CrossFit Athletes Currently Banned from Official Competition Competed in Non-Licensed Events

October 10, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Alanna Fisk Colon
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As CrossFit athletes look for more earning opportunities in off-season competitions, two athletes — Janelle Stites and Alanna Fisk Colon — who are currently serving multi-year drug bans from competing in CrossFit, were allowed to compete in two off-season, non-licensed competitions hosted a couple of weeks back. One athlete walked away cashing out with $4000 after taking the top spot. 

The details: Janelle Stites recently competed at the 2021 Heart of America Team Competition and Alanna Fisk Colon competed as an individual at the Pensacola Beach Brawl.

  • This past summer, Janelle Stites, a member of On Track’s fifth place team that qualified for the Games through the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge, was disqualified due to a USADA ban in weightlifting from 2019 that remains in effect until January 21, 2023.
  • In the winter of 2020, Alanna Fisk Colon tested positive for a banned substance after competing at the 2020 Wodapalooza CrossFit Festival.

One big thing: While both athletes are ineligible to compete in any official CrossFit event, including the Open or a licensed event, neither of these competitions is an official CrossFit event so they were not in violation. As an independent event, allowing a banned athlete to compete is entirely up to the event organizer. 

The controversy: Allowing a banned athlete to compete definitely raised some eyebrows, but in the instance of Colon, she actually won and took home $4000 for first place, which is actually considerably more than several CrossFit Games athletes earned this season. 

What they’re saying: Pensacola Beach Brawl president, Brian Brand said, the event was not aware that Colon was serving a ban until someone sent them a message on the final day of the competition.

  • “It was a very difficult thing to deal with at the time. We didn’t want to go the route of public shaming, so what do we do? What is our guidance? I wish we got the information a lot sooner, if we had gotten it a day prior it might have changed the outcome,” said Brand.
  • While Brand admits there isn’t currently a policy in place to conduct background tests or look into athletes who may be serving a ban, it’s something they intend to do in the future.
  • “It’s something that because of the event that took place we are strongly looking into a policy moving forward that our athletes would agree to, to uphold those traditional values regarding banned substances that CrossFit has,” said Brand.
  • “If you’re serving a ban from CrossFit we fully intend to enforce it if we have the most current information,” Brand stated.

While we didn’t receive a response from Heart of America, Janelle Stites claims that she did reach out to them prior and gave her the green light to compete.

  • Stites: “I contacted the head organizer for Heart of America and asked if it was okay and was very clear on what had happened. They kindly let me compete which I was greatly appreciative of…Really my goal of competing was to just be apart of the community. We didn’t win anything.”

As for Colon, she took to Instagram after testing positive in 2020 stating that she unknowingly took the banned substance and was testing all of her supplements to further investigate. This is something, in general, we’re finding is more prevalent, specifically finding traces of ostarine in substances without having the ingredient on the label. Although Colon was granted an extension for her positive drug test, it’s unclear what the final outcome was.

After competing just last month, she wrote on her social media standing by her plea of unknowingly testing positive in 2020.

  • “The hardest part of this weekend was showing up to an event where no one could possibly understand the dynamic of what is actually happening in my life because they don’t know me, and the fight they are fighting against drug use is completely right in action,” said Colon.

The bottom line: Should athletes who test positive for a banned substance be allowed to participate in non-licensed CrossFit events? Ultimately it’s up to each individual event but some may argue that if organizers allow athletes who tested positive for a banned substance to compete, they’re potentially taking away an earning opportunity from an athlete who is clean.

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