Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr ponders her path to her sixth CrossFit title

Fans watching the 2022 CrossFIT games saw a very familiar sight at the end - Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr stood on the podium with a smile as the fittest woman alive. It would be her sixth straight title, making her the most successful individual athlete in the history of the sport. Mat Fraser won five straight years before retiring in 2020.

This year's games were very different as she actually struggled early in the competition and added a bit of drama to the week for the champion.

"I definitely made some mistakes on Day 1 and they were pretty costly," she explained. "You can't make mistakes at the World Cup."

While no one wants to make a mistake at the top competition in their sport, Toomey Orr saw the positives in what she says has helped her recover well and continue her winning streak.

“I think it was a good kick in the butt. I just thought, 'Okay, I'm going to have to fight a little bit harder than I originally wanted to,' I was up for this challenge."

Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr has put retirement on hold

Toomey-Orr fans will be happy to see their champion back on top as there have been many rumors that she would retire after the 2021 games. If they knew everything about their journey to this historic moment, they might be even more impressed.

Following her 2021 win, Toomey-Orr began training in the sport of bobsleigh, working with a team in her native Australia hoping to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Although her team qualified for the Games, a different group of athletes were chosen to actually compete in Beijing, China.

"It was really tough and to be honest the bobsled experience is still a touchy subject," she said. "I was quite angry because the result wasn't what we wanted and the way it turned out politically was extremely unfair."

A higher ranked driver was selected ahead of Toomey. Australia failed to win a medal at the Olympics, but Toomey Orr had to shift her focus with the CrossFit Games less than six months away and no athlete had ever accomplished what she set out to do - win six straight titles.

"I had to use that as fuel, take that anger and disappointment and use it to turn it into something positive," she shared. "Everyone goes through something like that in life, whether it's competition or anything else."

A team effort

Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr thanks the Proven Fitness team around her, including her husband and trainer Shane Orr, for helping her prepare for the trip to Madison, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, some things that happen are just out of their control. Two weeks before the games started, Toomey Orr suffered a back injury. body outside of their inner circle knew that because they didn't want their competitors to know about it. At the time, there were serious concerns about how this would affect their performance.

"It got to the point where I didn't know if I could compete or not," she admitted. “In some places it was really a matter of instinct. I couldn't help but think, 'Wow, 2022 really isn't my year.'"

Toomey never revealed exactly what the exact injury was, but it was serious. After debating whether or not to compete, she decided that nothing would stop her from achieving that goal. Coach Orr and the team around her chose to treat the injury as best and as often as possible while limiting her practice time. That meant a lot of heat and a lot of rest.

"Once the games started it was really just about making sure I could move my body and compete because in the beginning I couldn't even get out of bed. It was incredibly excruciating just bending over to tie my shoes.”

Calmness made all the difference for Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr

As difficult as it may have been not to grab a barbell or work on techniques for the competition, Toomey Orr says rest is best because it wasn't the first time she's been in this situation.

"In 2014 I had a broken back," she said. "It wasn't the same area, but there were many of the same symptoms."

t only did she get her feet wet at the Games that year, she also trained in Olympic weightlifting and was preparing for attempts to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Toomey Orr had been training with the injury for over a year and just endured the pain. She qualified for the Olympics but finished 14th. The takeaway was that it may have helped her heal from the injury at the time.

Well, the 29-year-old has been competing in CrossFit for 10 years and pays attention to the messages her body is giving her. More importantly, she listens and hopes other athletes training for performance will follow the same guidelines.

"I commend my body for surviving the last few years of training the best," Toomey Orr said. "It has to be about managing it, managing it and doing the necessary recovery protocols like treatment."

One tool that Toomey Orr credited with helping her recover and maximize her performance is her Oura ring, a ring that lets you track sleep, activity, and readiness. She has been using hers since 2017 and it is as much a part of her program as the training.

“You can go into the app and see the differences between today and yesterday and so on. We originally used it to track sleep but they have evolved and added so many add-ons that have been really helpful.”

Winning has a beautiful ring to it

The overall strategy, including using the Oura Ring, has clearly paid off as Toomey Orr is now literally one of one in her sport. man or woman has achieved what she has. Because of this performance, many fans had already resumed speculation about their future. She confirmed her next event will indeed be a team competition, the 2022 Down Under Championship in Wollongong, Australia.

“Originally I just wanted to perform there, but they explained that there was a team class with three women. I thought, 'What if Brooke (Wells) and I got together?' Then I thought about Ellie[Turner]and it just kind of steamrolled from there,” she recalls. Seeing three top athletes work as teammates will be a big event for viewers. Toomey Orr is looking forward to it too.

“I'm excited because that's where it started for me. When I started CrossFIT in Australia, I was part of a gym team and it was a big deal at our gym. It was so funny. I look forward to it."

She has yet to address her future beyond this competition, but her legacy is well invested. While Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr is proud to still be at the forefront of the CrossFit world, she appreciates her role as a fitness ambassador even more.

"It's really humbling and a great honor. I only realize it when I'm at events or maybe walking down the street somewhere and I get recognized. It reminds me that I am actually touching people's lives and making a positive difference.”

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