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Around the World in 80 Days: Ricky Garard Makes Up Lost Competition Time in the 2023 Off-Season

December 4, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Ava Kitzi
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Ricky Garard didn’t have the 2023 season he had hoped for after an unfortunate injury took him out of the running for the NOBULL CrossFit Games. However, as the year comes to a close and major off-season competitions ramp up, Garard’s put his name on the roster of almost every one of them. 

His coach, Justin Cotler, weighs in on his journey back to the competition floor and what’s in store for the 2024 season. Garard just competed on team “A Coupla Dawgs” at the Down Under Championship (and took second place) and is slated to appear at the Dubai Fitness Championships and 2024 TYR Wodapalooza. He also competed at the 2023 Rogue Invitational and placed 5th overall.

For those keeping track, that’s four major, international competitions on three different continents in 80 days (October 26, 2023, to January 14, 2024).  

Remind me: The Australian athlete has been recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained during a mountain biking accident earlier this year. The injury required surgery and it has been a long road to getting back to 100 percent

Garard, 29, has had somewhat of a dark cloud over his head after facing a four-year suspension due to a drug testing violation during his rookie year at the 2017 CrossFit Games. He came back to the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games fired up and ready to fight, finishing in third. Most would assume he’d return for another podium spot in 2023, but the shoulder injury derailed him again. 

  • Cotler said he spoke to Garard recently, who told him “I feel like I’m at my best when I’m having the most fun and I have the most fun when I’m competing.” 
  • Cotler: “I think that’s the most important thing right now for him coming off the injury and losing the Games. I think right now he’s looking to try to have fun.” 
  • “To be honest with you, if it was anybody else I would probably be considerably more stubborn about pushing back and he knows my feelings on it,” Cotler continued. 
  • “It’s hard for me to push back too much because at the end of the day, he’s missed so many competitions and he’s missed so much time and you don’t get back these years and I understand him wanting to compete as much as he does,” he concluded. 

Cotler, the founder and co-owner of Underdogs Athletics, adds that Garard is much more than an athlete to him, he’s a part of the family. He understands the setbacks physically and mentally that Garard has faced and “the best way for him to deal with that is to get back up out on the competition floor.”  

  • The Down Under Championship was held in Australia from December 1 through December 3. Garard competed on a team at the event alongside Joel Molinia and Johan Roberts. 
  • Dubai Fitness Championships will start soon after on December 8. TYR Wodapalooza will begin on January 11. 

When asked about his approach to this offseason, Garard said, “I love to compete and why not compete as often as you can when you are in your prime.” 

One last thing: Looking ahead to the 2024 Games season, Cotler said he expects Garard to have a great season and “that he’ll be in the mix at all these events all the way leading up to the Games.” 

“He’s one of those guys who seems best for the high-pressure moments. Some people fold under pressure and some people rise up and Ricky’s just one of those guys who tends to rise under pressure.”

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