May 13, 2015
Update Studio Special Report: Richard Bohlken

Richard Bohlken—16th-ranked man at the 2014 Games—has been suspended from the 2015 season after testing positive for a banned substance.

As Bohlken described in this interview, his positive test was due to unknowingly taking a contaminated workout supplement provided by his sponsor FitnEssentials. Despite the supplement company taking full responsibility, Bohlken’s season is finished.

This is not the first time supplements have been responsible for failed drug tests in the CrossFit Games. Multiple athletes have been disqualified since testing began, most notably in 2010, when CrossFit New England’s team finished in second place before having its medals revoked when two of its athletes tested positive for a banned substance that came from an over-the-counter supplement.

As the Games have evolved, so has CrossFit's drug-testing policy. Following the 2013 Games, CrossFit instituted year-round drug testing with blood and urine samples. Every individual athlete who competes at the CrossFit Games in Carson, California, has been tested and many of the top athletes are tested several times per year.

Athletes are advised to follow the TUE procedures outlined in the Drug-Testing Policy even if they take a drug for a valid medical reason. Legally prescribed medication can still result in a positive drug test.

In an investigation prompted by the International Olympic Committee in 2011, an analysis of 634 supplements worldwide found nearly 15 percent of these supplements to contain substances not listed on the product label, but which would have resulted in a positive drug test. In the United States, the percentage of supplements that were tainted with banned substances reached almost 19 percent. That means athletes should ask tough questions about the products they are taking. Ultimately, athletes are solely responsible for any substances they ingest.