Who is Emma McQuaid? The CrossFit star is hitting the world

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She’s known for being ‘the fittest woman in Ireland,’ and Emma McQuaid flexed her muscles once again last weekend.

The 32-year-old has secured a spot at this summer’s CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

She did so after securing a podium finish at CrossFit Strength in the Depth semifinals in London.

Read more: Bethany Firth reveals how she overcame her fear of water to become Paralympic champion

Competing against 26 other athletes from Europe, McQuaid competed over three days with Norwegian athlete Jacqueline Dahlström, who claimed the victory.

Consistency was the theme for McQuaid over the weekend, finishing in the top seven in all six events and winning the event in Workout 2.

But who is Emma McQuaid?

Here is some more information…


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age: 32
From where: Emma originally hails from Newry but now lives in Lisburn

When did she get into CrossFit?

Emma started CrossFit at the age of 24, and over the past eight years she has steadily climbed the ranks both domestically and internationally. She actually started out as a quad bike racer, competing since the age of six and made it all the way to the premier championship, the highest level you can get in Europe.

Injuries are par for the course in CrossFit
(Image: Pete Williamson)

Why CrossFit?

Emma took up CrossFit to improve her strength and fitness for quad racing. She said she wanted to be “fitter and stronger than every partner on the track”.

initial progress

Emma competed in her first CrossFit Open in 2014, and by the time she climbed to 30th place in her following year, she jumped an incredible 6,444 positions.


Emma has been Ireland’s CrossFit National Champion for the past three years. She has also participated in three CrossFit Games – similar to the Olympics in discipline – improving her position from 20th to 12th. This year he won the world famous Vodapalooza which was his first individual gold in an elite competition. Emma rounds 40 of the world’s best female CrossFit athletes to take the pick $100,000 in prize money. The victory also saw him ranked sixth in the world.

Injuries come with the territory

Like any sport, injuries are part of many athletes’ journeys. Emma is no different, having had major shoulder surgery in 2016.

Speaking in 2017, she said: “My whole shoulder needs to be reattached.

“The surgery was not straight forward and there were few complications. I needed four more injections two weeks ago so it is still on.

“The shoulder itself is perfect. My surgeon was amazing and did a wonderful job. But it’s the biceps tendons that have caused some problems. I just need to learn how to control them.”

Commonwealth Games Experience

Emma represented Northern Ireland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, finishing fourth in the 63kg weightlifting event.

Emma competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games
(Image: GETTY)

another crossfit game

Emma will compete at her fourth CrossFit Games this summer.

She finished a career-best 12th place at last year’s Games, an event in which the world’s fittest people compete in a massive elite competition.

Australia’s Tia-Claire Tommy won for the fifth year in a row in 2021 after coming out on top against 39 other athletes competing in a grueling five-day event.

Looking back on this year’s Games, which will run from August 3-7, Emma told BoxRox: “It’s an incredible feeling to be back at the CrossFit Games. Make the weekend even more special to share the competition once again with Brigassee.” Which has helped me a lot in my CrossFit journey, plus listening to my Irish supporters make me happy. I’m excited to see what I can do in Madison this year – push it! “

held in high esteem

Emma nearly missed last year’s CrossFit Games as covid travel issues prevented her from flying from Dublin to the USA.

The CrossFit Games eventually sent a letter to US Homeland Security stating that the Ko Downs athlete was “one of the best in the world”.

The letter from the organizers said: “From a field of over 264,000 athletes, Emma distinguished herself as one of the best in the world during this year’s CrossFit Open and went on to earn her spot in the CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown semifinals.” Ranked first.”

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