SUU to Everywhere

Talayna Fortunato ('03)

Talayna Fortunato ('03) | SUU to Sports Illustrated


Originally published on September 17, 2019.

Before Talayna Fortunato was 2012’s “3rd Fittest Woman in the World”, a star in a fitness documentary, a featured athlete in Sports Illustrated, and a CrossFit champion, she was a student-athlete at Southern Utah University, competing in gymnastics and track and field

SUU’s Head Women’s Gymnastics Coach, Scott Bauman, reached out to Fortunato before her junior year of college to schedule a campus recruitment visit at SUU. Fortunato had just gotten back into gymnastics and wanted to take advantage of her final eligible years of collegiate gymnastics. 

“I've always had a hard time making large decisions, but when I visited SUU I didn't really have to think about whether to go or not, I just knew I was going,” said Fortunato. “I'm so glad I got the opportunity to see another side of the country, and be a contributing member on a Division I gymnastics team.”

While competing at SUU, she hit 80 out of her 88 routines in competition and was perfect in the final five meets each year, hitting 40 out of her 40 routines. Fortunato was also one of the only competitors in SUU history to compete all-around at every meet. She still holds the school’s highest score on beam with 9.925. 

Her high scores at SUU were:

Vault: 9.8 (two times)
Bars: 9.85 (six times)
Beam: 9.925 (two times)
Floor: 9.875 (three times)

“We were lucky to have her come to SUU,” said Bauman. “The day she started practice, we knew she was special. These scores would still be outstanding on our team. When you consider she was doing this almost two decades ago, that makes it even more impressive.”

Fortunato was a student in the computer science program, but her interests evolved to health science during her final year at SUU. She took several prerequisite health courses and eventually decided to become a physical therapist. 

“The prerequisite health classes I took at SUU allowed me to apply to a physical therapy program in Florida, pursue my graduate degree, and eventually my doctorate in physical therapy,” she said. 

Fortunato is now the CEO of BodyWoRx Physical Therapy and Massage and an avid CrossFit athlete. In the 2012 CrossFit Games, Fortunato ranked 3rd in the “individual women” division, making her 2012’s 3rd fittest woman in the world. She has also been featured in the 2016 documentary, “Functional Fitness” and by Sports Illustrated as the 25th fittest female athlete.

“She is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached in my life,” Bauman said. “She was always willing to come in on her days off, and work on new skills. We wish her the best!”

Learn more about SUU’s Women’s Gymnastics team.