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Brittney Kleyn

Tia-Clair Toomey wins sixth consecutive CrossFit Games as Ricky Garard claims third in men's competition

Tia-Clair Toomey in action during the 2022 CrossFit Games. Toomey has now won six titles in a row.  (Enrique Villasenor)

Australian athlete Tia-Clair Toomey has become the most decorated athlete in CrossFit history, claiming the "Fittest On Earth" title for a sixth consecutive time.

The Queenslander won after five intensive days of competition in Madison, Wisconsin, which included endurance events, highly skilled gymnastics, and lifting implements weighing more than 200 kilograms — three times her own body weight.

"I dedicate so much of my time to this sport," she said.

"[It's great] to be able to showcase the hard work, what my team and I have been able to do all season long, even years before."

Claiming the 2022 title makes Toomey the most decorated CrossFit Games athlete in history — and she was also runner-up in 2016 and 2017.

Toomey's family from Central Queensland travelled to the United States to watch what is believed to be her swan song.

"If you're wondering why Tia Toomey took her time and soaked it in, this is it," commentator Sean Woodland said.

"She's planning to retire after the CrossFit Games."

In the men's competition, Australian Ricky Garard finished third to complete his redemption story, having been banned from CrossFit in 2017 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

"It's taken a lot of hard work to get back here, to be at this level," he told ABC Sport.

"[I'm] super stoked with my resilience and patience to stick it out."

The former NRL U20s player from Mittagong in New South Wales tested positive for PEDs after finishing third at the 2017 CrossFit Games, denying another athlete the privilege of standing on the podium.

"It's a redemption story for me to prove to myself that what happened last time didn't mean anything and was never going to change the outcome," Garard said.

After serving out the ban issued by CrossFit, Garard returned to the competition this year and CrossFit fans welcomed him with open arms.

Ricky Garard competing during the 2022 CrossFit Games. Garard came third after being banned from the sport in 2017.  (Enrique Villasenor)

"The fans have been great out there, a lot more than I thought, to be honest. It's awesome," he said.

"And I'm really having a great time out there, and five years' worth of energy is coming out in every event.

"I've waited a long time for this and it's finally nice to do a workout that actually means something, not just in the gym."

Many athletes that competed alongside Garard in 2017 have also been his competitors this year in Madison.

He said they had been supportive of his return.

"We're all competitors and there is going to be a lot of tensions between us," he said.

"We're all sharks, we smell blood in the water and we're going to take our opportunities, so it's always pretty intense before the workout, but after I feel like we all relax and have a bit of laughter and banter and chat."

What are the CrossFit Games?

The CrossFit Games are a gruelling test of strength, skill and stamina where even qualifying to compete is a milestone.

A total of 293,805 athletes registered to compete in the worldwide open, with the top 10 per cent worldwide competing in the quarterfinals stage, before semifinals events around the world helped narrow the field to just 40 elite men and women.

"The CrossFit Games is the answer to who is the fittest person on Earth," CrossFit Games general manager Justin Bergh said.

In this year's competition, athletes were tested across 13 events which included weightlifting, sprint, endurance events, high-level gymnastics, swimming, and even double-under cross-over skipping.

One event at this year's event included a test of strength and endurance in which athletes flipped an implement weighing 160kg (women) or 230kg (men), then ran 6km, before carrying bags that weighed 68kg and 90kg respectively up the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol building.

The CrossFit Games are in their 16th year, with the prize pool around $4 million across all divisions, including adaptive and masters athletes.

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