CrossFit Games

Tia’s Open Win Adds Missing Piece to Her Legacy

April 9, 2021 by
Credit: Women’s Health Magazine/James Mcgraghan
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Let’s be honest, no one is making the argument against Tia-Clair Toomey as being the fittest competitive female CrossFit athlete ever seen. At this point she’s the four-time reigning Fittest Woman on Earth, she has a perfect Sanctional record (five for five) at the most prestigious events (Wodapalooza twice, Rogue twice, and Mayhem), she’s the reigning Pacific Regional champion from 2018, and she’s been the fittest in Australia each of the last two years in the Open… but coming into this year she had never won the Open. 

Open championship pedigree: Although Toomey is unanimously considered the fittest female of all time, there are other notable female CrossFit Games champions who have very impressive resumes, including Open wins. The last American women’s champion, Kristan Clever, won the Open in 2012. The first two-time female Games champion, Annie Thorisdottir, is also a two-time Open Champion having won the inaugural Open in 2011, and backing that up with a second win in the 2015 Open. 

Toomey however, is approaching a realm of dominance that will eventually force a conversation about not only if she’s the fittest female of all time, but if she’s the fittest CrossFit athlete of all time. If and when this conversation comes up, her career accolades will be measured against the two greatest men in the sport, Rich Froning and Mat Fraser. 

Froning won the Open three consecutive years from 2012 to 2014, while Fraser has the all time record for either gender with four career Open wins (2015, and then 2017 through 2019). In most years, the Open is not viewed as a critical part of the season by the top athletes, however, when comparing career achievements, the lack of an Open win would be a glaring omission on her resume; that is finally, now, no longer the case for Toomey. 

The big picture: Different athletes approach the Open from a variety of different perspectives. For some, like Dan Bailey in 2011 or Noah Ohlsen in 2016, winning the competition was a goal that they had set and then made every effort to execute on and achieve. In other cases, like Fraser in 2017, Open wins have been called “accidental.” But, regardless of how it’s done, winning the worldwide Open puts you in rare company. Only six men and seven women have ever won an Open (Fraser (4), Froning (3), Bailey, Ohlsen, Patrick Vellner, and Jeffrey Adler for the men; and Sara Sigmundsdóttir (3), Thorisdottir (2), Samatha Briggs (2), Clever, Jamie Greene, Cassidy-Lance McWherter, and now Toomey for the women). 

The bottom line: Winning the Open this season is already a great thing for Toomey’s career and legacy, but ultimately, if she’s not able to continue the streak of dominance she’s been on and win her fifth consecutive title this season, this win will likely mean very little to her and may even be overlooked historically. On the other hand, if she’s able to go on and win the Games in the same year she wins the Open, then she’ll add her name to an even more exclusive list. The only four athletes who have won the Games in the same year they’ve won the Open are Thorisdottir (2011), Froning (2012-2014), Briggs (2013), and Fraser (2017-2019). If Toomey is able to add her name to that  prestigious group, it will be yet another significant accomplishment to add to her already incredibly impressive career.

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