In the flash of an Instagram update, the top 2 women from last year’s CrossFit Games will be absent from this year’s finale. This afternoon, Mal O’Brien shared on Instagram that she will not be competing in Orlando, Florida, at the North America East Semifinals, effectively ending her 2023 campaign to be the Fittest Woman on Earth.
“With a heavy heart, i’d like to share that I won’t be competing at Semifinals this weekend,” wrote Mal on Instagram.
She continued, “Sometimes, we face personal challenges that demand our attention and care. It’s important to prioritize our well-being and embrace the support of loved ones.
“While I won’t be competing, I’m grateful for the understanding and encouragement from my coach @mathewfras & my @hwpotraining team, friends, family, and fans. Their unconditional support means the world to me.
“Remember, life isn’t just about winning trophies or achieving goals—it’s about finding balance, taking care of ourselves, and cherishing the moments that truly matter.
“I’ll be taking this time to focus on what’s important to me, and I appreciate your understanding during this period. I wish the best of luck to my teammates & competitors.”
The news comes O’Brien was the heavy favorite entering the 2023 Games season after Tia-Clair Toomey announced her pregnancy last fall.
O’Brien, just 18, has already been to the CrossFit Games four times, twice in the 14-15 year-old age group division and twice in the Open division. She finished 7th at the Games in 2021 and took 2nd overall last year.
This season O’Brien has been unbeatable. She won the worldwide Open and Quarterfinals and was the favorite heading into the North America East Semifinal this weekend.
Following Mal’s post, comments have been streaming in from fans and fellow competitors alike.