Mal O’Brien, Gabriela Migala Stay Humble about 2022 Games Expectations Against Tia-Clair Toomey
After winning the 2022 CrossFit Open, beating five-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey in the process, and more recently topping the North American quarterfinals leaderboard, 18-year-old Mal O’Brien insisted at CrossFit’s post quarterfinals press conference Thursday she isn’t focused on dethroning Toomey this summer.
- “The Open and Quarterfinals are very different than the Games, I’d say, but I’m going to do my best to beat myself last year, so that’s my goal,” said O’Brien, who has been training under five-time Games champion Mat Fraser this season.
European quarterfinals winner Gabriela Migala—sixth at last summer’s Games and more recently placed third at both the 2021 Dubai CrossFit Championships and the 2021 Rogue Invitational—is equally as humble about her expectations of this season.
- “I’m just going to focus on beating myself from last year and doing the best that I can, and I think that is going to be a win for me,” Migala said, adding that she’s just happy this season’s online qualification process is over.
- “I’m very happy that we don’t have to record another six or seven workouts online and we get to go against each other on the competition floor,” she said.
One big thing: While neither Migala nor O’Brien were prepared to say they’re thinking about the podium this summer, South American quarterfinals winner Guilherme Malheiros, seventh at last summer’s Games, was bold in his desire to take it all in Madison, WI.
Though a lofty goal, to say the least, Malheiros made the move to Cookeville, TN this season and has been training under the Mayhem Athlete banner alongside some of the top athletes in the world, arguably providing the perfect environment for rapid improvement for the 22-year-old Brazilian.
- “My training (has been) focusing on getting fast and getting fit in CrossFit in general. When I first got here, I was like, ‘I’m good at CrossFit,’ but I wasn’t,” Malheiros said. And training with “my amazing crew and getting pushed everyday” has led him to make great strides in recent months, he explained.
“My goal for this season is to win the CrossFit Games. And that’s it. Always the goal.”