From the days of Rachel McLish and Cory Everson, to the domination of Lenda Murray, to the on-going rivalry between Iris Kyle and Dayana Cadeau, women’s bodybuilding has shown that it’s just as big in spirit and support as women’s fitness and figure. Just like in figure, I’ll highlight the five that could (and probably will, if the Arnold this year was any indication) give the champ a run for her money, highlight the champ, and pick a wildcard that could shake up the top six.
No female bodybuilder in the world right now might have legs as powerful as Heather. Melissa Detwiller and Lynn McCrossin might have the best pecs of female bodybuilders, but when it comes to legs, Heather is queen. When she became a pro in 2006, many people thought she would rise to the top fairly quickly. Well, apparently they were right on the money! Last year, in her first year as a pro, she won the Sacramento Pro Heavyweight class and the overall title. Mere weeks later, she competed at the Arnold Classic and placed THRID in her first Arnold. She then followed that up with a great debut at the Olympia, where she placed fifth in that. She will return to the Olympia stage to once again make a statement and will find herself in the top six, possibly top three if she brings it.
Betty is entering into the Olympia with a purpose, to hopefully pull off an upset and shock the female muscle world by winning a major championship. Her and her husband head one of the biggest shows of the year (Europa Super Show) Her dedication to the sport and enthusiasm is practically unmatched in more ways than one. She might be over 50, but she can take most women half her age to school, post-secondary education, the works. Her trademark most muscular might freak out some people (it probably has to do with her sticking out her tounge while she does it), but it has seemed to help her more than hurt her. Her age alone has gotta be an inspiration to others out there who don’t think that they can be fit after 50. Will her experience play a factor in her finally breaking the Yaxeni/Dayana/Iris factor and bring her an Olympia title? We shall see, won’t we?!...
Over the years, Lisa has become one of the top stars in female bodybuilding. She’s also one heck of an ambassador. I can recall back in 2006, Inside Edition did a very small but positive and funny segment on female bodybuilding and Lisa was the main person they talked to. She came across as professional and knowledgeable. At the time, she was an office worker and definitely opened my eyes and it let me see that female bodybuilders are more than just gym-based athletes. Some had lives outside the gym. She had developed a lot of mature muscle, yet she has been able to balance her muscularity and femininity in a way that has made her a big name amongst even non-female muscle fans. She will be the mix for the title once again. I don’t see her being out of the title mix anytime soon.
She has only competed once this year, yet she is riding to the Olympia with a ton of momentum in her favor, as she will be arriving in Vegas as the current Ms. International champion. Anytime you walk into the Olympia as Arnold Classic champion regardless of division, you are seen as the top contender, no matter who else is participating…at least, that’s how the muscle media likes to portray who should or shouldn’t be contenders. For those who think I’m attacking Yaxeni, you’re wrong…dead wrong. Yaxeni has more than proved herself to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to competing for the Ms. Olympia title. As a former champ herself, she knows what it’s like to be at the top of the mountain. Winning is like having your favorite fruit smoothie…once is never enough. Yaxeni has beaten Iris and Dayana this year. Heck, she’s been all the ladies listed here (with the exception of Heather and Nicole). We’ll see if she can pull if off one last time…this time, and the biggest stage of them all.
I don’t know what this woman has to do to take a major title. She comes in better than the previous contest each and every year, and when it seems like she makes one step forward, she takes two steps back. At this year’s Arnold, she soundly beat Iris, as she was in seventh place. However, she didn’t capture the Ms. International title (That honor went to Yaxeni). Much like Kim in the Fitness Olympia, I bet you my bottom dollar that Dayana is sick and tired of being just short of becoming champion. For the last several years, during the Olympia press conference, she would do a posedown with Iris showing off their leg definition, usually securing her as a top contender. When it comes down to it, bottom line, for Dayana, it won’t be about if she can beat Iris. It will be about if she can beat everyone else in her way as well. All I have to say is that good competitors usually never arrive in second place and usually have the end in mind. Dayana has the Ms. Olympia title in her sights. 2008 could finally be her year to shine.
Iris Kyle has become the top face of women’s bodybuilding today. Not since Lenda Murray has there been such a dominating force in women’s bodybuilding as Iris. I don’t know her secret, but she has seemed to find a way to maintain her dominance over the past few years. 2008, however, may be an entire different tune for her. At this year’s Arnold Classic, she came in looking like a champ. She was in the top callouts. Long story short, she was possibly heading toward a record fourth Ms. International title, which would have made her the winningest Ms. International champion ever. However, when the top six came out during finals for a final posedown to determine the winner, Iris was no where to be seen in the lineup. Huh!?!?! At first, it seemed like Iris was disqualified. But it was later revealed that she placed seventh. There were some noticeable knots on her that indicated possible substance use, and that was probably what did her in. But Iris can’t worry about what happened to her at the Arnold. She must be focused on retaining her Ms. Olympia title. A good champion knows how to bounce back from defeat and adversity. We’ll see what Iris is made of later on this month.
Why did I choose Nicole over the other female bodybuilders to be the wildcard? Post-Arnold, I think she has been the one to make a statement more than any female bodybuilder out there right now. She has placed in the top three in every contest she’s was a part of, and won the Tampa Bay Pro this year as well. BTW, I hope I’m not sounding too corny, but Nicole is CUTE! I would have her as an Olympia spokesperson in a heartbeat. Now, she may not be as big as the top six I picked out, but that may not make any difference come Olympia time. We’ve seen time and time again how one person can change the landscape of this industry, and Nicole looks like she could be one of those people that can change the direction of female bodybuilding. She placed just outside the top six last year. Who knows? If Nicole brings the package that made her a powerhouse to begin with, The O could be looking at a slightly different top-six in the Ms. Olympia contest.
Well…there you have it. Those are my predictions for Fitness, Figure, and Ms. Olympia. Agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below. With that being said, I’ll leave you with this:
“It takes heart and determination to be a great competitor. It takes a great competitor to be a champion.”
Who will fall? Who will stand tall? Who will make history? Who will be history? On September 25-28 in Viva Las Vegas…all will be settled once and for all…at least until next year’s Olympia!
One last thing…thanks to everyone that voted on the Olympia poll. According to the poll, 45% of you said that Iris and Jenny could walk out of Vegas as former champions. We shall soon see.
This month’s poll is…Would you like to see more footage of female muscle contests on TV? Vote in the poll and see the results at the end of the month.