The Youth Movement Takes Over London
One look at the women’s podium from Strength in Depth, and it’s clear that the future of women’s division is bright. Tia-Clair Toomey is undoubtedly the Queen and the throne is hers for the foreseeable future, but this past weekend in London gave us a glimpse into what’s in store for the next generation of female athletes at the CrossFit Games.
- How things played out: The top three spots all went to women 23-years-old or younger, giving the Strength in Depth podium a combined age of 63. To give you an idea of how significant that is, there are three women currently in the top 20 on the worldwide Open leaderboard in the women’s 60+ division that are at least 63 years old, highlighting the journey that still lies ahead for these young women.
First Place: Laura Horvath (23) walked away with the top spot, and in the process shook some of the demons that have haunted her over the past year.
- This weekend was the first time she finished a CrossFit event in its entirety since her podium run at the Games in 2018. After the first day she was unstoppable, winning four of the five events, reminiscent of the “force of nature” rookie that took Madison by storm and pushed Tia-Clair Toomey to the finish.
- Horvath is an athlete too talented not be on the competition floor at the Games on the final day, and Strength in Depth was a big step in the right direction.
Second Place: Gabriela Migala (21) continued her ascent into the elite ranks with an impressive podium in London.
- Migala led early on in the competition, and was the only other athlete besides Horvath to win an event after day one — including tying Horvath in an exciting sprint to the finish on event 4 “Creeping Death.”
- Since an unceremonious exit after First Cut at the Games last year, Migala has qualified again as Poland’s national champion and finished an impressive 4th place at a stacked Dubai CrossFit Championship where she never finished a single event lower than 8th.
- Her season so far is eerily similar to that of Horvath’s breakout year, where at the same age she performed well in Dubai and podiumed at Regionals before finishing 2nd at the Games.
Third Place: Haley Adams (19) added another accolade to her pre-20’s CrossFit career by notching her second career podium as an individual.
- Despite starting college this past fall, Adams has shown no signs of slowing down and flexed some improved strength and power output in the process.
- At the Games last year, Adams couldn’t lift the 215 pound barbell that started off the max clean ladder and struggled enough with the 195 pound tiebreaker barbell that finished last in the event. On Saturday, the 204 pound final barbell for the Clean Bandit event was an afterthought, and Adams power cleaned both reps without issue.
- Improvement at the Games this year will be tough, but Adam’s finish at Strength in Depth solidified her place as an athlete that should be in the top-10 conversation going forward.
Not to be overlooked: Sixteen-year-old Paige Powers also competed at Strength in Depth, finishing 14th overall — ahead of more than a dozen other women.
- Powers also competed earlier this month at the Mayhem Classic, where she finished 18th and has had impressive showings in back-to-back Sanctionals. She’s planning on competing at future events, including the Age Group Online Qualifier, and is worth keeping an eye on.
Historically speaking, the women’s Strength in Depth podium was the youngest in the sport since the 2012 Europe Regional women’s podium. The top three spots were occupied by Annie Thorisdottir, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Thuri Helgadottir who have set a strong precedent for performance at a young age.
- The three Icelandic “Dottirs,” have tallied 4 championships, 8 podiums, and 22 individual Games appearances among them, as they’ve transitioned from young phenoms to verified stars of the sport.
Good company to keep for these young women.