CrossFit Games bronze medallist Ricky Garard banned for drugs – casting spotlight on popular sport’s doping policies
Ricky Garard has been stripped of his third-place finish at the CrossFit Games, will return prize money and cannot compete until 2021
CrossFit calls itself the definitive test of fitness, and labels its champions the fittest on Earth. The title proved too tempting for Ricky Garard, 23, who has been stripped of his bronze medal from the 2017 CrossFit Games after testing positive for banned substances.
Australian Garard is the most high-profile CrossFit athlete to have failed a dope test. He must return his US$76,000 prize money and is banned from competing in CrossFit sanctioned events until 2021.
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Patrick Vellner was promoted to third place. Two other competitors, in the men’s and women’s masters events, also failed dope tests.
Testolone, and a beta-2 agonist known as endurobol, both anabolic agents, were found in Garard’s samples.
Justin Bergh, general manager of the CrossFit Games, said: “Historically, the most frequent causes for a failed test have been masters athletes failing to read and accept our policy for hormone replacement in competition, and individual and team athletes using supplements containing banned substances not found on labels.”
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“Garard’s case does not appear to be accidental, and we take this result very seriously,” he said.
“To be honest I’m not overly surprised,” said Ali Reece, a member of Hong Kong’s Coastal Fitness team that won crossfit’s Asia regional qualifiers.
“CrossFit does have drug testing at regional and Games level, but there are certainly a lot of rumours and suspicions around some athletes.”
CrossFit’s Bergh said that testing is an important part of validating the claim that the athletes are the “fittest people on Earth”.
The organisers will aggressively pursue and punish anyone who tries to gain an unfair advantage, he added.