BREAKING: Jason Smith Tests Positive for PEDs; Overall Positive Drug Tests Down Dramatically for 2023 Season Thus Far
Early Friday morning, CrossFit announced via email that Jason Smith, the first-place finisher at the Africa Semifinal “provided a sample at the competition that contained exogenous 5a-androstane-3a,17b-diol (5aAdiol) and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol (5bAdiol).”
Smith is appealing this result, but is provisionally suspended pending the result of the appeal. The second-place finisher. Conrad Winnertz was offered, but decline an invitation to the Games due to an injury.
One big thing: Jason Smith is the first individual Games qualifier to be announced as having provided a positive drug test this Games season. This is a dramatic reduction from the 2022 season.
- This would’ve been Smith’s fourth appearance at the CrossFit Games and would’ve been the oldest individual competitor in the field.
The big picture: As athletes arrive in Madison ready to take the big stage at the CrossFit Games, CrossFit has continued to work behind the scenes to ensure that the athletes competing are clean.
In the past several months, we have seen multiple press announcements from CrossFit regarding both positive and negative drug tests. However, with the Games kicking off in just a few days, it seems as though the number of positive test results is nowhere near where it was in 2022.
Remind me: Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of positive drug tests during 2022.
- Before the Games even began, 14 athletes had been reported to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
- This included the chaos that ensued following the Brazillian CrossFit Semifinal Copa Sur, where the first, second, and fourth-place teams all had an athlete with a failed drug test.
- By the conclusion of the 2022 Games, 10 more athletes would test positive, bringing the grand total to 24 athletes receiving sanctions for positive drug tests.
- This tripled the number of positive drug tests during 2021, which was only eight.
Some details: With just a few days until the start of the CrossFit Games, we’ve only seen three athletes receive drug-based sanctions (Jason Smith is suspended temporarily pending his appeal). One of which was for failure to submit a drug sample.
- Trent Williams and Angelique Conoway both tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
- Williams, a member of CrossFit 10 Star Hybrids, the third-place finishing team at the African Semifinal received a four-year sanction starting May 21st of this year.
- However, his sanction will not impact the Games line-up, as only the first-place team received a Games invitation from the African Semifinals.
- Conoway, a member of the first-place team at African Semifinals, FBDV Mayhem Africa, received a four-year sanction and cost her team their ticket to the Games.
- Danijela Hodges, a masters athlete in the 50-54 division received a four-year sanction in March of this year after failing to submit a drug test.
- Recently, one more athlete has been notified of a positive drug test but has yet to receive sanctions.
- On July 21st CrossFit announced that Oihana Moya, who finished fourteenth at the European Semifinal, had tested positive. She is currently appealing this result and will not impact the Games roster whether or not she receives a sanction.
More testing results: Beyond the reduction of positive drug tests during the 2023 season, also comes a reduced number of athletes announced having tested clean.
- In the 2023 season, CrossFit has only announced eight athletes testing negative, two of whom have withdrawn from the 2023 season due to injury and personal reasons.
- While CrossFit still has time to continue testing and reporting on their athletes (negative tests were reported for the 2022 season as late as January 2023), this is still a reduction from 30 athletes reported to have tested negative during the 2022 season.
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Sanctions ending: While three more athletes were added to the ban list, a number of athletes will find themselves back in the field of play as their sanctions are lifted this year.
- Most notably perhaps, is the brother of 2022’s third fittest man, Ben Garard, who tested positive at the Down Under CrossFit Championship in May of 2019.
- Garard’s sanction was lifted in May of this year. So while he wasn’t able to participate in the 2023 season, he will be fully cleared for any out-of-season competitions, as well as next year’s Games season.
- Greek national champion and CrossFit Games athlete Anna Fragkou, who finished 10th in 2019 before testing positive and receiving a four-year sanction will also be eligible on August 2nd of this year.
- Lefteris Theofanidis, the 2019 Greek national champion, who tested positive in 2019 at the Dubai CrossFit Championship, will also be eligible to compete again starting on December 12th of this year.
The big picture: As we quickly approach the 2023 CrossFit Games. Many fans are left wondering whether or not we will see more drug sanctions come through before the 3..2..1..go. While the reason for the reduction in the number of positive drug tests is unknown, the reduction certainly looks better in the mainstream representation of the sport, as well as the representation to fans.
While last year’s record number of positive drug tests clouded the media with what seemed like a never ending cycle of positive test reports, this year’s reduction in positive drug tests and sanctions has allowed CrossFit media outlets to focus more on the athletes and drive the growth of the sport into mainstream outlets without the negative shadow of PEDs.