CrossFitter Ricky Garard of Australia will finish serving a four-year doping suspension on Oct. 3, 2021, and has announced his return to the sport. On Sept. 29, 2021, Garard joined Chase Ingraham on episode six of the CrossFit Games Podcast. In the episode, Ingraham asks Gerard point-blank if he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs prior to the 2017 CrossFit Games. Garard responded, “Yes.”
Garard’s suspension lifts just two weeks before the 2021 Dubai CrossFit® Championship (DCC) — a three-day competition — on Dec. 16-18, 2021, in Dubai, UAE. Garard accepted his invitation, alongside some of the sport’s top stars. You can watch Garard and Ingraham’s exchange, courtesy of CrossFit Games Director Dave Castro‘s Instagram page:
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Garard originally received a bronze medal at the 2017 CrossFit Games. According to their press release from 2017, CrossFit stripped Gerard of his bronze medal after testing positive for banned substances (anabolic agents) testolone and endurobol.
Here are the four questions Ingraham asked Garard on the CrossFit Games Podcast:
- Ingraham — Specifically to the 2017 CrossFit Games; testing positive. Did you knowingly take those PEDs for the CrossFit Games?
- Garard: Yes.
- Ingraham: Did you take them at the 2017 CrossFit Regionals to qualify for the CrossFit Games?
- Garard: Yes, I did.
- Ingraham: Have you taken them prior to your CrossFit career, back in your rugby days?*
- Garard: No.
- Ingraham: Have you taken them since you tested positive on Oct. 3, 2017, when your ban started?
- Garard: Definitely not.
Ingraham thanked Garard for his earnestness and asks how he was feeling. Garard responded, “Better.”
*According to his athlete profile on CrossFit’s website, Garard was a full back for the Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League (NRL) for two years before transitioning to CrossFit full time.
The CrossFit Community Reacts
Garard’s return to competitive CrossFit is not without controversy. Some of the top comments on Castro’s post question why Garard is “getting so much screen time” and why people should now believe Garard regarding drug use. Other commenters support Garard “owning” his mistakes and serving his full suspension.
CrossFit Games veteran James Newbury took to his Instagram page to advocate that the CrossFit community channel “forgiveness, kindness and compassion.” Newbury says that it “takes some f***ing courage” to return to CrossFit after a four-year suspension. Newbury goes on to call out the vitriol he’s seen posted toward Garard:
I…strongly disagree with the relentless, nasty, and downright cruel comments he’s received.
For context, Newbury, also a native of Australia, competed against Garard in 2017. Newbury finished one rank behind Garard in the national Open that year.
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Ricky Garard’s CrossFit Career
The 2021 DCC will be Garard’s first appearance back in sanctioned CrossFit competition since he was banned in 2017. The 2021 DCC is an invite-only competition and features the smallest roster since its inception in 2012. When his suspension is lifted, Garard will be 27 years old.
CrossFit still lists Garard as the runner-up at the 2017 Pacific Regionals. In the 2017 CrossFit Open, he ranked 23rd overall and first in Australia. It was his sixth career CrossFit Open. His CrossFit Games debut was in 2017. Garard was stripped of his bronze medal from the 2017 CrossFit Games following his positive drug test; it was awarded to 2021 CrossFit Games runner-up and three-time Games podium finisher Patrick Vellner.
Some of the biggest names in the sport have accepted their 2021 DCC invitations, including 2021 CrossFit Games runner-up Laura Horvath, Guilherme Malheiros, 2013 Fittest Woman on Earth® Sam Briggs, Willy Georges, and Kristin Holte.
Per CrossFit HQ, Garard took a drug test in March 2021 and the results were negative. Dave Castro issued a statement on his Instagram page on Sept. 17, 2021, welcoming Garard back and wishing him luck.
Featured image: @thedavecastro on Instagram