Games gold won days after she was hit by Coast tragedy
ELEVEN days ago, Tia-Clair Toomey was struggling under the weight of pure, unbearable grief.
On Friday night, it was replaced by the most bittersweet of ecstasy.
In the performance of her life, the Queensland fitness queen used the memory of her teenage cousin, killed in a horror car crash on the Sunshine Coast last week, to help inspire her to a stunning weightlifting gold.
Beautiful Jade Dixson, who died in a Nambour smash, had been intending to come to be in the crowd at Carrara Sport and Leisure Centre, cheering for Toomey.
Instead, she was in her cousin's heart.
"This is for her," Toomey said after her last-gasp 58kg class weightlifting gold medal last night.
Before the event, Toomey said she wanted to give her all in the memory of her cousin and had definitely been "lifting for her ... she'll be on my side.''
"I'll have her in my heart come game day," Toomey said.
Toomey lifted a personal-best snatch of 87kg.
Then she hoisted a personal-best clean-and-jerk of 114kg above her head on her last lift for a winning total of 201kg.
Canadian favourite Tali Darsigny had been 1kg ahead entering the clean-and-jerk section, but a personal-best 112kg with her last lift was good only for a 200kg total and a silver medal.
Toomey originally put 104kg on the bar for her first clean-and-jerk attempt, 1kg less than Darsigny did, but raised the weight to 107kg.
Toomey has a large personal following, which has escalated since she last year became the first Australian winner of the CrossFit Games, a sport in which athletes contest events requiring strength and athleticism.
Events in the Games in Wisconsin included an obstacle course race, one which required repetitions of sit-ups and pullups, rope climbs and moving a sled down a field and returning while walking on hands.
Toomey had the experience in weightlifting of a 2016 Rio Olympics bid.
Jade Dixson's father Mark spoke out two days ago about a need to change the attitude of young drivers with compulsory defensive driving courses.
"Educating the kids at a vulnerable age when they get their learners or their Ps about what to do when their vehicle is out of control," he said.