Sabrina Caron Wins Appeal, Cleared to Compete After French Anti-Doping Agency’s Ban is Overturned

October 7, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Morning Chalk Up
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Editor’s note: This story is now out of date based on new information received from the AFLD. Please read the updated story here.

Today, 2019 CrossFit Games athlete Sabrina Caron announced on Instagram that she has been cleared by the French anti-doping agency, Agence Française de Lutte Contre le Dopage (AFLD) after a lengthy appeal. Caron tested positive for a banned substance back in 2019 at the French Throwdown and was banned from competing in France but has won her appeal in its entirety. 

One big thing: Caron was presumably allowed to continue competing in CrossFit and even qualify for the 2020 Games because CrossFit corporate was unaware of the positive test until Morning Chalk Up reached out a few weeks ago. They have since contacted the appropriate agency to learn more. 

  • Andrew Weinstein, CrossFit’s head of communications, prior to today’s news: “We are following up with the authorities there to confirm that information.”

What she said: “After analyzing my case, the Commission has taken the decision to completely NULLIFY the decision and disciplinary sanction taken by the AFLD,” Caron wrote on Instagram (translated using Instagram’s built-in translator).

  • The agency has stated it will even be paying damages, according to a translated version of the decision. 
  • “The decision number CS 2020-48 of November 2, 2020 of the sanctions commission of the French anti-doping agency is annulled,” according to translated documents. 

The timeline:

  • At the 2019 CrossFit French Throwdown, Caron submitted to a drug test administered by the AFLD and tested positive for LGD-4033 diOH, also known as Ligandrol, a SARM. 
  • Caron would go on to qualify for the 2019 CrossFit Games by finishing fourth at the French Throwdown. She would finish 58th at the 2019 CrossFit Games.
  • During the 2020 CrossFit Open, which took place, September 18 – October 25, Caron finished first in France, earning the title of French National Champion and a spot at the 2020 Games. It would later be revoked after CrossFit paired the field down to only 30 athletes. 
  • A letter stating a decision on November 28, 2020, informed Caron of the positive results and a ban from competing in events inside of France. Also, that her scores would have to be removed from the French Throwdown. Caron filed an appeal. 
  • The effective dates of her ban were October 21, 2019 to October 21, 2023. 

Why it matters: This is certainly a first of its kind in CrossFit, as far as we know, of an athlete wholesale winning their appeal. The documents did not provide any insight as to why the ruling was overturned so it’s impossible to glean any other information other than it was overturned and Caron was also owed damages. 

  • This decision stands in stark contrast to Larissa Cunha, who appealed a recent four-year ban instituted by CrossFit, and was able to reduce it to only two years after she proved she had taken a contaminated substance. 
  • The details of why Caron’s decision was overturned could be important. CrossFit on multiple occasions has stated a zero-tolerance policy regarding any banned substance found regardless of how it entered the body, but a situation where the vial was tampered with or other unknown circumstances could void the sample altogether. 
  • At this point, we only know that the French authorities, after reviewing the case, determined Caron did nothing wrong. 

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