Ben Garard's quest to be anointed the fittest man on earth is closer to reality after a top-16 finish in a worldwide competition with 110,000 competitors.
The 25-year-old athlete from the Southern Highlands was second only to Melbourne's Rob Forte in Australia at the end of the five-round CrossFit Open.
It has Garard in peak form heading into next month's Australian Regional CrossFit Games in Wollongong, in which the top three athletes in the Open category will represent Australia at the sport's holy grail, the World CrossFit Games.
Garard was ruled out of the tournament last year on a technicality, a decision helping to fuel his bid to reach the Los Angeles competition in July.
"Last year just gave me a whole another year to prepare myself," he said.
Even if Garard doesn't end up qualifying for the World CrossFit Games, he's already booked a ticket to the States after signing with a franchise in the National Pro Fitness League.
Garard will represent the San Francisco Firebreathers in the televised matches, with the competition from August to October.
"I'm excited to have the opportunity to prove I've got what it takes to match it with the best CrossFit athletes in the world.
"I think it's just a good opportunity. There's not a whole lot of Australians involved in the NPFL and they're going to cover a lot of our expenses," he said.