While she has yet to win an event at the 2019 CrossFit Games, American Karissa Pearce, 30, is already challenging Australian Tia-Clair Toomey for her crown. But who is she?

Pearce hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan and started doing CrossFit in 2014 while living in New York city. On her website, she said she was hesitant to get into the sport given her background in gymnastics despite competing for the University of Michigan and winning four Big Ten Championships.

Watch the CrossFit Games 2019 day two live as Fraser and Pearce defend their leads

“Many of my friends told me how good I would be at CrossFit,” said Pearce. “For some reason, I kept putting it off and sought other areas of fitness.”

After her gymnastics career ended she took up weightlifting via a strength and conditioning internship at the University of Michigan, but she didn’t last long in the sport.

“I began weightlifting there. After doing one competition, I had a couple injuries, most likely due to gymnastics that showed up a little later, which caused me to switch to bodybuilding. After doing a physique show, I realised that sport wasn't for me.

“During this time, I was personal training at Bally Total Fitness, which then got bought out by LA Fitness. This caused me to leave and go to a studio gym. Though I loved Ann Arbor, I needed a change.”

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She moved to New York in 2013 where she began training at the New York Health and Racquet Club where she met a powerlifting coach and completed her first competition. While she was training she got contacted by the owner of CrossFit SPOT about coaching the sport given her background in gymnastics and weightlifting.

Six months after starting CrossFit, Pearce made her first regional competition, and this year she finished second in all of the US when it came to the Open, and eighth overall in the world.