Tia-Clair Toomey sitting pretty at CrossFit Games after day one
In the final event of the day at the CrossFit Games 2020, a gruelling 5km trail race tested the athletes as they competed against each other for the first time.
The five women and five men were then thrown another surprise by CrossFit Games director Dave Castro – run the course in reverse, which meant it was actually a 10km challenge.
In the women’s competition, defending champion Tia-Clair Toomey charged out to lead and stayed with the men for a substantial part of the race. Toomey passed Samuel Kwant after about 11 minutes. Haley Adams slowly made up ground on Toomey and then pulled even around the 24-minute mark, and then led. However, Toomey quickly retook the lead.
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At around 30 minutes, both Adams and Katrin Davidsdottir overtook Toomey. They swapped the lead before Davidsdottir ended up winning in just over an hour, with Adams in second, Toomey in third and Kari Pearce in fourth. Brooke Wells took a wrong turn early in the race and ended up fifth.
Davidsdottir said she actually relished the twist from Castro, saying: “Literally, the thing that went through my mind was, ‘Yes’.”
Overall, Toomey is leading with 370 points, ahead of Adams (295), Davidsdottir (260), Pearce (255) and Wells (220) heading into day two.
Wells showed her prowess in the handstand walk, taking the 100-yard sprint event in convincing fashion, holding off Pearce, who was a competitive gymnast as a youngster.
Wells flew out to a big lead right away and never looked back, but Pearce and Adams stayed strong right behind her. Toomey, who leads after three event wins out of four, showed potentially one of her Achilles heels as she finished fourth and lost some of the lead she had built up over the morning. Davidsdottir did not finish within the allotted time.
Wells said the idea was to try to go as long as she could unbroken, but also to time her breaks when she came down from her hands.
“That one was a lot about staying in your own lane and focusing on what you can do,” said Wells. “And taking methodical breaks.”
Wells said with just five competitors, every event counts as the standings can change in a blink of an eye.
“The difference between first and second is so big, so it makes a huge difference if you get first or second and that motivates you a lot to get those 25 points and that really helps me after not a strong morning.”
The overall leaderboard after event four Toomey, Davidsdottir, Adams, Pearce and Wells.
Toomey opened with 250lb on the back squat during the CrossFit Total and never looked back in cruising to her third victory in three events.
The one-rep max event gave competitors three tries on three different types of lifts: squat, the shoulder press and deadlift. The winner was the one with the highest combined weight.
Wells finished second. Toomey’s topped back squat was 335lb, her best shoulder press was 140lb and her deadlift was 415lbs. Her total weight lifted overall was 890lb.
Toomey, who won weightlifting gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, dominated the event outright, holding off a strong challenge from Wells, who is also known for heavy lifting. Wells said she was sitting on her weights and not facing her competitors for most of the event. Wells ended up with 884lb in total.
“Yeah, I don’t like to look at the other girls. I didn’t want to see them fail, but I did want to see what they were lifting,” she said.
Wells is seen as the only female challenger who can potentially match Toomey in weightlifting, and the two have squared off previously at the Games.
“That’s all I was thinking about, I was just watching Tia putting on all the weight,” she said. “She killed it.”
Overall, Toomey sits top, followed by Davidsdottir, Adams, Pearce and Wells.
Once again, Toomey followed her training partner, Mat Fraser, in winning the second event. Toomey took an early lead in the 320m hill sprint with a corn sack, which is 30lb for the women and 50lb for the men.
In second was Davidsdottir, then Adams, Pearce and Wells. Davidsdottir said she watched the men, looking for tips on strategy.
“I watched the guys and Mat was not out to a fast start. At the first level everyone was there and then after that was when it mattered,” said Davidsdottir. “You can kind of mentally brace yourself when it’s going to happen.
“I like these kind of events where it’s kind of do you want to keep going or not?”
Toomey dominated the first event and won with ease.
Although 19-year-old Adams was the first off the 1,500 metre row, Toomey quickly took the lead during the five rounds of 10-bar muscle-ups and seven shoulder-to-overheads.
The three-time champion held off Adams, who came second, and previous winner Davidsdottir, who finished fourth after a late surge.
Toomey finished with a time of 12:47.98, followed by Adams in 13:17.79. Toomey, just like men’s winner Mat Fraser, had an odd no rep fail in the final round of shoulder-to-overheads.
“It’s a great thing to have a win under your belt but it’s just the first workout and we have a lot more to go. This is just the beginning,” said Toomey.
She had a brief conversation with Fraser before the event and said his advice was pretty simple. “He just told me to crush it.”
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Toomey said the lack of crowd and silence isn’t something that bothers her.
“I’m just so focused in what I have to do. I really don’t get affected by what is going on around me.”