March 13, 2014
Holding Himself to a Higher Standard: Josh Golden
By Jaala A. Thibault
"I needed to step back and take a look at myself. I was giving up form to try to be the best, and what happened helped me see that I needed to do better to get to the next level."

Photos courtesy of Lance Fischer. 

Exactly one year ago, Josh Golden went from first place in Southern California on 13.2 to disqualification

After a friend posted a video of his 13.2 performance on YouTube showing questionable reps on the shoulders-to-overheads and box jumps, CrossFit reviewed the video and determined that the standards of the workout were not met. His 13.2 score was rejected, putting him out of contention as an individual at the 2013 SoCal Regional.
This season, Golden welcomes the opportunity to be held to a higher standard. 
“After what happened last year, I am thinking about doing everything perfectly this time around so that there will be no questions,” he said. “(Open Workout) 14.1 was redemption for me; a chance to prove to the community and myself again, what I can do.”
Proof is exactly what was asked of him when he posted 413 reps on 14.1.
“CrossFit immediately asked me for a video!” Golden laughed.
His validated score not only put him in third in SoCal, but also tied him for 31st worldwide.
This week, after finishing 277 reps on 14.2, he is tied for sixth overall in SoCal and has moved up in the rankings worldwide to 21st.
“It feels good to be doing well so far,” he said.
But this time last year, he was feeling just the opposite.
“I was devastated,” he said about his 2013 disqualification. “I had worked hard all year going into the Open. I was ready to do well and I was completely surprised when 13.2 was the end of my season.”
Coming off of a 20th-place finish at the 2012 SoCal Regional, Golden had a bit too much confidence going into the 2013 Open.
“I thought I could win the whole thing ... I got too cocky,” he said. “Ultimately, it was my fault that I was disqualified. I made the choice to sacrifice the standards for speed … though at first I wanted to place blame somewhere else … that decision was my own.”
He couldn’t come to terms with his disqualification right away.
“It was unbelievable. I thought there was something I could do to reverse (the) decision,” he recalled. “But really, it was over.”
After the dust settled, he took time to reflect. 
“I needed to step back and take a look at myself. I was giving up form to try to be the best, and what happened helped me see that I needed to do better to get to the next level,” Golden said.
His next step was to move forward, physically and mentally.
“There came a point when I had to move on, so I decided to attack my weaknesses and train that much harder for the next season,” he said. “It was time to look ahead.”
Part of moving forward was opening his own affiliate, CrossFit Nipomo, in Nipomo, Calif., in July of 2013 to share his love of the sport.
“I love CrossFit. It changes people’s lives, and I wanted to be a bigger part of that,” he said.
“Owning my own gym, has given me a chance to bring this sport to regular people,” he added. “Though it is hard running an affiliate, I feel so rewarded by seeing others’ achievements. ”
As Golden’s gym goes through the Open this year, he is placing more importance on doing everything correctly.
“I think that the new video submission guideline for regional-level athletes is my fault,” he laughed. “It is a really great thing though, to tighten the standards.”
And he has embraced the new, stricter standards. 
“I think that tightening the standards is the best thing CrossFit can do for the sport,” he said. “Making sure that athletes are all measured in the same way, that they are all being held to the same standard, will make our sport more legit. Requiring proof of performance is fair. I like that there are stricter requirements now.”
Despite a short 2013 season, Golden believes he has used his experience to come back stronger.
“I am stronger now ... you just have to come away from something like that and (use it) to get better,” he said.