Roman Khrennikov Is Not a Spy, Pandaland is Coming

Good morning and welcome to the WODDITY podcast for news about CrossFit. We are a daily podcast, Monday through Friday, doing CrossFit news in five minutes or less.

My name is Ben Garves and today is Tuesday, the 3rd of December, 2019. 

Is Roman Khrennikov a Spy?

Roman Khrennikov is lovingly referred to as the fittest man to never compete at the CrossFit Games. For the last two seasons, Khrennikov has qualified but had subsequent visa applications to the United States denied. In the inner circles of the sport, I’ve heard a long list of wild rumors and accusations. They’ve come from both fans and prominent athletes, alike. Among them is that Khrennikov has a military history that has the US government concerned. The most ridiculous I’ve heard has claimed Khrennikov was a Russian spy. Imagine the look on my face when a podium athlete told me that.

Well, that brings up two things. First, Russia has what they call a universal military obligation. All male citizens, ages 18 to 33 are registered in a draft and must serve a minimum of 12 months. So, yes. Roman Khrennikov has a military history. 

The second important item is that Khrennikov sat down with Tommy Marquez during the Filthy150. Marquez asked Khrennikov directly about why his visas had been denied, and the reason is completely unrelated to his service. CrossFit is not formally considered a sport by the US government and therefore isn’t a good fit for a sports visa. Khrennikov’s first two visa applications were for tourism and had been flagged as an emmigration risk. For the 2020 CrossFit Games, Roman plans to apply for a work visa and see what happens.

So, no. Roman Khrennikov is not a spy. Yes, he’s served in the military like every other male in Russia, and yes. He is still the fittest man to have never competed at the CrossFit Games. If you want to watch his sitdown with Tommy Marquez, you can find the link in my show notes at 

Morning Chalk Up’s New Podcast

Patrick Cummings, of Chasing Excellence Podcast fame, has started another podcast. This one, titled “Open Gym” is the second podcast launched by Morning Chalk Up, alongside their A Fresh Cup of Fitness show they launched just a few months ago.

Pandaland CrossFit Challenge

And to wrap things up, let’s talk Sanctionals. We are just days out from the second and third Sanctional events of the 2020 CrossFit Games season. Coming up this weekend are the SouthFit CrossFit Challenge and the Pandaland CrossFit Challenge. Our friend, Patrick Blennerhassett at the South China Morning Post dove deeply into Pandaland, the second Sanctional to be hosted in China after the Asia CrossFit Championship broke the ice last season. 

Pandaland has attracted a big list of athletes to the Sichuan Province of China this weekend, including Jacob Heppner, Harriett Roberts, Khan Porter, Alison Scudds, and Lucas Parker. Their online qualifier also saw score submissions from Kara Saunders, Alethea Boon, Zack George, Marquan Jones, and Ant Haynes, but we have yet to confirm if any of them will be attending. For example, Jacob Heppner and Chandler Smith both qualified for the Filthy150 but neither of them attended the Sanctional a few weeks ago.

And that’s it for news about CrossFit for Tuesday, December 3rd. Thanks for listening. You could have been anywhere, and been doing anything with your time. Like attending your favorite spin class at Ride Austin with one of your favorite instructors, Sandy. But nope. You’re here. And I thank you for that. Please be sure to rate, review, subscribe, and share. For WODDITY, I’m Ben Garves. We’ll chat tomorrow.

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.