CrossFit Games

Breaking: Team On Track Athlete Faces Possible Sanctions and Team Disqualification

June 8, 2021 by
Credit: Athlete's Eye Photography
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The CrossFit Games announced that a member of the On Track team that has qualified for the CrossFit Games is facing possible sanctions, which could nullify the team’s invite to the Games this summer.

Janelle Stites, a member of On Track’s fifth place team that qualified for the Games through the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge two weekends ago, is currently under sanctions from USADA in the sport of weightlifting.

  • Stites tested positive for Ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) which is classified as an Anabolic Agent during an out-of-competition test on January 21, 2019.
  • A four year suspension was put in effect from the testing date, making her ineligible for competition in weightlifting until January 21, 2023.

What this means for CrossFit: Despite the sanctions coming from another sport, the CrossFit Games typically honor sanctions from other recognized sporting bodies and testing agencies per subsection 12 of the CrossFit Games Drug Policy

  • Section 12 states: “Athletes who violate the Drug Testing Policy are subject to sanctions. These sanctions may be applied to the entire team if a team athlete violates the Drug Testing Policy.”
  • CrossFit, LLC may additionally recognize drug policy violations, including positive drug tests, reported by other national anti-doping organizations (e.g., the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, the Brazilian Anti-Doping Authority) from in-competition or out-of-competition testing performed by these agencies on behalf of other sports governing bodies.”
  • Upon learning of a positive test result or other violation, CrossFit, LLC may provisionally suspend an athlete awaiting a final decision by the testing agency or sports governing body. Once a final decision in the case has been announced by the testing agency or sports governing body, CrossFit, LLC will, in each case, determine its own sanction for the athlete involved.”

Stites took to social media to share her story, and the Morning Chalk Up has learned that the case is currently in the appeals process with the CrossFit Games team. Should they decide to honor the USADA sanctions, Stites (formerly Janelle Schafer) would be ineligible for competition, making the entire On Track team ineligible as well. 

  • The CrossFit Games invite would be rescinded – invites are not 100% official until drug testing is completed – and the sixth place team, CrossFit Reignited Wilmington, would be in line for the invite. 

The Morning Chalk Up reached out to CrossFIt for inquiry, to which a representative replied with the following details:

  • Under the due process outlined in the CrossFit drug testing policy, each individual has 10 business days to submit a written petition, which CrossFit will review prior to issuing a final decision.  In the interim, the sixth place team has been notified to remain in training.”

We’ve seen this before: Individual Regional competitor Charis Chan received a four year suspension from the CrossFit Games prior to the 2017 season in accordance with sanctions handed down from USADA also in the sport of weightlifting.

Per the 10-day petition timeframe, a final decision could potentially be announced by the end of next week. 

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