As the history books say, any time a dynasty ends, there will be a struggle to fill in the tremendous power vacuum. After a dominant reign as a six-time Fittest Woman on Earth®, Tia-Clair Toomey will not be defending her title in August’s 2023 CrossFit Games. The athlete has not retired and may well return to prominence soon enough post-pregnancy, but for at least one edition of the Games, her throne will be vacant. That brings to mind a question about who can climb the mountain.
As the 2023 Games, here’s a breakdown of five potential contenders for the Women’s Individual title. Toomey leaves behind sizable shoes to fill, but one of these athletes could prove quite capable soon enough.
Potential 2023 CrossFit Games Women’s Individual Contenders
Just because Toomey won’t be a fixture at the latest iteration of CrossFit’s flagship contest doesn’t mean there aren’t worthy competitors waiting in the wings. Here’s a short profile and rundown of a few to consider.
Laura Horvath (Hungary)
Best finish: Runner-up (2018, 2021)
Games debut: 2018
Horvath has had a relatively consistent place amongst CrossFit’s elite since the moment she began competing in Madison, WI. Now entering her seventh edition of the Games, some might consider the 2022 podium finisher the overall Women’s favorite with the absence of both Toomey and Mal O’Brien. After a third-place result in the 2023 Europe Semifinal and a second-overall finish in the Quarterfinal, Horvath seems primed to finally break through after three podium finishes (2018, 2021-2022).
Annie Thorisdottir (Iceland)
Best finish: Champion (2011-2012)
A living CrossFit legend, it’s been a long time since Thorisdottir stood on top of the sport. A former two-time Women’s Individual champion (2011-2012), injuries and a pregnancy halted much of Thorisdottir’s progress in the sport during the middle of last decade. However, in recent years, “Iceland Annie” has started to regain her form. After missing the cut in 2019 and 2020, Thorisdottir came in third in 2021 and ventured into Teams competition in 2022, where she placed fourth as the Captain of Team CrossFit Reykjavik. These days, the 33-year-old could be considered more of a dark horse as she returns to Individual competition.
Though, not many “dark horses” already have two championship titles and two runner-up placings to their name.
Emma Lawson (Canada)
Best finish: Sixth place (2022)
At just 18 years old, Lawson approaches CrossFit competition like a seasoned veteran. The 2022 CrossFit Rookie of the Year and 2021 Games champion in the Girls (16-17) division, Lawson stormed to sixth place in her Women’s division debut. Usually, potential Games champions have a bit more experience before they finally break through on the biggest stage. However, with much of the Women’s division in apparent flux, that could play to Lawson’s advantage as an exceptionally young and bright possible first-time winner.
Arielle Loewen (United States)
Best finish: 11th place (2022)
Loewen is another top contender who would certainly qualify more naturally under a dark horse or “surprise” label. Unlike other prospective winners, Loewen does not have a big-name trophy distinction and arguably has less of a high-profile resume overall, never having broken into the top-10. That said, a third-place finish in the North America West Semifinal and third-place overall worldwide result in the Quarterfinal paints the picture of an athlete prepared to skyrocket. Her third Games appearance in 2023 might be that momentous opportunity.
Gabriela Migała (Poland)
Best finish: Sixth place (2021)
An experienced Games veteran, Migała has seemingly only improved since first entering the Women’s division at the end of last decade after reaching the podium in 2016 in the Girls (16-17) division. For someone who has never even earned a podium finish in the Women’s contest, Migała’s reputation almost precedes her. She’s trained with World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Björnsson, and appears to be an athlete waiting for that one final springboard. Notably, either Migała or Horvath would be the first Eastern-European Individual champion in the entire contest’s history.
There’s a lot to be decided for Individual Women’s competitors in the 2023 CrossFit Games. When all is said and done, one of these women might be the next queen of CrossFit.
Featured image: @laurahorvaht on Instagram
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