Shame on Disney for dissing older athletes

Posted: May 25, 2014 in Aging, Masters Competition
Tags: , ,

Photo courtesy of

In a stunning display of ageism and ignorance, organizers of the Disney Fit Challenge (Sept. 26 – 28 in Orlando) have created separate age groups within the RX, Scaled and Recreational Divisions but NOT the Masters division.

Although the age groups within each division have not been released, according to the DFC web site, “Divisions have been established allowing for a wide range of physical ability and skill in addition to age groups allowing competitors to see how they place not only within a division but also within their respective age group.”

Except for Masters athletes.

The Masters division begins at age 40 and anyone over that age – regardless how many years or decades beyond 40 – will compete against each other. That means that a 60-year-old athlete could end up competing against a 4o-year-old. Apparently, the folks at Disney don’t have a problem with that.

However, the Disney folks believe it would not be fair for a 39-year-old athlete to compete against a 21-year-old – so they are creating age groups within RX, Scaled and Recreational divisions to level the playing field.


If ever there was a division that cried out for age groups it is the Masters division. As a 55-year-old athlete in the throes of menopause, chocolate cravings and wrinkle cream, I am not the athlete I was when I was 40 years old – an age at which I could still bear children, ignore chocolate and wear a string bikini.

With CrossFit, I train harder, smarter and more often than I did at 40. For me, the aging that has taken place during the 15 years between my 40th and 55th birthday has been much more aggressive than between ages 25 and 40.

I pointed all of this out to the good folks at Disney and they said they would consider my request and pass it up the food chain. I have made this complaint to other event organizers only to be told that there aren’t enough Masters registered.

Well, of course there aren’t enough masters registered! What 50+ athlete wants to compete against a 40-year-old? Event organizers need to make that decision BEFORE registration opens and let Masters athletes know that there will be age groups or scaled weights/exercises for Masters. Trust me. If you create the age-groups, we will come.

Why do you want Masters athletes in your event? Three reasons:

  1.  It’s kind of fun watching old people try to do crazy stuff.
  2. Masters athletes are inspirational.

Yes, Masters CrossFit athletes are the successful, Type-A professionals who WILL spend our hard-earned money on our idea of fun – whether it’s a $500 golf club or a $150/month CrossFit membership. The 20-year-olds may be fun to look at, but WE have more money.

Think about it, what could possibly be more fun for grandma than to take the grandkids to Disney so they can cheer her on at the DFC and then go to EPCOT and spend their inheritance?



  1. April says:

    It is a shame how Disney and CrossFit HQ continue to slight the Masters Athlete, but it s people like YOU who will bring awareness to this issue and create change in the industry! YOU ROCK.

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