If you follow CrossFit, then you’ve most certainly heard of Ricky Garard, a CrossFit games athlete who tested positive for banned substances. He gained a ton of notoriety at the 2017 CrossFit Games where he came in third. However, he then would lose his placing due to a positive drug test. It was the first time a CrossFit athlete at the very top levels of competition in this sport failed a drug test.
What happened to him after that? He would go on to receive a harsh, 4-year suspension from all competitions.
An Introduction to Ricky Garard, CrossFit Athlete
Garard is a top performing CrossFit athlete in Australia. His best result was third place at the 2017 CrossFit Games, but he would eventually get stripped of his podium finish after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He received a ban from competition through the 2021 as a result of this CrossFit failed drug test.
It was the first time a top CrossFit athlete tested positive for a performance enhancing drug of this class. Most importantly, his use did not appear to be accidental in any way. Of course, this problem is not just one for CrossFit inc, but it’s common in many sports. Let’s explore how CrossFit inc dealt with the problem and whether or not it was similar to other sports organizations and events.
Ricky Garard’s Positive Drug Test at the 2017 CrossFit Games
In 2017, Australian Ricky Garard placed third at the CrossFit Games in the individual men’s open division. However, he was stripped of his title and had to give back the prize money after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs following the event. As a result, Patrick Vellner moved up to the podium to take his prize money and medal.
In addition to losing his third place finish, he lost the $76,000 prize money and was banned from CrossFit competitions until 2021. In general, most athletes fail drug tests because they were unaware of all the ingredients in a certain supplement. Or, they were taking fertility drugs (Ryan Elrod for example), or failing to understand the policies surrounding hormone replacement therapy.
However, in the case of Garard, none of these situations apply to him and his drug use appears to have been very intentional. This is likely why he received a 4-year ban instead of the 2 years that most other athletes receive. It’s also why his story hit the news headlines so strongly.
He made the news in a big way in part because of his top finish at one of the premier sporting events in the world. Competition to reach the podium at the CrossFit Games is fierce.
Which PEDs Did He Take?
Garard tested positive for Testolone (also known as RAD140) and Endurobol (a beta-2 agonist), which belong in the class of drugs known as SARMS. Testolone is known to increase endurance and recovery, as well as improve strength and lean muscle mass. Endurobol is becoming more popular among endurance athletes. However, they both come with some serious side effect. These include an increase in cancer rates and tumour sizes. It’s a case of buyer beware so think carefully before taking these banned substances.
Drug Testing at CrossFit Games
Any athlete who is registered in a CrossFit sanctioned competition can be drug tested at any time throughout the year. This includes at the CrossFit Games. However, it’s possible for there to be out of competition at any time throughout the year for any reason. This means that it’s possible to be tested for banned substances even if you only compete in the Open.
Ricky’s Reaction (on Instagram)
Upon learning of the positive drug test result, here was his statement on Instagram:
“As you can appreciate my world has come crashing down. It is heart breaking & it’s hard to comprehend that I am in this position.
On the pursuit of becoming all I could be as a CrossFit athlete, I have obviously taken the rules & boundaries to the very edge. I looked into, researched & was willing to dabble into ways that could improve my performance legally & within the rules, with no intention whatsoever to be a cheat.
I was taking the same supplements at The CrossFit Games as I did at The Pacific Regionals. Therefore, I didn’t feel the need to change anything. I thought I was legitimately competing within the rules with no unfair advantage over others.
But, after further investigation & very specific testing it has been revealed that my research has failed me. I have received a positive test for SARMS. To be clear these supplements were taken in tablet form with nothing ever injected.
Everyone in life makes mistakes, it’s how you learn from them that separates the great from the mediocre.
These actions don’t define me, this sport doesn’t define me.
It’s the lessons & growth of my character that truly matter.
In time, I know this will be the best thing that ever happened to me. I wanted the title, I wanted to win & I was willing to do everything in my power to achieve that goal.
Not for one second should you take away the hard work, sacrifice & dedication of my efforts.
At 23 years old I have a lot of years left in my life, I have endured the process & I have become something because of it.
In the end, I am apart of their sport, The CrossFit Games. They have rules, guidelines & policies to abide by. I have unintentionally fucked up. Their evidence has proven me guilty & I will own my actions day by day for the rest of my life.
I really hope The CrossFit Games continues to tighten up their testing procedures, enforce the same level of strictness to all other competitors like they have to me & they continue to strive towards a legit drug free sport. It’s tough to be on the receiving end when I know and have seen other top athletes in the sport intentionally out smarting the system, getting away with it & ruining the integrity of the sport.
Because of this outcome I will learn a lot about myself, wipe my tears & be accountable for every single decision I make in this life. Ultimately that is what it means to be a man.
I am reminding myself that sometimes life seems to be destroying you when it’s actually saving you, time will only reveal what it’s saving me from?
Haters will hate, and that’s ok. They are entitled to express their insecurities to the world. I will focus & deal with what is within my control.
This news is heavy, it’s real, but I will get myself together and keep moving forward.
Sorry to anyone I have affected personally & sorry to anyone that is sharing my pain. I trust that the people closest to me will understand, remain loyal and be there to support me.
I am coming to terms that nothing will ever be given to me in life, I know how to earn it the hard way & I will do just that for whatever it is I pursue next.”
Steroids in CrossFit
Find out more about whether or not steroids in CrossFit are a big problem in this short video below and what happens when athletes do test positive.
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 194 pounds
His best finish at the CrossFit Open was 97th place in 2016. During that same year, he placed 5th in Australia. He made the podium of the 2017 CrossFit Games but would eventually be stripped of his title because of banned substances.
Like many of the other best CrossFit athletes in the world, he has a popular Instagram account filled with tips and inspiration. To date, he has almost 70,000 followers and more than 500 posts. You can find it right here:
Ricky Garard CFG Open 19.5
Do you want to see him in action? Check out this WOD from the CrossFit Open.
Have your Say about Garard CrossFit
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