For six consecutive years, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr wasn’t just the reigning “Fittest Woman on Earth,” she also exemplified everything that title ought to mean. Beyond her physical gifts, the 30 year-old Australian has shown all the competitive fire, gym-rat discipline, and respectful humility that one could ask of a champion athlete; particularly one with a small army of ambitious young women now following her example.
Along with her 6 straight CrossFit Games titles, Toomey stood atop the podium in every major live competition in which she competed from 2017 to 2022, including the first three Rogue Invitationals. Both streaks may well have continued if not for a happy respite in the 2023 season, as Tia and her husband Shane Orr welcomed their first child, baby Willow, on May 9.
It seems a lifetime ago now, but it’s worth remembering that Tia Toomey’s road to becoming the greatest women’s CrossFitter of all-time actually began with a pair of heartbreaking, runner-up finishes at both the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games. While a bit demoralizing at the time, those performances left little doubt that her time would soon come, as few athletes in the sport, male or female, showcased such a complete skill-set and tenacious work ethic at such a young age.
In appropriate fashion, it took some of that relentless effort and a nail-biting finish (994 points to 992 over Kara Webb) to finally win Toomey her first Games title in 2017. From there, though, future title defenses became increasingly dominant: a 64 point margin in 2018 (over Laura Horvath), 195 points in 2019 (over Kristin Holte), 360 points in 2020 (over Katrin Davidsdottir), and 256 points in 2021 (over Horvath). At the 2022 CrossFit Games, Tia faced the additional challenges of an expanded schedule and a younger, dangerous field of competitors, led by teenagers Emma Lawson and Mallory O’Brien. Even so, Toomey’s combination of power, speed, and experience helped her finish in the Top 5 in 11 of the week’s workouts, resulting in a winning edge of 1158 points to O’Brien’s 1045. She remains CrossFit’s first and only 6x individual Games champion.
Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr has been inspiring athletes for a long time now (she also represented Australia as a weightlifter at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland), but while many will continue to challenge her and follow in her path, we may never see another run of consistent dominance quite like her’s again.