Brutal. Tougher than a walnut that broke a hammer.
Twenty-four-year-old CrossFit athlete Tia-Clair Toomey is the fittest woman on earth. The jockey-sized 158cm Queenslander won the 2017 CrossFit games in Madison, Wisconsin with her muscle-packed 58 kilo body. But it was a mindset change that really made the win possible.
Toomey had finished runner-up the previous two years in the contest in which athletes compete in workouts involving a mix of aerobic, strength, and gymnastics elements. There are also elements which CrossFitters don't normally do as part of their regular training, such as obstacle courses and more.
Toomey, who finished 14th in her weightlifting division at the Rio 2016 Olympics, conquered all. Just. Her grand total after six events was 994 points, which edged her ahead of compatriot Kara Webb, on 992. The leaderboard is here.
But how did she get a little bit fitter and a little bit nastier, then end up with this big smile on her face?
Well, there's a great story about how Toomey was at the dinner that launched the 2016 competition. Speaking to the audience was Dave Castro, Director of the CrossFit Games.
"This is about crushing the people next to you, and this is about trying to win the f--king CrossFit Games," Castro reportedly said. "If you're not coming for that reason, you should just quit now."
That didn't really ring true to Toomey at the time. "Personally, I never wanted to come to the CrossFit Games to win it. I just wanted to be there, you know?" she confided afterwards to a reporter.
But then something changed. "What do I need to work on?" she asked her her fiancé and coach Shane Orr. "I want to win the CrossFit Games next year."
As she told the CrossFit Games website:
"I want to make sure that all the sacrifices that Shane and I have made in our life... I want to make sure that it wasn't for nothing.
"When I have children, I want to be able to tell them I may not have gone off and got a career being a doctor or something fancy like that, but I pursued my sporting dream of going to the Olympics and doing CrossFit, and I was the best at it.
"I want to be able to say that whatever you set your mind to you can do if you really put in the hard work and try your very best. I want to be able to say that I was successful in what I've done so that later in life I have stories to tell, and, I guess, people to inspire."
Mission accomplished. Isn't it great when plans work out for hard working people?
As for how this achievement stands in comparison to the experience of being an Olympian, Toomey had words which had no malice intended, but which the folks at the Australian Olympic Committee may not read too kindly.