The Pandemic Helped My Fitness, Games Finalists Say

October 22, 2020 by
Photo courtesy of CrossFit LLC.

In case three-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey wasn’t already fit enough, the COVID-19 pandemic helped her get “so much fitter and so much stronger,”she said in an athlete press conference for the 2020 CrossFit Games this morning.

  • “It actually eliminated a lot of distractions,” she said. This helped her hone in on areas that needed extra attention. “I’m really excited to showcase that (this weekend,)” she added.

What the others say: Second-year Games athlete Haley Adams, who at 19 is the youngest competitor in the field, had a similar pandemic experience. Leaving university and moving back to Cookeville, TN., it ended up being “the best thing,” she said, because it allowed her to be 100 percent focused on her training and improve her biggest weakness: her strength. “I’m the strongest and fittest I have ever been,” she said.

  • Men’s finalist Sam Kwant, too, said his fitness benefited from the lockdown. He and his wife had a baby in recent months. She’s a teacher and is now working online, which has allowed Kwant to train normally through the pandemic and “get all my sleep in, which has definitely been a blessing for me,” he said.
  • And for rookie Games athlete Justin Medeiros, although he said he would never wish for something like a pandemic to hit the world, it allowed him to spend more time with his family, and gave him more time to train and “focus on the things I wanted to do,” he said. “There’s light in every situation,” he added.

One big thing: For finalists Brooke Wells and Kari Pearce, the pandemic allowed them to recognize why they do their sport.

  • Wells admitted she used to take going to the gym for granted, and when COVID hit, “I realized how much I enjoyed going,” she said. During the lockdown, Wells got a lot of enjoyment from hopping on Zoom workouts, and said she became a lot closer with many people in her CrossFit community.  
  • When various competitions got postponed and eventually cancelled, Pearce said she temporarily “lost a little motivation,” “but then I realized I do it because I love training,” she said. The pandemic also led Pearce to leave New York and move to Las Vegas, which she said is a much better environment for her. “It was kind of cool, almost resetting my life,” she said.

The bottom line: Though the podium might be the goal, the finalists competing this weekend say they’re just happy to have the chance to compete.

  • “It’s really cool that we actually get an opportunity to compete because so many other sports were cancelled,” said Pearce, calling this weekend a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
  • “This is so special,” added eight-time Games athlete Katrin Davidsdottir. “We get to be a part of this…I feel really really lucky.”
  • Toomey, too, said she feels “honored and privileged” just to get to experience the Games this year, and is grateful for CrossFit for going “above and beyond” and turning this situation into  “a huge positive.”

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