Breaking: Invictus Unconquerable Disqualified After Failed Drug Test

July 15, 2021 by
Credit: Athlete’s Eye Photography
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On Thursday afternoon, CrossFit Home Office announced another team has been disqualified from the CrossFit Games after a failed drug test. Deshawn Smith, a member of Invictus Unconquerable, tested positive for Endurobol, a SARM, after the team finished second at the West Coast Classic. According to CrossFit, Smith is filing an appeal.

  • C.J. Martin, head coach and founder of CrossFit Invictus: “We are extremely disappointed to learn that our Invictus Unconquerable team will not be competing at the CrossFit Games…While we support Deshawn and will support his testing of all supplements he has taken to determine whether it appeared in his system due to contamination, we also believe in fair sport and understand the strict liability associated with PEDs in an athlete’s system. I accept full responsibility for not better educating our athletes about the dangers of taking non-NSF certified supplements.”
  • Several athletes over the past few seasons have tested positive for Endurobol including Ricky and Ben Garard, and atleast six others in the last three years.

One big thing: This is now the third team in the span of a week, the fourth team this season, to be disqualified from the Games. CrossFit will now be backfilling again to sixth-place finisher Team Man Made, but the big question is if and when these four new teams be tested?

  • According to the CrossFit Games rulebook, section 4.15 states: “Drug testing is required for any individual athlete or team to advance to the Games or to collect prizes.”
  • After speaking to Timberwolf CrossFit, 12 Labours and CrossFit Reignited Wilmington, who was invited early last month, CrossFit has not reached out to either team to coordinate an out-of-competition drug test. Team Man Made could not be reached at the time of publication.
  • According to CrossFit’s spokesperson Andrew Weinstein, “Under the CrossFit Games drug testing policy, we have the right to test any athletes at any time, but we do not share or announce such plans. We test athletes regularly throughout the season and at various points during the Games finals.”

Reading between the lines: Except for the qualifying athletes and teams at Regionals, Semifinals and Games, CrossFit has never publically stated when it plans to test an athlete or team. That would serve to undermine the nature of the testing process. Based on past experience at the Games and conversations with athletes, we know the on-site Games testing progress is thorough, but we can’t confirm that every athlete and team is tested.

The big picture: Everyone competing at the CrossFit Games, whether it’s on a team or individual, deserves to be competing against athletes who’ve been tested before arriving at the Games. CrossFit does not disclose whether every single athlete competing is tested upon arrival, so it’s possible for a non-podium athlete finishing 21st (no final payout) but wins one Games event and pockets $3,000 that rightfully should belong to another athlete.

Worth discussing: Given a new season format that leaves a relatively short time frame between when Semifinal test results come back and the start of the CrossFit Games, it’s worth considering testing the runner-ups at these events in the case of a backfill. This could help ensure that all athletes are tested weeks before they arrive to compete.

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