Mat Fraser and Tia-Clair Toomey just made history by becoming the most decorated individual athletes in the history of the CrossFit Games.
But before they crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, in what is sure to become one of the most iconic images in CrossFit, they spent the previous three days showing the world that while they were each competing for individual titles, they were very much a team.
By the time Day 1 of the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games Finals rolled around, the duo had been training together for the 2020 Games season for over a year.
As Fraser puts it, “We train together every day, we have a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll hold each other accountable.”
While we’ve seen Fraser and Toomey move in unison during training sessions, what became obvious early on in the Finals weekend is that their shared strengths and weaknesses also meant shared strategies for many of the Events.
Event 1 – 2007 Reload
Both Toomey and Fraser took the full effort rule to heart, pushing to go unbroken on the shoulder-to-overhead portion of Event 1. And it looked like they were going to make it until each forced a rare personal error on the final rep of their final round of the Event.
Event 6 – Toes-to-Bar / Lunge
This event came down to the transitions, and both Toomey and Fraser dropped their kettlebells in the middle of the rig, rather than walking them to the starting line of the next set of lunges, like the majority of the field.
Event 9 – Happy Star
Fraser and Toomey both advanced their barbell on their back, while the rest of the field moved theirs forward on the front rack position.
Event 10 – Swim n Stuff
It turns out slam balls are slippery when wet. After a slip-up on the first interval, Fraser went touch-and-go on his ball slams — never letting go of the ball — a strategy Toomey (and the rest of the women’s field) also followed.
Event 12 – Atalanta
Now the pièce de résistance, at least for me, was watching Fraser and Toomey “keep each other company” through one of most grueling workouts in Games history: Atalanta. With all 10 athletes competing together, the two champions completed the Event side-by-side in lanes 5 and 6, their white leader jerseys, red bottoms, and matching hats making them look even more like a team.
They moved methodically, keeping pace with each other, a nearly 52 min victory lap for two history-making athletes.
As they approached the final climb of the second 1-mile run, I knew what was coming. This was the 1966 Le Mans photo finish without any of the treachery, a moment for the history books, crossing the finish line as a team, the two most dominant athletes CrossFit has ever seen.
The only thing that could have possibly made that finish any better would’ve been having Fraser and Toomey mic’d up NFL-style.
Featured image: @flsportsguy / @crossfitgames on Instagram