The winner of last year's women's pro division at the Wyoming Open will be back to defend her title after all. We confirmed late last night that Natalie Newhart registered at the last minute and will be allowed to compete, despite her two year ban from CrossFit HQ for testing positive for the anabolic agent oxandrolone.
Ryan Seaberg, owner of CrossFit Frontier and the organizer of the Wyoming Open, tells us Newhart will be allowed to compete but will not be eligible for the prize money because of the ban.
(editor's note: Ryan also clarified this morning she will not be eligible to place on the leaderboard. "She just wants to compete again and doesn't care about placement or prizes.")
Regardless of the prize money at stake, this now pits two 2013 Games athletes head to head in the pro division. Tiffany Hendrickson and Newhart (then McClain) both made it to Carson in 2013...and finished neck and neck on the leaderboard.
Newhart was 30th and Hendrickson was 31st. In a head to head comparison, Newhart beat Hendrickson in five workouts, Hendrickson beat Newhart in four workouts, they tied once.
A lot can change in three years, and Newhart's strength numbers are vastly different now than they were in 2013, so it's hard to gauge where these two athletes stand now. Newhart apologized to her fans on social media shortly after the ban was announced and has not been posting any training photos or videos - so it's unclear what her regimen has looked like.
The response from the athletes competing this weekend has varied. While no athlete we spoke with wanted to be quoted or named in this article, a number were surprised by the decision to allow her to compete, regardless of the prize money not being up for grabs.
In the women's pro division, most of the athletes we spoke with said they liked Natalie and were fine with the decision and wished her luck on the comeback. However, one athlete was not happy and said any local competitions should honor CrossFit's ban and help keep the sport clean.
The Wyoming Open kicks off tomorrow morning at 9:00am at Okie Blanchard Stadium in Cheyenne, Wyoming.