Couples of LoLo: Tom Killins and Olivia Clark [Victoria BC CrossFit]
Happy Love month! In honour of Valentine’s Day, we took the opportunity to get to know some of the many couples that train together within the CrossFit LoLo community. Instead of “Humans of LoLo”, we will be featuring “Couples of LoLo” all month long for our LoLo Love month!
To kick things off, we give you: Tom and Olivia! An absolute power couple inside and outside the gym. It was touching to spend time getting to know this duo as they cozied up and held hands on the LoLo Lounge couch. They are the fullest expression of unconditional love through life ups and downs.
Tell us about your fitness journey! What brought you to LoLo?
Tom: “When I moved to Calgary a friend introduced me to CrossFit. I went on and off for three years, only becoming hooked when I found another box with a more intimate vibe. From there I started to get competitive, pushing myself as much as I could. After losing my job in Calgary, I continued with CrossFit in Victoria, however, there was a lack of social connection and I got injured so I thought I was done with the sport.
Luckily, my buddy Jordan introduced me to LoLo and now my body feels better than ever! Also, I feel like I’m part of a family and I can build friendships here. I’ve signed up to compete this spring at Festivus and also at CanWest as part of a team. It’s been so fun! My buddies Paul and Cordell push me to attack my weaknesses and we throw down for each other.”
Olivia: “My fitness journey began with Irish dancing in 1996, which grew into ballet, tap, and contemporary dance. When I was 19 I started doing hip hop and I dropped everything else because I loved it so much. I’m still with the same crew and we have competed all over, even at world championships a couple times. Now as adults, we do it more for fun and less competitively. I miss the competitive aspect and I think that’s part of what attracted me to CrossFit. It is very similar to dance in that there is a community and friendly competition to push each other.”
What was the happiest moment of your life?
O: “When your son was born!”
T: “No, it wasn’t, that was freaky (laughs)! But wow… it’s so tough, so many clichés come to mind.”
O: “The only thing that comes to mind is when my dance crew placed third in Canada and placed in the world championships. I felt overwhelming joy and uncontrollable excitement. It was something I had worked hard towards for a long time and I got to celebrate it with my team, who I had travelled with, fought with, etc. (laughs)”
T: “I distinctly remember my first kiss with Liv. It was an exciting time in my life because I had just moved back to Victoria and things were coming together for me. I felt like I belonged somewhere. We were best friends and when our relationship grew it felt really right. It was a special moment for me.”
What was the saddest moment of your life?
O: “My mom passing away. I guess, both of my parents passing away. My mom lost her two-year battle with cancer in August last year. The following month, my dad passed away. I was very close with my mom and it was difficult for my sister and I to watch her struggle. My dad unexpectedly had a blood vessel burst in his stomach. So… it has been a sad six months. Today, for the first time, I was at my mom’s alone. I just allowed myself that time. It has been really tough, but it has also been a really big test, I think.”
What kind of test?
O: “Of being able to keep it together. My little sister and I are close. We have been helping each other. It’s definitely not something you expect to go through in your twenties, let alone be prepared for.”
T: “My saddest moment was three years ago. I was visiting Calgary and was really looking forward to the CrossFit open, but I blew out my shoulder. There was a lot of stress in my life at that time. I was on E.I. and it didn’t cover child support. I was so worn down. After finishing a workout I remember thinking, “if things don’t turn around for me, I only have one way out.” I didn’t want to be a burden to my parents anymore and I felt worthless. I honestly thought at that point that my only way out was to end my own life.
But Liv was really supportive during that time and she helped lift me out of it. Fortunately, the turning point came when I finally found a good job in Victoria and felt my self-worth rebuild. From where I am now, that time in my life feels so surreal and distant. I feel like I can make it through anything now.”
Who is the most influential person in your life?
T: “My brother, Frank. He is 15 years older than me so we weren’t close growing up, but as a kid I worshipped him as a hero. He taught me how to treat people, which went a long way in my relationships with my mom and with Liv.
O: “I would say right now it’s Tom. He’s always pushing me and everyone else in his life to be better. To the best version of yourself. He has been an amazing support during this rough time in my life. I really get the sense that he wants the best for me and guides me in the right direction as much as he can.”
What are you most excited for and afraid of right now?
T: “Jordan and I have a business we are developing right now, which is very exciting! I’ve always wanted to work with Jordan. He’s got a skill set that I’ve always felt is missing from my own attributes. I think we are going to make a really cool team with this new business, and also on this fitness journey together. I’m really excited to think about where both of these journeys may lead!
At this time I am most fearful that I will not be able to afford to retire someday. I can’t stand the idea of being a drain on people.”
O: “I’m excited about the way that my lifestyle is heading, with LoLo being a huge part of it. Also, I got a promotion at my job! I’m nearly completely out of debt, which is a great relief.
Fears? I don’t know. I’ve been through a lot of scary stuff in the past year. I guess, fear of not being financially set in order to have babies.”
O: (laughs) “Yeah maybe planes.”
Acknowledge yourself! What are you most proud of?
O: “Being strong and vulnerable.”
T: “You wouldn’t believe how her and her sister stepped up last fall, it was pretty inspiring. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder.
I cook a mean steak (laughs), and I’ve got good taste in friends.”