On March 4, 2021, the reigning four-time Fittest Woman on Earth® Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and her husband and coach Shane Orr took to their YouTube channel to share their experience over the last three months regarding travel, training, and preparation for the 2021 CrossFit Season. The most notable takeaway is that it appears Toomey-Orr will compete in the 2021 CrossFit Open en route to potentially earn a fifth consecutive CrossFit Games title. However, this year may prove to have the biggest obstacles to overcome outside the gym.
For the 2021 season, the top 10 percent of competitors on each continent in the Open will advance to the online Quarterfinals. The top finishers from an athlete’s designated continent from the Quarterfinal will advance to the Semifinals. In Toomey-Orr’s case, it’s the top 30 athletes from Australia. The crux for the current champion is that the Semifinals are in-person competitions and athletes must compete in the corresponding Semifinal on their continent — Toomey-Orr would have to compete in the Torian Pro in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
That wouldn’t be a problem if Toomey-Orr were in Australia. However, since competing in her first bobsled events in South Korea, Toomey-Orr has returned to the United States and will compete in the Open from an Airbnb in Nashville, TN.
Check out the video below of Toomey-Orr explaining the circumstances and the travel and financial burden she and Orr might incur in order to compete:
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Logistics to Compete
Making the safe assumption that Toomey-Orr will qualify for the Semifinals event in Australia, the flight back to her home country from the USA is not an easy feat in a time of COVID-19. First off, the flights from the USA to Australia are limited, which means Toomey-Orr and Orr would likely have to take a “world-round trip” to enter Australia.
Once they land in Australia, they would have to quarantine for two weeks at a minimum cost of $4,000. Per Toomey-Orr, if they wanted to quarantine at their home in Australia, they would incur an exceptionally large fine of $250,000. That’s most of her prize winnings from the 2020 CrossFit Games, which was $300,000 (plus $42,000 in event win bonuses).
Orr went on to explain that a possible workaround for these difficult logistics would be to aim for entry to the Games via the Last-Chance qualifier. The issue there, however, is twofold. First, entry to the Last-Chance qualifier in Oceania — the continent recognized by CrossFit where Toomey-Orr is competing — is given to those who finished in fourth through sixth at the Semifinal event. In simpler terms, to enter the Last-Chance qualifier, one needs to have completed in-person at the corresponding Semifinal.
Assuming there is a way for Toomey-Orr to enter the Last-Chance qualifier within the new CrossFit standards, it would also present a challenging training schedule for the CrossFit Games. As Toomey-Orr mentioned in the video, the Last-Chance qualifier in question takes place in the first week of July, just two weeks before the start of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games. That means that should Toomey’s path to the Games be via the Last-Chance qualifier, she will only be left with a single week of dedicated prep for the Games.
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The Plan Ahead
Orr mentioned that CrossFit HQ is looking for a workaround to accommodate Toomey-Orr and others who are in a similar position in terms of travel difficulties caused by COVID-19. They suggested they are expecting there to be some changes announced that will help alleviate their issues with travel and financial costs, but for now, they are planning to travel back to Australia to meet the requisite standard CrossFit has set.
We will update this article when more information is made available from CrossFit HQ, but either way, get excited because it seems that the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth® plans to defend her crown.
Feature image: @tiaclair1 on Instagram