Southern Highlands crossfit athlete Ricky Garard has been banned until 2021 after a “positive” drug test, the world governing body has announced.
Garard finished third at the World Crossfit Games in August, the best ever result by an Australian, after qualifying for the event at the Pacific titles in Wollongong earlier this year.
CrossFit Games general manager Justin Bergh said in a statement the test result does “not appear to be accidental”.
“The CrossFit Games have never had a top individual athlete test positive for PEDs until this case,” Bergh said.
“Historically, the most frequent causes for a failed test have been masters athletes failing to read and accept our policy for hormone replacement in competition, and individual and team athletes using supplements containing banned substances not found on labels.
“Garard’s case does not appear to be accidental, and we take this result very seriously.”
In the Crossfit Games statement it said “the sample taken from Garard at the 2017 Games tested positive for testolone, and a beta-2 agonist known as endurobol. Anabolic agents and beta-2 agonists are specifically named as banned classes of drugs in the CrossFit Games Rulebook.”
He will also be stripped of about $A96,000 in prizemoney after finishing third.
Garard, who runs a Crossfit gym in Moss Vale and has trained in the Illawarra, released a statement on Twitter in reaction to the ban, declaring his “world has come crashing down”.
“On the pursuit of becoming all I could be as a CrossFit athlete, I have obviously taken the rules & boundaries to the very edge,” he wrote.
“I looked into, researched and was willing to dabble into ways that could improve my performance legally and within the rules, with no intention whatsoever to be a cheat.
“I was taking the same supplements at The CrossFit Games as I did at The Pacific Regionals. Therefore, I didn't feel the need to change anything. I thought I was legitimately competing within the rules with no unfair advantage over others.
But, after further investigation & very specific testing it has been revealed that my research has failed me & I have received a positive test for SARMS. To be clear these supplements were taken in tablet form with nothing ever injected.”
Saying “everyone in life makes mistakes”, Garard said he had seen other athletes “out smarting the system”.
“In the end, I am apart (sic) of their sport, The CrossFit Games,” he wrote.
“They have rules, guidelines & policies to abide by. I have unintentionally f...ed up, their evidence has proven me guilty & I will own my actions day by day for the rest of my life.
“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 legit drug free sport. It's tough to be on the receiving end when I know and have seen other top athletes in the sport intentionally out smarting the system, getting away with it & ruining the integrity of the sport.”