Ben Garard Addresses His Brother’s Disqualification

Ben Garard poses with his certificate after breaking the Guinness World Record for most lunges in one minute by a male
Ben Garard poses with his certificate after breaking the Guinness World Record for most lunges in one minute by a male

The last 36 hours in the CrossFit world have been filled with reactions to the announcement that Ricky Garard, 3rd place at the 2017 CrossFit Games, had failed a drug test after the final event. Garard quickly put out his response to the situation.

Since that time, other Games athletes (Vellner, Fraser, Helgadottir, Ohlsen, Dancer) have shared their thoughts on the topic on social media.

Ricky’s brother and also a CrossFit Games veteran, Ben Garard, shared his thoughts on the situation on Instagram in a 4-part post. Ben finished 15th at the 2015 CrossFit Games.

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 calibre 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 wellbeing, 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. \\ Post CONTINUES ⬇️ //

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Along the way he has made a poor error in judgment & clearly lacked the adequate research for what he has put in his body. This is definitely not a post making excuses for my brother, but one main thing I want to express & be clear on is where his true intentions lie. This outcome immediately made me think back to when I was in the same building as he walked out of the drug testing room at The CrossFit Games, after he just placed third in the world. As he walked over to me he had his head high, he was proud of his efforts, there was no discussion of this possibility & it didn't cross his mind for a second that he could be in this position. Words are cheap, but it's those specific moments of action that stand out to me that give me the confidence that he was not intentionally cheating. He has never set out with the intention to gain an unfair advantage over others, out smart the system or do anything illegal. The testing procedures & protocols need to be tightened up year round, not just in season. The CrossFit Games directors are making bold statements & projecting to the world that it's a drug free sport, yet personally I don't know of a single athlete that has been tested in the off season outside of the annual Regionals & Games competitions. Ricky was taking the exact same supplements at The Pacific Regionals as he did at The CrossFit Games, he never had an issue with his drug testing there so why would he change anything if it was working & what he thought was within the rules of the sport. The part that disturbs me the most is that The CrossFit Games own the right to disclose positive drug tests at their discretion. Giving the organisation full authority over who gets exposed & who potentially stays protected. It confirms my perception that I've had for many years that ultimately this is a billion dollar business, utilising The CrossFit Games as an avenue for marketing, exposure & to drive sales to the wider organisation. As much as people think it is a legit sport testing for the Fittest on Earth, there is no equality or guarantee that each athlete will receive the same drug testing protocols & there are major loop holes in their current system.

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In saying this, I am glad the testing has worked. I am ok with them using Ricky as an example in attempt to further legitimise their sport. As long as The CrossFit Games continues to invest in this same level of strictness to every single athlete competing, especially at the The CrossFit Games, not just the podium finishers, but the entire field. I encourage you not to be so naive & ignorant to think that this isn't a major issue in every sport out there. I can only hope that other top CrossFit athletes (definitely not all) reflect on their justification to intentionally use PED's, re-evaluate their decisions & understand that the integrity of the sport is being ruined every time you get away with it. I believe the raw honest truth is what sets you free in this life. All the external measures of success are meaningless if you didn't achieve it authentically. Ricky has messed up, he has made a huge mistake, he has been publicly exposed to the world & he has owned it courageously like a man. He will learn a lot about himself through this adversity. But like they say what doesn't kill you makes you strong as fuck. This 23 year old warrior has a lot of years left in his life. Deep down I know he is a force for good, he will defy the odds, he will set a new standard for himself & he will step up to achieve greatness once again. He will continue to express his greatest gifts, which is his physical body that he has earned through disciplined effort. No one can take away his talent, resilience & worth ethic that he has adopted. Personally I will make sure he competes fairly in whatever it is he pursues next. Everything happens for a reason, what goes around comes around & if he takes the time to go inwards his intuition will guide him towards what's next. I've had my fair share of obstacles, highs & lows in this sport over the last 6 years. I've learnt a lot of lessons along the way that have shaped my character, I am grateful for it & now it's his turn.

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Just a reminder to all of you that it's only CrossFit-sanctioned events that he isn't allowed to compete in until 2021 (Open, Regionals, Games, Team Series, Invitational). Every other functional fitness event outside of that he is good to go. He has been added to the registered athlete drug testing pool which is subject to unannounced testing at anytime during his 4 year suspension. Failure to cooperate will result in additional sanctions. Should he violate the CrossFit Games Drug Testing Policy during this time, the term of his suspension will be extended. Maybe the universe has given him this test to see how bad he really wants it? I know this guy better than anyone. So don't be surprised if he learns a big arse lesson from this, gets himself together, dusts himself off & uses this internal pain to become even better than he is now. Thank you for your loyalty, your love & your support ❤️ The amount of respect that is shown in our circle of friends is a testament to the people we have in our lives. Ultimately they are the ones that matter the most, times like this is a good reminder of that, so much love to you all. Ricky's heroes journey continues & I embrace the road ahead. #rickywillrise ✊🏼

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