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Sport

11 January, 2022

Toomey gunning for a spot at Winter Olympics

Tia-Clair Toomey is hoping to make the women's bobsleigh team at Beijing.

By Matt Nicholls

SHE’S regarded by thousands as the fittest woman in the world and Tia-Clair Toomey is now trying to harness her power to earn another tilt at the Olympics.

The Weipa product has already represented Australia on the biggest sporting stage, having donned the green and gold in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Now she’s hoping to add a Winter Olympics to her already stacked resume, which includes a Commonwealth Games gold medal for weightlifting and five CrossFit Games titles.

Toomey, who is coached by her husband Shane Orr, who also grew up in Weipa, has been training for the Australian bobsleigh team for more than a year.

In recent months she has been travelling between Europe and North America to practice her skills on the bobsleigh circuit in a bid to win a coveted spot on the Australian team for Beijing.

Those hopes were lifted in Austria on the weekend when Toomey, paired up with Ashleigh Warner, finished fourth in the Europe Cup series event in Innsbruck.

"The current ranking has both the Australian women’s bobsleigh teams eligible for the Olympics with one weekend remaining," husband Shane Orr said.

"Tia-Clair and Ashley Werner are set to race this Sunday in St. Moritz, Switzerland."

Providing some background, Orr said most people knew about bobsleigh movie Cool Runnings, which didn't paint an honest picture of the sport.

"Bobsleigh is a very demanding sport, not just physically but mentally," he said.

"The sport requires a significant amount of travel, which makes it difficult to train, maintain consistent nutrition and sleep.

"Being raised in Weipa doesn’t prepare you for the cold temperatures. 

"And lastly, we also need to monitor for COVID-19."

Orr said he was trying to play a key role to support his wife and the team.

"My role is performance coach and logistic manager. I assist the team with training requirements and take charge of moving the bobsleigh from one country to the next," he said. 

"Let me tell you something Cool Runnings lied about, you can’t just throw the bobsleigh on your shoulder like the movie did. It’s too heavy and awkward – the two-man sled weighs 180kg.

"If this weekend is successful Tia-Clair will be heading to a holding camp situated in Austria for two weeks before flying over to China for the opening ceremony.

"Thank you for the support back home. We are visiting Weipa this September and look forward to seeing you all."

In an interview with her sponsor PVRN Fitness, Toomey said she still had to do everything right to get a plane ticket to China.

“This season has been incredible. It’s going to be a fight until the end but only two more races until we find out if we have done enough to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics,” she said.

“We are currently in a position to qualify for the Olympics but anything can happen – we have to keep the foot on the pedal.”

The Beijing Winter Olympics begin on February 4.


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