Top Athletes Respond to CrossFit Games Athlete Ricky Garard’s Failed Substance Test

By now, chances are you’ve heard the news that Reebok CrossFit Games athlete Ricky Garard failing a doping test and has stripped of his third place medal. For those who haven’t, Tuesday evening, CrossFit HQ announced that individual men’s athlete Garard had failed a banned substance test for testing positive for two banned substances including testolone, which is a SARM.

This news story isn’t the first time we’ve reported on CrossFit athletes failing drug tests, but is the first time an Individual podium finisher has. Garard will now lose his $76,000 USD prize money, his 2017 Reebok CrossFit Invitational invite, and the ability to compete in official CrossFit competitions until 2021.

This news came as a shock to many, and many top athletes have shared their thoughts publicly on the matter. Below we’ve embedded Patrick Vellner (who now moves up to third at the 2017 Games) and Noah Ohlsen’s (who moves up to fourth) posts, along with Benny Garard’s (Ricky’s brother and a Games athlete himself) thoughts on the matter.

Patrick Vellner – New Third Place Individual Men’s Finisher

“Last night I was named the Third Fittest Man on Earth for the second consecutive year. Not to cheers of the CrossFit community, or to the joy of my family, but alone at home, sitting at my kitchen table doing homework. I am happy and proud to be now named to the podium. I am overwhelmed and excited and frankly a little giddy. However, I’m also disappointed.

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. I’m glad that CrossFit is catching some big fish and showing that their testing works, but I’m sad to see this stain on the sport. Integrity in sport is so important. 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. This is just sad and unfair.

There are no shortcuts to success. Success is made at the gym on a Tuesday afternoon when you are one piece into a 5 piece workout and you want to just call it and go home to watch Netflix, but you don’t. Success is looking at the guy next to you and knowing if he works hard, you gotta work harder. It is built one rep, one grind, one workout at a time.
So to anyone out there who thinks it might be a good idea to give him or herself that extra edge. Put down your PED and pick up a goddamn barbell.

Thanks everyone for the support. Let’s work for a better, cleaner 2018 season.”

Noah Ohlsen – New Fourth Place Individual Men’s Finisher

“The recent stir within the @crossfitcommunity has me processing a lot of thought and emotion. Mostly frustration and disappointment. 

First, at myself. While it’d be easy to assume I’d be thrilled to move up from the 5th fittest to the 4th, it’s not that simple. Prior, the podium was well out of reach. Now, it’s as if it were only 4 points beyond my grasp. One more lunge, one more overhead squat, one more pound on the snatch and I could have achieved a major lifetime goal. Alas, all I can do about that is look forward and allow it fire me up to leave no doubt next season. 

Then there’s the frustration on behalf of the @crossfitgames athletes and fans. 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. That’s not fair to those who do. Not really sure how to close this out.. hopefully it is a good thing that the testing protocol works and that scares more athletes away from PEDs.

Congrats to @pvellner, I’m so sorry you didn’t get the true experience of the podium again this season. Perhaps we can share it together in the next!”

Benny Garard – Ricky’s Brother, 2015 CrossFit Games Athlete

“Life will only ever throw at you what it knows you can handle. I’ve taken the time to gather my thoughts & think deeply about what has just unfolded in my younger brothers world. My heart is hurting for him, his identity has been shattered to pieces & I am sharing his pain. 

As much as he is the one in the spotlight, you have all witnessed the unique bond we share, how connected we are as brothers, the energy I have put into his journey & as you can appreciate this news is having a really heavy impact on me also. For Ricky, this is much more than receiving a positive drug test for the use of SARMs tablets & a major penalty of a 4 year suspension from the sport. This is now a much bigger lesson in life. 

It has become a confronting test for him to grow from a boy into a man, it has forced him to go inwards, own the decisions he has made & figure out where his true values lie as a person. I admire his level of maturity, strength of character & the way he is dealing with one of the biggest statements in CrossFit Games history. Not for a second can you take away the hard work he has endured, the years of dedication he put into his athletic abilities & the daily sacrifices he has made along the way to be this caliber of athlete.

I am hurt, sad & disappointed that he has put himself in this position. It is extremely tough for my family & everybody that has supported his journey. It’s important to remind ourselves to punish his wrong doing, encourage him to learn from it, but not punish him as a person. 

We have shared an entire life together, I love this guy more than anyone & I will not let this incident define him. I am extremely concerned for his well-being, his immediate future as an athlete & I will continue to have his back until he rises again. I’ve seen first hand behind the highlight reels of social media that he is a legit athlete, he knows how to work his arse off, grind in the gym & he truly has what it takes to be a world champion someday. 

He wanted to win, he wanted the title, he did everything in his power in the pursuit of achieving it & he dedicated his life towards that vision he created for himself.”

Garard’s post continues on for three more photo descriptions, which we’re not embedding for length. But if you’re interested in reading all of the posts regarding Ben’s thoughts, then we recommend checking out his Instagram page.

Feature image from @nohlsen Instagram page.