Kari Pearce Tests Positive for COVID-19, Out of 2021 CrossFit Games

The American was primed to perform well at this year's Games, and is now the third athlete to be removed for a positive COVID-19 test.

Kari Pearce is out of the 2021 CrossFit Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. News of Pearce’s withdrawal was released by CrossFit the morning of July 28, 2021, an hour before the first Individual event is set to start. Pearce placed third at the 2020 CrossFit Games, ending the five-year American women medal drought. She’s known for her grit, athleticism, and gymnastic ability. 

Pearce is now the third athlete to be medically withdrawn from the Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. Just two days prior, on July 26, Pearce’s teammate and another athlete with Podium potential, Bethany Shadburne, tested positive on an antigen test. A day later, Master’s athlete and four-time Games veteran Dan Bailey also tested positive.


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Kara Saunders also tested positive before the competition (she took a test on her own) but has since tested negative during daily CrossFit screenings. Danielle Brandon came in contact with Saunders and/or Shadburne prior to their positive tests, and, according to CrossFit, is segregated from her peers and receiving daily antigen testing throughout the competition. Brandon is also staying in separate housing, using separate transportation, and using distanced lanes or workout areas during the competition. 

Kari Pearce is a six-time CrossFit Games competitor with three top-five finishes. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native was also the highest-ranking American woman in the 2020 CrossFit Open (sixth place). During the 2021 CrossFit Games season, Pearce placed second at the West Coast Classic Semifinal event, one spot behind Shadburne. She also placed 16th worldwide in the 2021 Open, and 28th in the Quarterfinals. CrossFit has not mentioned whether Pearce or the other athletes who have been withdrawn will be replaced. 

At the time this article was written, Pearce has yet to make a statement regarding her removal from the Games. BarBend will update this story if and when new information surfaces. 

Featured image: @karipearcecrossfit on Instagram