CrossFit Games

Larissa Cunha Calls on CrossFit to Revisit Drug Sanction Decision

October 25, 2021 by
Photo Credit: Joyce Silva (instagram.com/joy_image)
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In a six post series on Instagram, CrossFit athlete Larissa Cunha calls on CrossFit to revisit their two-year ban decision, calling it unfair. 

  • “I do not think that the situation I find myself in is fair and I do hope that CrossFit are willing to revisit their decision,” Cunha wrote.

What she’s saying: Although Cunha said she was happy she could prove her innocence, it was apparent that she was not happy with CrossFit’s ultimate decision. As a response, she laid out the months-long journey of uncertainty she endured that all began while quarantining in Mexico before heading to the U.S. ahead of the CrossFit Games.

  • Cunha says she takes some of the most common supplements like Beta-Alanine and and collagen, the two supplements that ended up having traces of Ostarine in them.
  • “I have been using the same supplements from the same two companies for a long time…they are all regulated by ANVISA which is the Brazilian Food and Drug Administration” Cunha continued.

After Cunha had her B sample tested and it also proved positive for the banned substance, she began investigating how that could have happened. This led her to discover other Brazilian athletes, even a Tokyo Olympian, telling similar stories specifically testing positive for traces of the same drug, ostarine, while claiming they did not knowingly ingest the substance.

While Cunha also mentions having a limited amount of ostarine found in her samples, CrossFit has openly stated the amount found in the athlete is not taken into account. This is to prevent athletes from learning how to “cheat the system” and taper on and off of banned substances around the competition season.

She does however, bring up the argument that since the amount found in her system was so low, it could not have had performance enhancing effects, and therefore, she had no intention to cheat.

  • As a result, CrossFit did lower her sentence from a four year ban to two after Cunha appealed and was able to prove her supplements were contaminated unknowingly.
  • “Even so, I still wholeheartedly believe that the punishment is way too hard,” continued Cunha.
  • She does admit, there was always a chance of testing positive for a banned substance by not having supplements with a Drug Free Sports label.

To strengthen her argument, Cunha brings up other professional sports and how they handle similar scenarios, specifically, the UFC. In 2018, Marvin Vettori tested positive for traces of Ostarine. Due to the limited amount, USADA concluded his supplement was contaminated and as a result, he was only suspended from the UFC for six months.

  • Cunha argues that since CrossFit is a privately owned company, drug testing protocals should be treated on a case by case basis, similar to UFC.
  • Her solution is that CrossFit should look at whether the athlete intentionally took a banned substance as a way to cheat, or, if like in her case, her supplements were contaiminted and the amount would have not affected her performance.

While a further reduction in her sentence may be too late, Cunha wants to bring awareness to other CrossFit athletes. She emphasized that there is always a risk of ingesting a banned substance if the products aren’t certified and — some brands have some of their products certified while others are not.

As for CrossFit as an organization, Cunha is going to continue to fight her sanction in hopes that change will come not just for her, but for the future of the sport.

  • “I do believe in Eric Roza and the new regime at the company. I have been impressed with how values such as inclusivity, equality and diversity have been implemented in a successful way in the direction that the brand has taken. Therefore I challenge CrossFit to add fairness as one of its core values as well,” said Cunha.

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