Crossfit athlete Grace Walton robbed of ‘world’s fittest woman’ title

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Three years ago, Perth CrossFit sensation Grace Walton was ranked 847th in the world.

This week, the rising star is recognised as the sport’s number one Aussie female competitor and second worldwide after a dominant performance in the CrossFit Open 2024.

All that’s separating her from the top spot — which she held for most of the week — was a late points penalty, PerthNow reports.

The final results of the Open were only finalised on Tuesday when CrossFit officials adjusted Walton’s 24.3 workout score by 10 seconds, moving her from first to second spot.

Walton was unofficially sitting atop the women’s worldwide leaderboard before the final event of the competition was reviewed.

Officials ruled Walton’s feet rose above the height of the bar for two reps during the bar muscle-ups challenge.

The 10-second penalty was enough for Mirjam von Rohr to take the top overall spot.

It also cost Walton a $15,000 winner’s payday.

Walton submitted three separate videos online to receive her overall ranking, performing various CrossFit disciplines against more than 130,000 others internationally.

Only 25 per cent of athletes progress to the next stage, where competition becomes more intense, with only three Oceania athletes later qualifying to compete at the CrossFit Games — the pinnacle of the sport.

Training out of Dianella’s Dignus Athletica, the local pocketed $US10,000 for her performance.

“It’s nice to get some recognition for the hard work because it’s been four years of training, which is still very new compared to others, but it’s a lot of training,” she said.

With almost 80,000 followers on Instagram and a host of sponsors jumping on board her journey to the top, the young athlete has achieved more than most since transforming her passion into a career.

“I think the middle of COVID I was looking for a new sport. I was previously a swimmer in high school, so when I finished up, my friend was like, ‘try this, it’s similar to F45’,” Walton said.

“And then I just really enjoyed it.”

Turning to Queenslander and six-time CrossFit Games champion Tia-Clair Toomey for inspiration, Walton hopes to become a Games champion herself. Even as soon as this year.

With her idol having represented Australia in the Olympics for weightlifting, the Baldivis-based competitor suggested “it would be awesome” for CrossFit to be added to Brisbane’s Olympic schedule in 2032.

Aware the sport can be perceived as “cult-like” at times, Walton admitted the community is “not as intimidating as it looks” and hopes misconceptions don’t deter newcomers.

“If you’re moving properly and learning the technique correctly first, it’s actually really good for your body.”

With Easter on our doorstep, the chronic trainer — who doesn’t even take Christmas off — will be hard at the gym… mostly.

“I’m still in the gym everyday, but I love having a little bit of chocolate to myself,” she admitted.

For those keen to spot the rising star in action, she’ll be competing at Brisbane’s Torian Pro in May.

Following that, the WA local will be vying for a gold medal when the CrossFit Games takes place in Texas in August.

— This story originally appeared on PerthNow and has been republished with permission

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