For years, fans, athletes, and critics alike have wondered aloud if top CrossFitters would ever catch up to the ranks of world-class weightlifters. Now, a reigning CrossFit Games runner-up has qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Tia-Clair Toomey, who finished second as a rookie at the 2015 CrossFit Games, has officially been named one of two athletes to represent Australia in weightlifting in Rio (she will be Australia’s only female at the Rio Olympics; their other representative in weightlifting is 33 year-old Simplice Ribouem).
The 23 year old Toomey competes as a 58 kilogram weightlifter and finished third at the 2016 Oceana Championships, snatching 85kg and clean & jerking 109kg for a 194kg total.
And to answer the question on everyone’s mind, Toomey has stated she intends to compete at both the 2016 CrossFit Games (which run from July 19-24) and Rio Olympics (where weightlifting runs from August 6-16).
That means Toomey will have just two weeks to rest and recuperate from one of the most grueling multi-day athletic tests around before the biggest international weightlifting competition in the world — and her first appearance at the Olympic Games.
It’s unlikely Toomey has a legitimate chance to medal at the Olympics, as her top international totals are over 50 kilograms below the winning total from the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships. At that competition, Azerbaijan’s Boyanka Kostova set a World Record with a 252kg total; Toomey finished 27th with 187kg.
However, she’s certainly a threat at the CrossFit Games and heads to Carson having finished second in the Pacific behind Regional powerhouse Kara Webb.
The debate will likely continue regarding whether CrossFit athletes can ever reach competitive, medal-level totals in international weightlifting. But at the very least, Tia-Clair Toomey’s achievement ranks among the most impressive cross-discipline performances we’ve seen in modern strength sport.