WATCH: The Best Sports Moment of 2024

(Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay.)

Programming note: Determining the "best" sports moment solely depends upon my nonscientific discretion. A girl likes what she likes. 

The 2025 CrossFit semifinals are in the books. The top athletes will now head to the Fort Worth, Texas, finals, where the World's Fittest Man and Woman on Earth will be crowned. The CrossFit Open competition began in the spring with 344,396 athletes. After completing the quarterfinals and semifinals, the field was narrowed to the top 40 men and top 40 women worldwide who will compete from August 8-11. 

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There have been many outstanding moments in the competition thus far, but one stands out in my mind because it was not only inspiring but fully embodied CrossFit's spirit. 

It was the final day of the North America East Semifinals and the fifth of the three-day competition's six individual women's events. 

The women took on a snatch ladder for time: 

10 squat snatches at 135 lbs. 

8 squat snatches at 145 lbs. 

6 squat snatches at 155 lbs.

4 squat snatches at 165 lbs. 

2 squat snatches at 175 lbs. 

The time cap was 11 minutes, and athletes could not progress to the next weight unless they completed the current round in under two minutes.

For those unfamiliar with Olympic weightlifting, the squatch is a highly technical lift. CrossFit describes it as "the queen of the Olympic lifts." It is performed "by lifting the barbell from the ground to overhead in one smooth motion. With an average time of 1.5 seconds to complete the lift, the snatch is widely considered the fastest and most powerful lift in the world — it’s also the most technical and requires skill, precision, and requisite strength."

Needless to say, 175 lbs. is a lot of weight for a woman to throw over her head in 1.5 seconds. The fourth and final heat of the competition included several elite female CrossFitters, including Tia-Claire Toomey (a six-time Fittest Woman), Haley Adams, Brooke Wells, and Emma Lawson. Toomey, who returned to the Games this year after taking a year off to have a baby, blew through the ladder and won the heat and the event with an insane time of 5:02.60. 

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But the woman who finished last ended up being the darling of the competition: twenty-year-old Lydia Fish, who was in the semifinals for only the second time. She completed the ladder through 155 lbs. but had a problem when she got to 165: The heaviest snatch she'd ever completed was 160 lbs. Nevertheless, she completed the 165 lb. lifts within two minutes for a new personal record (PR).

Then she added ten pounds to her bar, tightened her belt, and stepped up to attempt 175 lbs., with Toomey and the other competitors cheering her on. 

She failed on her first attempt, and the bar fell behind her but she completed her second lift. If she wanted to come in under the time cap, she would need to complete a second lift at 175 lbs.—15 lbs. heavier than she'd ever lifted—in just under two minutes. 

At that point, the crowd understood what was happening and started to cheer her on. Lydia looked at her parents in the audience, took a few deep breaths, and stepped up the bar. She failed another attempt. Then, with only 30 seconds left on the clock, she got the bar over her head in the squat position, stood it up, and took a few steps around the box—nearly stepping out—before completing the lift. 

What happened next is why there are millions of CrossFitters in the world. The crowd went wild as Lydia crossed the finish line and jumped up and down like she had won the Super Bowl. The other competitors gathered around, hugging her and congratulating her as if she had finished first. 

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And lest you think this was some kind of "everyone gets a trophy" moment, it wasn't. What the crowd realized—what Lydia and her fellow competitors understood—is that Lydia had beaten her personal best. By a lot. A jump of 15 pounds is an incredible le feat. She wasn't only competing against the other women; she was competing against herself, putting her training to the test—and succeeding. 

Lydia ended up finishing in 50th place in the competition, which was not high enough to earn her a spot in the finals, but she'll take the lessons she learned in 2024 to future competitions. Don't be surprised to see her in the finals in 2025! 

Watch, beginning at the 4:20:24 mark: 



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