Australia’s Ricky Garard is currently in first place at the 2022 Crossfit Games – the tournament that marks his return to the top of the sport following a drug ban.
Garard was handed a suspension and stripped of his third-place finish at the 2017 Crossfit Games after testing positive for banned substances.
The then 23-year-old returned a positive test for both Testolone and Endurabol, forcing him out of the sport for four years.
Garard, who is now eligible to compete again, made the most of his return on the first two days of competition at Crossfit’s flagship event.
The Wollongong product finished first in the opening workout, the “Bike to Work,” before taking third, fifth, and seventh places in the next three workouts.
Garard’s story, as well as some viewer confusion, meant the Aussie wasn’t the most popular athlete in Madison, Wisconsin.
Some fans thought Garard missed a lap on the bike, but replays confirmed he won fairly and honestly.
How did Ricky Garard beat Jonne Koski? Video evidence from the live broadcast shows him catching up. pic.twitter.com/foEzxrQgPQ
— Morning Chalk Up (@MorningChalkUp) August 3, 2022
— Anders B (@annors) August 3, 2022
Speaking to reporters after the second day, Garard said he expected worse reception from the crowd.
“The fans out there have been amazing, a lot more than I thought, to be honest it’s amazing and I’m really having a great time out there and there’s five years of energy coming out of every event,” said Garard.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time and it’s finally nice to be able to do a workout that really means something, not just in the gym.”
Garard is currently well ahead of Justin Medeiros (398) and Roman Khrennikov (386) with 461 points overall.
In the women’s, fellow Australian and five-time champion Tia-Clair Toomey is third, 16 points behind leader Mallory O’Brien.