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Q&A: NICOLE TAINATONGO

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By Patrick Lujan

Guam's Nicole Tainatongo is Asia's fittest woman after taking the CrossFit Games Asia Regional in Korea. (photo by crossfit.com)

Guam’s Nicole Tainatongo is Asia’s fittest woman after taking the CrossFit Games Asia Regional in Korea. (photo by crossfit.com)

The fittest woman in Asia is back home on Guam after taking the CrossFit Games Asia Regional title on Sunday, June 2nd. The Marine Science Technician Second Class is back at work with the US Coast Guard but she took time away to talk to GSPN in her first interview back on Guam after winning the title.

GSPN: Congratulations Ms. Nicole for winning the CrossFit Asia Games. How do you feel?

NT: Thank you. I feel surreal. S-U-R-R-E-A-L. That surreal. Some media asked me that out there (in Korea) and they printed ‘so real’ in the article. But it’s surreal. I can’t really believe that it actually happened. I worked really hard training up to this point and to achieve what I’ve hope for is so awesome.

GSPN: Do you realize how much support you have after winning the championship?

NT: Training up for it, it was a personal goal and I did get support from my family and friends, helping me out and keeping me motivated. After winning it, I got so much support from everybody else. Even the audience and the spectators that were there, it felt like everybody was rooting for me. I came to realize that a lot of good energy was coming my way to win and I’m glad I was able to pull through.

GSPN: Just to let you know, your story on the GSPN Facebook page blew away every other post we’ve put on – by far the most.

Tainatongo embraces as opponent during the competition in Korea. (photo courtesy crossfit.com)

Tainatongo embraces as opponent after a grueling stage during the CrossFit Games Asia competition in Korea. (photo by crossfit.com)

NT: Oh really? That’s awesome!

GSPN: There was a story on CrossFit Asia’s site about your goals you wrote on the plane’s barf bag. Tell us about that.

NT: Last year, I placed fourth and you don’t get to stand on the podium.  Looking at the girls then, I wanted to know how it feels to go up there. I needed to write it down and all I had was the barf bag in the seat in front of me and I had to borrow the flight attendant’s pen. The first thing I wrote was ‘Goals’. My first goal, I was a little hesitant to write it because it was a really tough goal, but I put down ‘win Asia Regionals 2013’. It was one of those “am I really going to put myself up for that goal and am I really going to do it?” I was able to put it in the training throughout the year and surprisingly check off that number one goal.

GSPN: How much of you being from Guam were mentioned during the competition?

NT: A lot of the media asked me how it feels to represent a small island and I told them that I was very humbled and I tried my best to show that the people from Guam are a breed of strong people. I felt humbled and very honored to be out there to represent our island.

GSPN: Not only are you from Guam but you’re from Malesso. What does you winning say about your small, quiet village down south?

NT: Anything can happen. Not just fitness but anything. It sounds so cliché, but really, anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you put the effort to do it, not just saying you want to do it.

GSPN: Finally, you qualify to go to the big show in July. Do you have to readjust your goals or will your focus and preparation remain the same going into the California CrossFit Games?

NT: My focus and preparation is definitely going to enhance. At first, I felt intimidated because I have to keep up with the elite of elites. I just got some advice from my dad (Jesse Tainatongo) and he reminded me that my goal for Asia Regionals was not to try and make it but to try and win it. Everyone is going to be shooting to win so that is my goal is to do my best and win. (The big CrossFit Games starts on July 22 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.)

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