CrossFit Games

BREAKING: Bethany Shadburne Withdraws From Games After Positive COVID Test

July 26, 2021 by
Credit: Vincent Franzeo (@vincentfranzeo)
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After wowing fans with her performance at the West Coast Classic and beating her training partner and third fittest woman on earth, Kari Pearce to bring home the gold, Bethany Shadburne’s season has come to an abrupt end just two days before the start of the 2021 CrossFit Games after testing positive for COVID-19. Shadburne is withdrawing from competition and is currently quarantining according to her coach Justin Cotler.

One big thing: Training partners Kari Pearce and Danielle Brandon from Underdogs Athletics, who have been training with Shadburne have both tested negative and will be allowed to compete but CrossFit is taking certain precautions. In a separate case, Kara Saunders also initially tested positive but a subsequent test “with an antigen test on-site” came back negative “indicating she is no longer infectious” and is now cleared to compete.

  • According to Cotler, they will continue to be tested every day throughout the duration of the Games to ensure that they continue to test negative, however, as of right now, they will still be competing this year.
  • As an additional safety measure, Shadburne, Brandon and also Dan Bailey “will remain segregated from their peers and receive daily antigen testing throughout the competition. If that daily testing remains negative, those athletes will be permitted to take part in the competition with heightened safety protocols, including separate housing, segregated transportation to/from events, and distanced lanes or segregated workout areas during the competition, when possible.”

Cotler: “All of us in the Underdogs Athletics family are gutted by the news. She was peaking mentally and physically and I’m confident she would have put on a show for the fans. She will regroup and recover from this and knowing Bethany the way I do, she’ll be motivated to come back better than ever next season. Kari and Danielle tested negative and are eager to start the competition not just for themselves, but now for their teammate as well.”

America’s sweetheart: Many analysts picked Shadburne to be one of the top competitors at the Games this year after her victory at the West Coast Classic, she was also in the running for the next American woman to step on the podium following Kari Pearce’s drought-ending podium finish for the American women last year.

  • Shadburne has spent the last year proving herself as an exceptional athlete, including joining the fittest American woman, Kari Pearce in Vegas to train with the Underdogs.
  • This would have been Shadburne’s fourth CrossFit Games and her third in person Games (the first phase of the Games was held virtually last year due to COVID).

CrossFit’s COVID policies: Despite the Games being moved and significantly reduced in size due to COVID last year, CrossFit was able to once again return the Games to their home in Madison, WI at full capacity for the 2021 season.

  • Despite many things returning to normal this summer, CrossFit still emphasized that safety with respect to Covid was of the utmost importance as the 2021 CrossFit Games kicked off.
  • “The safety of our athletes, staff, and community has always been our highest priority for the CrossFit Games. As COVID-19 remains a significant health issue around the world, the CrossFit Games will have specific protocols in place to protect those who are working or spectating at this year’s event,” reads the CrossFit Games Covid policy on their website.
  • “All will also be asked to participate in daily screening for symptoms [of COVID-19] for the duration of the event. Medical professionals will be on hand to evaluate anyone with symptoms or concerns. Masks and cleaning stations will be provided to further reduce risk,”
  • CrossFit is also requiring athletes, volunteers, spectators, and staff to comply with local COVID ordinances.

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