With Jennifer Gates bowing out of this year's Figure International, many people (including yours truly) had Gina Aliotti as a lock to repeat her reign as the Figure International Champion. However, the person who would wind up as champion would be Zivile Raudoniene. Yes, the same person that shocked the world at the Figure Olympia last year by placing third came into her very first Arnold and won it, sending a very clear message to the figure competitors that the soft look is the winning look, whether you like it or not. No, I'm not hating on Zivile whatsoever. I think she's a very beautiful woman, and I wish her nothing but success for her. Gina would end up with the runner-up position. Now she will have to fight off not only Jenn Gates, but also Zivile if she want to claim the one title that's missing in her collection: The Figure Olympia championship. Third place went to Amy Fry once again, who looked great and could have easily have been second. Fourth place went to someone who just glowed like crazy to me: Krystal Richardson. Her overall look and muscle flow made her jump from 10th place last year, all the way to 4th place this year. Felicia Romero, the person I dubbed the "Poster Girl" for the new figure guidelines, came into her first Arnold and finished in fifth place. Rounding out the top six was the very-clear fan favorite, Monica Brant. Everytime she showed up, prejudging and finals, she would get big cheers, and can you blame them? She's a legend. The new kids could learn a thing or two from Mo. All six of them are qualified for this year's Figure Olympia.
Now for various thoughts on the some of the rest of the competitors:
Heather Mae French pulled out the signature model pose, which is very cool, in my honest opinion. Erin Stern looked great in her pro debut, and I predict big things in her future. Juliana Malacarne came in smaller than she did last year, but still seemed too muscular according to her placement. I'm pretty suprised that Sonia got eight, as the Arnold is usually one of her best events. Overall, I thought the figure ladies looked absoulely fantastic, and they should all be proud of themselves. I wonder what the outcome would have been if Adela Garcia and Jennifer Gates were to have entered this contest? Hmm...
What are your thoughts about this year's Figure International? Share your thoughts (good or bad), questions, concerns, and rants below.