes. The concept is genius, the shoe is light as hell, but you just don’t get enough give out of knit. So what happens is a slight feeling of circulation being cut off. And Reebok’s Flexweave? That’s completely different. Yeah, it has more give than a contemporary shoe structure, but Flexweave is more about being flexible and strong, while NOBULL’s knit is all about elasticity and wrapping your foot in a nice, comfy shoe glove.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take it for a run together.


So, in the end, there just isn’t a shoe out there like this in look or fit. It was largely comfortable despite being brand new and not going through a break-in period. It’s crazy light. It feels durable. It breathes better than anything else I’ve worn, and it makes it very clear on the heel. You’re not going to put up with NOBULL.

Maybe it’s not a shoe to run an ultramarathon in. But going for a training run? I think this is my winner right now.

CrossFit Social Media Update

BREAKING NEWS ALERT. This just in. Britney Spears has burned her gym down. For more on this, we go to Britney in the field.

For more on social media, we turn to myself in the studio.


Closing out our segment on CrossFit in social media, Dave Castro has been pretty active on the interwebs, posting pictures of the pull-up rig used at the 2007 CrossFit Games https://www.instagram.com/p/B_Ns47bgaRd/ and the peanut roster CrossFit used as the hopper to decide early Games workouts. https://www.instagram.com/p/B_foWWuAC3Q/ Both with a hint that they may possibly return this year.

Dave Castro Q&A 

That takes us to the next big segment, Dave Castro’s Q&A session on Instagram Live. It was unique, to say the least. Castro took questions from fans while at the Ranch, watching for and shooting at squirrels. Yes. True story. Apparently this is pest control for the 2020 CrossFit Games because squirrels dig big ruts into the hillside and Castro doesn’t want an athlete to trip. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Here are some choice quotes from Castro, while he multi-tasked:

  • “Small with no spectators is the key to us being able to potentially pull this off.”
  • “[it] is a fight against the norm…who knows where this is going to be in August.”
  • “We could postpone the games, but we don’t want to…we want to salvage some semblance of our season.”
  • “What we’re planning at this point will be very different from what happened at the games last year”
  • “The NBA season has been postponed…the olympics have been cancelled for this year. There are all these major sporting events that have been postponed and many have been cancelled. I see it as a huge success and a huge win that we’re trying to pull of having just the individuals here.”
  • “August or bust? Yeah, we’re giving August a short. We don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
  • “Why not cancel all the Games? What? Misery loves company? We can’t try to have some success in trying to pull off just the individual test? We don’t want to cancel all the games because we think we can pull it off for the individual men and the individual women. No tall of them. A reduced field. That’s for sure. But it’s better than nothing.”
  • “It’s almost as if some people would rather have nothing than anything. I don’t agree with that. Our team doesn’t agree with that. I think the way we’re proceeding forward is a good option. It’s a good strategy. …It’s saving our sport this year.”

When asked if he still believes these changes will crown the fittest athletes on earth, Castro responds:

  • “The test is going to be complete as any other test. And arguably, at this point, with what I’m working with and what is planned, this is probably going to be one of the most demanding years…and challenging years ever at the crossfit games. And it’s going to be very different. Athletes are going to have to go to a place they’ve never gone before, mentally and physically. They’re not going to have their large support networks. There’s not going to be fans out here…they’re going to have to dig deep. And the champion that comes out of it is going to be a great champion.

For more on this, we turn to our special recurring segment, Opinions from the Couch. Ben, over to you.

Opinions from the Couch

Thanks, Ben. Today, let’s break down everything we’ve learned from Dave Castro’s live Q&A. He said a lot. And there were definitely some things people didn’t catch. First, it doesn’t sound like there will be a team competition this year. Castro was also clear there will be some form of cutdown on the total number of individual athletes who are allowed to compete.

Let’s talk teams, because that seems to be the biggest hit here. Doing away with a team competition means prominent CrossFit athletes like Brooke Haas, Kelly Baker, Alexis Johnson, Roy Gamboa, and Travis Williams won’t be competing. That, along with the legendary CrossFit athletes making up the CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team: Rich Froning, Scott Panchik, Chyna Cho, and Tasia Percevecz.

Could CrossFit really make that drastic of a decision? It seems like they already have. Castro mentioned an individual-only event at least four times in his Q&A. Need a refresher?


While there hasn’t been a formal announcement, that seems pretty definitive to me.

The other thing Castro was clear about was that not all qualifying individual athletes will be allowed to come. He said specifically:

“We don’t want to cancel all the Games because we think we can pull it off for the individual men and the individual women. Not all of them. A reduced field. That’s for sure.”

So it sounds to me like the cuts we fretted so deeply about last year may be coming a little early this year. How that manifests itself, we have no idea. 

Possibilities include not inviting Sanctional-qualifying athletes from the Sanctionals that were able to run. That would cost CrossFit Games appearances for athletes like Khan Porter, Tola Morakinyo, Bethany Shadburne, Harriet Roberts, Sam Briggs, and Kelsey Kiel. 

They could also drastically cut the National Champion field. That would affect athletes like Zack George, Willy Georges, Lukas Esslinger, Allesandra Pichelli, Tammi Robinson, and Brenda Castro.

So I agree with the fans and the athletes. Nothing about what’s going on makes me feel warm and tingly insite. For the athletes, they’ve worked their butts off all year for this moment. But the fans? Honestly? I’m not sure why y’all are so filled with hate. CrossFit is going above and beyond any efforts put in by any other sports league to give you something to watch this summer. 

Yeah, it bums everyone out that it can’t be the full experience. That we’ll miss some of our favourite athletes. That we can’t sneak into the LifeAid tent and lie about how many free samples we’ve had.

But in the end, this is your fault. Because you can’t stop sneezing on each other and you suck at washing your hands. Somebody had to say it.

In all seriousness, I’m grateful that we’re going to have something this season. I’m grateful that CrossFit is looking out for its fans and doing what it can for as many athletes and gyms as it can. We’ve all had to take a hit. Not one of us hasn’t been affected by this in some way, shape, or form. I literally walked seven miles to Costco this morning because of how unsafe public transit in New York is right now.

If the CrossFit Games is ten male and ten female athletes who finished at the top of the Open, I’d still pay a crazy amount of money to watch it. And I think you would too.

Ben, back to you in the studio.

I don’t know if I agree with that guy, so I’d like to say his views and opinions expressed in that segment don’t necessarily represent the views and opinions of WODDITY and the Elite Sports Insider show.

Thank you all for watching. If you heard or saw something on this show you want to check out more in-depth, you can check the show notes at WODDITY.com. There’s a link down there in that description section. The like buttons are there, and so is the subscribe button. 

If you want more CrossFit news, check out the WODDITY podcast, Monday through Friday, wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for watching, and we’ll catch you next week. Don’t forget to keep an eye out on this YouTube channel for a deep review of the Reebok Nano X. It’s coming in the next two days.


The WODDITY Podcast for News About CrossFit (Apple Podcasts): https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/wodditys-news-about-crossfit/id1476074871 

WODDITY: https://bengarves.com 

WODDITY on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/woddity/

Ben Garves on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bengarves/ 

WODDITY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/woddityfitness 



By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.