CrossFit Games

CrossFit Commit Okavango Calls CrossFit’s Drug Testing Protocols into Question on Back of Failed Drug Test at FICT

July 10, 2022 by and
Photo Credit: Instagram @lize_burns
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Lize Burns, a member of team CrossFit Commit Okavango that qualified for the CrossFit Games from the Fittest in Cape Town Semifinal, was notified on June 18 that the urine sample she provided tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, the Morning Chalk Up has confirmed. However Burns – who denies the sample belongs to her – has alleged several irregularities with CrossFit’s testing process including athletes being given beer and caffeinated drinks in the testing station during drug testing by CrossFit representatives. 

The details: While both the A and B samples returned positive for GW1516 sulfoxide, GW1516 Sulfone, metabolites of GW1516, the Doping Control Form (DCF) included with the sample lists her as “SA Male Athlete 3.” According to Burns, “I never signed for a form which referred to me as a male athlete and that I signed for the alias known as SA Female Athlete 2 as I was the second female athlete to be tested.” 

  • The Doping Control Form, which was supposed to be sent to Burns immediately after it was filled out, was sent to the wrong email address: [email protected] instead of [email protected]
  • CrossFit claims that the error was due to an autocorrect issue from using an iPad.
  • The DCF is important because it contains the sample number as proof that the athlete signed acknowledging that specific sample as his or her own. 
  • The Drug Control Officer responsible for reviewing all information is disputing Burns’ account. According to email traffic reviewed between CrossFit and Burns, CrossFit stated on behalf of the office, “you did complete all of the personal information on the Doping Control Form (DCF) for sample number (redacted). They asked you to verify the information was correct and watched as you signed the form and hit the submit button.”

One big thing: CrossFit, through its email correspondence with Burns, made two admissions: That the drug control officer “admitted that they made a clerical error by having you complete a form intended for a male athlete,” and “Drug Testing at the Fittest in Cape Town event was not indicative of how drug testing at CrossFit events is usually conducted.”

  • CrossFit declined to comment for this article. 

Going deeper: There were other glaring irregularities to the testing process, according to Burns and information provided to Morning Chalk Up. 

  • FICT only tested one team, CrossFit Commit Okavango, rather than all teams that received prize money. According to the Games season rulebook, a drug test is required to collect prize money or advance from Semifinals to the Games. 
  • Only one male and one female from each team are typically tested, according to one semifinal organizer. However, FICT tested all four athletes (both males and females), but did not test any other teams. 
  • Athletes were being given beer and caffeinated beverages while in the testing station. 
  • The second-place team from FICT, CrossFit Tijger Valley Unit, was eventually administered drug testing on July 3, 2022, according to an Instagram post from Celestie Du Toit, a member of the team.

The big picture: This is the latest in a series of alleged inconsistencies by CrossFit Games administration this season which has brought forth discussions of concern by the overall CrossFit community.

  • The admission by CrossFit of an inadequate execution of the drug testing procedures at one of their Semifinal events is not enough for Burns to avoid a drug sanction at this time. 
  • Okavango has stated they will not be at the Games this year, and it appears Tijger Valley is in line to take their place on the back of a three-week late drug test of their own for which the timeline of receiving results is unknown, but could easily be backing right up against the start of the Games given previous trends. 

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