On Nov. 6, 2022, Ricky Garard announced that he was withdrawing from the prestigious 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship (DFC), set to take place Dec. 2-4 in the United Arab Emirates. In his post, he cites wanting to take care of his body as the reason he withdrew.
According to his Instagram post (see below), he plans to compete at the 2022 Down Under Championship and then at Wodapalooza 2023. Garard revealed to BarBend over text message that his teammates for the Down Under Championship are Khan Porter and Matt Dlugos, a teammate at the Underdogs Athletics training camp based in Las Vegas, NV. Their team will be named “The Down Under Dogs.”
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“Coming into the offseason schedule, I was excited to do as many competitions as I could, and my initial thoughts were it was possible,” Garard told BarBend. “After a lot of time out of the game, I wanted to gain back as much competition practice as possible.”
Garard returned to competition during the 2022 CrossFit Games season — resulting in a third-place finish at the Games — after serving a four-year suspension for testing positive for two banned substances following the 2017 CrossFit Games.
After serving his suspension, Garard was announced as one of the first athletes to receive an invitation to the 2021 Dubai CrossFit Championship (DCC) (now known as the Dubai Fitness Championships), his first competition since the end of his suspension. The DCC’s decision was met with criticism from the community. Despite the four-year layoff, Garard finished third at the event against a stacked men’s field.
That started his journey of redemption, culminating in his podium finish at the Games and the subsequent invitation to the 2022 Rogue Invitational.
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However, the Rogue Invitational proved to be more than Garard expected and could seemingly handle. The Austin, TX-based competition took place from Oct. 27-30. The Down Under Championship will occur from November 18-20, meaning the two events are less than a month apart.
To compete at the DFC, Garard says he’d have to be on a plane to Dubai “five days after that. It became clear that this was too much, especially after the recovery it took from Rogue.” Garard decided to withdraw with the help of his coach at Underdogs Athletics, Justin Cotler. Nikita Yundov from Belarus will take Garard’s spot at the DFC.
“Me and my team decided the smartest decision now is to settle back in at home for the next two months, focus on my training, compete at Wodapalooza in Miami in January, and then keep the momentum off of that going into the 2023 CrossFit Games season,” Garard said.
On to the Down Under Championship
The Down Under Championship will feature a number of the top CrossFit athletes competing with the roster, including a who’s-who of the top Australians.
Chief among them is six-time reigning and defending Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey, who will team up with fellow Aussie Ellie Turner and her PRVN teammate Brooke Wells. Noah Ohlsen, Chandler Smith, and Saxon Panchik will form a team on the men’s side.
To watch the Down Under Championship, fans can head to the competition’s official YouTube channel, which will host a livestream.
Featured Image: Patrick Clark / Athlete’s Eye Photography