Australian rookie Ricky Garard mars the reputation of CrossFit as a clean sport. Garard is the first podium to test positive for banned substances at the CrossFit Games.
This is the untold story of performance enhancing drugs in the sport of fitness. Including effective athlete testing through the years. In fact, testing done much to level the playing field for the hardest working athletes of the Games.
The Ricky Garard Story
The news broke via press release from CrossFit in October 2017. Ricky Garard, the 23-year-old rookie from Australia, forfeited his third-place title. The press release noted Garard would lose his $76,000 in prize money and received a four-year ban from the sport.
Why Ricky Garard Used
Ricky Garard tested positive for use of Testolon and Endurobol. These are a steroid and a hormonal growth factor. He had cheated his way to a first-place finish in the Madison Triplet and Cyclocross events. His standing as the third-fittest man on earth wasn’t real.
Ricky Garard’s Punishment
As the result, Canadian athlete Patrick Vellner would assume the third-place podium finish.
Garard’s girlfriend Melissa Bevacqua took to Twitter following the suspension. She publicly accepted blame. Her tweets stated she wasn’t reading labels on some of Ricky Garard’s supplements.
“…I blame myself for not doing more research into this [one] particular product we were convinced was okay.”From Melissa Bevacqua on Twitter
Ricky Garard’s Response
Garard also took to Instagram with multiple messages disparaging the CrossFit organization:
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…
… 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.
Ricky Garard goes on to imply there are other athletes taking PEDs. He accused CrossFit of not pursuing those accusations. His language states CrossFit is not a legitimate, drug-free sport:
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 legitimate drug free sport.
CrossFit’s Response to Ricky Garard
Justin Bergh is the the General Manager of the CrossFit Games. In an interview appearance, Bergh discussed Ricky Garard’s accusations:
This is an opportunity for him as an athlete, if he has that information, he can share it with us, he can be a part of a solution…It’s not just ruining the leaderboard; it’s tarnishing the hard work, the talent, the dedication that your fellow competitors have…good clean athletes that are doing the right thing, it’s sullying their reputation and I don’t think it’s fair to them.
This wasn’t the first time CrossFit had caught athletes using performance enhancing drugs. Like in any sport, it also wouldn’t be the last time someone took a shortcut to fitness greatness.
A Look Back
There is no single definitive list on CrossFit athletes who have tested positive. In that void, we’ve done our best to compile one for you.
Jumping back to 2010, a notable name stands out – Ben Bergeron. Ben is the owner of CrossFit New England and the CompTrain fitness program.
He is now the coach of fan favorites Katrin Davidsdottir and Brooke Wells. Bergeron tested positive for methylhexanamine, a stimulant, in 2010.
He stands as an example that even great people make mistakes. Athletes can overcome those mistakes and make a positive impact on the community.
A Look Forward
For the three fittest men and women on earth, nobody tested positive in 2018. CrossFit continued testing all Regional and Games athletes. Those tests caught more users than in previous years. They resulted in two masters athletes losing their podium finishes.
How the Athletes Feel
Many athletes have weighed in on Ricky Garard PEDs in the sport:
Patrick Vellner on Ricky Garard
Those precious moments at the Crossfit Games are ones that I work so hard all year for, and they are moments that I can never get back. I lost an event win, I lost the experience of having back to back podiums, and worst of all, I lost the chance to stand on that podium with a fellow Canadian…When someone cheats, they aren’t simply cheating the sport, they are cheating the other athletes who have sacrificed a lot to get where they are.
As if we didn’t already get enough of the 💉 emojis and ‘no way these dudes are natural,’ comments. Now, I’d imagine that within our community and beyond it’ll be even harder for people to believe that we train and compete with all natural integrity.
I am disappointed in Garards actions, but happy that the CrossFit Games are coming down hard on these issues. In response to Garard I would like to say: Don’t try to justify your actions by dragging us all down with you. If you know of people cheating, name some names, contact HQ with your info and do your part in upholding the integrity of the sport. Don’t make us all look questionable in order to make yourself look better!
The List – Athletes Reported for PED Use
At the time of writing, 43 athletes have tested positive for PEDs. This is since the 2010 CrossFit Games season.
It’s important to note the average suspension has grown from none in 2010 to an average of 3.8 years in 2018. CrossFit is getting tougher on cheaters.
|Abigail Guerrero||Methandienone (Dianabol)||2|
|Steve Pinkerton||Anastrozole, Letrozole, 19-norandrosterone||2|
|Elia Navarro Garcia||Oxandrolone||2|
|Riyan Fischer||Compliance failure||1|
|Steve Marino||Unspecified AAS||2|
|Pawel Lesnikowski||Clenbuterol, Modafinil, elevated testosterone levels||4|
|Ricky Garard||Testolone, Endurobol||4|
|Tony Turski||Anastrozole||Not disclosed|
|Josee Sarda||Ostarine, Testolone||Not disclosed|
|Shawn Ramirez||Endurobol, Ostarine||4|
|Andre Ganin||Elevated testostrerone||4|
|Nuha Almarri||Endurobol, Turinabol||4|
|Megan Benzik||Methandienone, Oxandrolone, Methanol, Letrozole, Amphetamine||4|
|Gena Malkovskiy||Clomiphene, Meldonium, Drostanolone||4|
|Andre Sanches||Epimentendiol, Methandienon, Ostarine, LGD-4033||4|
The List – PEDs Athletes Have Tested Positive For
This list only extends to the substances found in CrossFit athletes. It does not include the full list of banned substances from WADA.
(S1) Anabolic Androgenic Steroids
Intended for chronic breathing disorders like asthma. Used by the boxer Canelo Alvarez (WBA, WBC). CrossFit athletes Stella Christoforou and Pawel Lesnikowski have tested positive.
Also known as Dilaterol, Spiropent, Ventipulmin.
Intended for use in treatment of breast cancer. Gena Malkovskiy tested positive for this substance 2018. Also known as dromostanolone, Drolban, Masteril, and Masteron.
This drug was in testing for treatment of muscle wasting and osteoporosis. It did not pass drug trials and is currently a black market drug.
Seven CrossFit athletes have tested positive for Enobosarm, like Shawn Ramirez:
- Lauren Shawver
- Andre Sanches
- Richard Bohlken
- Nick Thomas
- Josee Sarda
- Tony Turski.
The most common name for this PED is Ostarine.
Much like Enobasarm, LGD-4033’s intended use is for muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Withdrawn from the use, it is only available on the black market.
Also known under the name of VK5211 and Ligandrol. CrossFitters Carlos Castillo and Andre Sanches have tested positive for this. Will Grier (Florida Gators football) and Joakim Noah (NBA) have tested positive for this.
Used for the treatment of hypogonadism. This drug is no longer available. It’s considered a black market substance.
Bodybuilders often use metandienone. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a vocal user. Common names include methandienone, methandrostenolone, epimentendiol, and Dianabol.
In CrossFit, Abigail Guerrero, Megan Benzik, and Andre Sanches have tested positive.
Also known as 19-Norandrosterone. This drug’s used to treat a varying array of disorders. They include anemias, cachexia, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.
Steve Pinkerton is the lone CrossFit athlete to test positive for Nadroline, to date.
Oxandrolone is common AAS in professional sports. Associated users include baseball players Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
In CrossFit, four athletes have tested positive. They include Elia Navarro Garcia, Natalie Newhart, Rachel Campbell, and Megan Benzik.
Also known as Androstanazol, Menabol, Stanazol, Stromba, Tevabolin, Winstrol, etc.
Stanozolol found use in treatment for lipodermatosclerosis. Formal use of the drug discontinued in favor of other treatments.
To date, it is still used in cases of horse doping. Stanozolol-affiliated accusations exist against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. CrossFit athletes Maria Ceballos, Stephanie Araujo, and Vivian Bomfim have tested positive.
Known as “exogenous testosterone”, this is the case of elevated testosterone levels. Those levels are not created by the body. Exogenousrone is used to treat hypogonadism, breast cancer. Additionally, it’s used in sexual transitions.
CrossFit athletes Pawel Lesnikowski and Andrey Ganin have tested positive. Included as a user is US Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin.
Testosterone in drugs like Andriol, Androderm, AndroGel, Testim, TestoGel, Sustanon, and Omnadren.
Also known as RAD140, Ricky Garard tested positive for Testolone in 2017. It is still under development and in trials. RAD140’s use targets muscle wasting and includes the treatment of breast cancer.
Finaplix, Parabolan, and Hexabolan. Charis Chan tested positive for this in 2016.
To this day it is only used in livestock to promote growth of muscle and increased appetite.
Has no non-performance medical use. Used by CrossFit athlete Nuha Almarri. Also known as CDMT and Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone
(S2) Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
Known by athletes as GW501516 (or GW1516). Endurobol’s intended use is to treat metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The medical industry abandoned the drug for causing rapid cancer development in mice.
Six CrossFit athletes have tested positive, including Ricky Garard. The others are: Fabio Botteghi, Joel Munro, Nuha Almarri, Shawn Ramirez, and Kelli Holm.
Designed for treatment of hormone deficiency. Ibutamoren approved by the FDA. Other names are MK-677 and L-163,191.
CrossFit placed sanctions on Emily Abbott after testing positive for this in 2018.
The drug fights restricted blood flow disorders, such as ischemia. CrossFitter Gena Malkovskiy tested positive for this in 2018.
(S3) Beta-2 Agonist
This substance is in various over-the-counter supplements and has unverified weight loss properties. Known as norcoclaurine and demethylcoclaurine, Laura Hosier tested positive in 2018.
(S4) Hormone and Metabolic Modulators
Known under the brand name of Arimidex. Anastrozole treats breast cancer. Steve Pinkerton, Scott Jones, and Tony Turski have tested positive for this substance.
Also spelled “clomiphene”. Hundreds of prescription names includen the substance. Examples include Belcom, Biogen, Bleifen, Climene, Fertilphen, etc.
This drug treats infertility.
Five athletes have tested positive for Clomifene. They are Dean Shaw, Penny Kemp, Ryan Elrod, Andrea Barbotti, and L’duvit Czokoly.
The drug Femara is the product name of Letrozole. It’s used to treat breast cancer. Samples from Megan Benzik and Steve Pinkerton tested positive for the substance.
Intended as a breast cancer prevention method. Tamoxifen is also a treatment for infertility. It’s sold under the names Nolvadex, Genox, and Tamifen. Gianluca Occino tested positive for Tamoxifen in 2017.
Amphetamine drugs treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. Adderall, Dyanavel, Benzedrene, Evekeo, etc. use the substance.
CrossFit athletes Megan Benzik and Taylar Stallings have tested positive. Other users include Olympic sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.
Designed in 1944 as a nasal decongestant, use of Methylhexanamine stopped in 1983. Creators withdrew it from the market.
Methylhexanamine has been in the news recently. The FDA issued a warning to 14 companies for unlabeled use of the substance in their supplements. The chemical has unverified weight loss properties.
Kara Paslay, Ben Bergeron, and Derek Mohammad have tested positive for this. Other names include dimethylbutylamine, methylhexamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, and 1,3-amphetamine.
Sold under the names Provigil, Alertec, and Modavigil. Baseball player Barry Bonds stands accused of using Modafinil. Additionally, CrossFit announced Pawel Lesnikowski tested positive by 2017. This drug treats sleepiness due to narcolepsy.