Earlier last week, I talked about Christine's partnership with Milverstead Publishing. Come find out, there's more to it than just writing a couple of books and being a part-owner. She's part of something special, and Milverstead Publishing knows it. They have begin a worldwide press release on the signing of Christine, as she has been featured in several websites, including CNBC, Fox Business, Forbes, and Yahoo Finance. I mean, that's big stuff right there, folks. How many competitors (male OR female) can claim to have a mainstream push like that, and NOT having to do with steroid use? You can count them on the palm of your hand. She will also be featured on a Time Square billboard and on the Vegas strip for the company.
Christine Pomponio-Pate...Coming to a bookstore near you. (Photo credit: Milverstead Publishing)
Very few could have predicted that Christine would be getting the opportunity she's been given. It's awesome to see one of our own getting a mainstream opportunity like this. When her books come out, support her by buying them. Heck, support her NOW by buying books from Milverstead Publishing! You're not only supporting Christine by doing this, you are supporting the company and their charities, including the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. Contact your local bookseller, or contact them directly.
In addition to all of that, her website has returned with a MAJOR upgrade and lots of material on the site, with more to be added in the coming weeks and months (http://www.christinepomponio.com), she has now opened a Facebook Fan Page where you will be able to communicate with Christine, view photos, video updates, and news on her whereabouts, and she has now joined the Twitter universe as well. And of course, I'll be keeping up with the latest on Christine via her fan club on Yahoo (http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/christine_pp/). So yeah, expect to hear quite a bit on Christine in the coming year, and FitGems Nation will be there every step of the way to keep you all informed.
On behalf of FitGems Nation and the entire female muscle industry, words can't express how proud we are of you taking this major step in your life. We wish you nothing but great success in your new venture!!! :-)
Sorry I haven't done this in a while, but here's the Song of the Week for this week. We're taking things down a bit with this one by Audioslave. The track is called "Be Yourself". And this line is perfect for when you're weight-training, doing cardio, getting ready for a show, etc...Be yourself is all that you can do.
I'm pleased, honored, and privileged to announce that Victoria Larvie will be sponsored by FitGems Nation!!! Victoria beat out several veteran IFBB Pros and up-and-coming stars to win this sponsorship, The winner was selected by a select panel of judges from this industry.
Not even in her 20s yet, Victoria has a bright future ahead of her, and I know that she will be a great representative to the sport of IFBB fitness for years to come. Her next competition will be at the 2010 Europa Show of Champions on April 16-17, where she will be competing in the IFBB Fitness. As part of the sponsorship, she will be using the sponsorship money to pay for some of her expenses.
Around the early days of women's figure, you might recognize the name Christine Pomponio-Pate. She competed in the IFBB Figure division for three years, from 2004 to 2006, winning a couple of figure titles, placing in the top six at both the Arnold and Olympia every time she competed in those events, and gain the respect and admiration of many, including yours truly. She gave birth to her first child, Riley, around Christmas of 2007. She took all her baby weight (which was MUCH less that most), within months, and these days, she looks like she could step on stage again anytime she pleases.
There's no telling if she will eve return to the IFBB stage, but there's one major thing she's now a part of, and something very few competitors can claim. She's now part-owner of a publishing company called Milverstead Publishing. She's going to be publishing a couple of books in the near future. One of then will be an autobiography, and the other will be a book about fitness. To say that I'm extremely happy for Christine would be an understatement. From all of us at FitGems Nation, we are very proud of you, Christine! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!! :)
For more on her latest venture, click here to view Hollywood Weekly (with new photos of the new publishing co-owner) and here to view a blog written by Christopher Finlan, the president of Milverstead Publishing.
Christine P-P can now add co-owner and author to her incredible accomplishments
Photo courtesy of Bill Dobbins (from Olympia 2005)
If you want to know a little bit more about anything FitGems related or in relations to the female muscle industry, go to this link here and ask me anything you want to. Or, if you want to know about me in general, that's works, too!! :) I may not know the answer to each question, but I'll give it a try. If you can, try not to ask anything that might be deemed rude or anything of that nature. Can't wait to see what questions you have in store for me! :)
For those that has paid attention to the fitness division as of late, fitness has been on the decline over the last few years. Absolutely NO disrespect to any of the other female physique divisions, but fitness is arguably the most entertaining division of all the female divisions out there. Creativity, high-energy, personality, dedication...all of that is in the fitness division. For fans, they are in awe of what they can do. For photographers and those that take video, capturing their routines on film is like watching poetry in motion. In the NPC and IFBB, there's just nothing like women's fitness. So I'm scratching my head into seeing why fitness is at an all-time low.
Is it the work that is needed? The time that's needed? Now enough contests? Not enough competitors stepping up? Too many not going into the pros after their winning their pro card? I wish I knew the answer, but I don't. What I DO know is this: something needs to be done, or fitness will be nothing but a distant memory.
Siouxcountry has stepped up to the plate with the Lets's Save NPC and IFBB Fitness thread, and since fitness is what made me a fan and supporter of the female physique sport in the first place, I'd thought I'd step up to the place and contrubute to the cause by creating a blog called Save Women's Fitness Now! It's a blog that will focus solely on the IFBB and NPC fitness division, including posts on ideas to increase awareness about the division, coverage from fitness shows, posts from past, present, and future competitors, links to fitness competitor sites, and more!
Please join me in helping to reignite the flame of the IFBB/NPC fitness division and keep it from being a footnote in IFBB history.
The FitGems Nation attempts its best to honor all women who do whatever it takes to maintain and develop incredible physiques and be role models for those that want to be in shape. However, imagine doing all of that...and being a mother at the same time! That takes unbelievable dedication.
Last year, FitGems Nation honored a deserving mother in the industry with a little bit of money to help them out with whatever they desired. I'm happy to announce that FitGems Nation is doing it again! This year on Mother's Day Weekend, FitGems Nation is hosting its 2nd Annual FitGems FitMom contest. This site will be giving away $200 (doubled from last year) to a deserving mother. It's our way of saying "Thank You" for being an inspiration to moms everywhere.
To enter the contest, all you need to do is send me a photo of yourself, your name, and a small biography of yourself via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please put FitGems FitMom in the subject line. Be as detailed as you possibly can, as the public will be the ones that will vote. This information will be used to create your entry page. Once I am finished with that, I will send you the link of your page. From that point on, PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!!! Let your friends, family, and fans know that you are in this contest and want to win! :) For full contest rules, click here.
You will have up until April 30th at Midnight (Eastern Time) to enter. Voting will begin on May 1st and will continue through May 8th, and will take place on the front screen of the site.
If you would like to sponsor this contest (provide additional awards, promoting the contest, etc), you can email me here (put FitMom Sponsorship in the subject line)
FitGems Nation is growing by the bit each day, and it's time for this blog to join the main site in its expansion. I'm on the lookout for at least four current competitors that would like to write for FitGems occasionally. I'm looking for one person representing each division (women's bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini). It can be a pro or an amateur. Long story short, I'm giving you a chance to let your voice be heard about your division. :-)
In addition, I'm looking for a legend blogger. By legend, I mean of someone who's competed before but has retired from competition). If you have any ideas on who I should get, or if you would like to write for FitGems , let me know by shooting me an email at email@example.com or leaving a comment below.
Nicole Wilkins-Lee came as a favorite to win for the simple fact that she was the reigning Figure Olympia champion. There were those wondering would the soft trend continue in 2010 or would someone a bit harder take the Figure International title. Whether fans liked it or not (and trust me, there's a lot that DON'T like it one bit), soft is in for figure, and could be in for the long haul as Nicole (with a perfect score) captured the Figure International title. This win makes her the second woman to ever win both the Figure International and Figure Olympia titles, joining the likes of Jenny Lynn. Unlike Jenny, though, Nicole is the first female EVER to simultaneously reign as Figure International AND Figure Olympia champion. All thoughts and feelings aside about the direction of figure, I would like to say congrats to Nicole on this achievement.
For those that wonder where I stand on the whole figure issue, be on the lookout for a blog post about it in the very near future.
Erin Stern was once again runner-up at a figure contest, after she was runner-up at last year's Ft. Lauderdale show. She is someone that MANY people would love to see the new figure look go around. Erin's not hard, but she had an attainable athletic look that no one would mistake her for being a bikini competitor. Presentation is key in figure, and if Erin can nail it soon, I don't see her leaving the top rankings in figure for quite some time, regardless of the trend.
Heather Mae French might just have the soft look that people wouldn't mind see awarded. Personally, I thought she was the more balanced of the top six, and her shape was incredible. I don't get the bright pink, though. Kinda hurts my eyes, and I can see why she might have not gotten 2nd place...or even 1st place. It will be interesting if a simple change in suit color affect her placing, should she decide to leave the pink route. Speaking of suits, her two-piece suits reminds me of a certain former figure competitor that goes by the name of Christine Pomponio-Pate. Click here and here and see if you can spot what I'm talking about.
Mindi Smith's streak of victories came to a end this weekend, as she placed 4th in a tough line-up. Some people said that she looked a bit disappointed when her name was called. Well..she's been hearing nothing but first, first, first her entire figure career, so I think she has every right to feel a bit disappointed. Noticed I said disappointed, not bitter. She came in a bit harder than what she did at the Phoenix Pro, and that might have been her downfall. Nethertheless, she's heading to the Olympia, and will no doubt find a way to make a big statement as a figure star to watch in 2010 and beyond.
Felicia Romero bounced back from a fourth place position at the Phoenix Pro to a fifth place finish at the Arnold. No, that is not a typo. Yes, you're probably wondering how can anyone bounce back from a fourth place finish going to a FIFTH place finish? Simple, her physique improved from the Phoenix Pro. She keeps this up, and she will be back to her winning ways before you say "UNCLE!!" BTW, interesting colors on the one-piece suit, Felicia.
Rounding out the top 6 was someone that surprised me last year, Larissa Reis. The woman looked incredible and muscular, but it flowed evenly. Maybe it's just me, but it seems her legs somewhat overpower the rest of her physique, which isn't surprising as most Brazilian woman have incredible leg structure. If she can balance her legs with her upper body, or vice versa, then she could be a dangerous threat to the figure scene for quite a while.
All six beautiful ladies are set to have a date with destiney, as all six are qualified for the 2010 Figure Olympia.
Rest of the Best:
Monica Brant, the eternal fan favorite, placed just shy out of the top 6, with a smaller yet conditioned physique. If I can count the amount of people that want to see this look of figure awarded again, I would be one rich...fill in the blank. :) Kristi Tauti's tight physique was awarded a eighth-place spot. Andrea Watson aka The Figure Hobbit, made her Arnold debut in awesome faction, despite, like Mindi Smith, her winning streak came to an end as well. She will rebound, just like Rosa Marie Romero, who's coming off the heals of her breakout performance at the Phoenix Pro, which earned her an Olympia qualification. Like I said before, there may not be a more elegent poser in figure like Rosa. She brings something new and different to the table, and it will be interesting to see if she brings it in her first Olympia this September. Monica Mark-Escalante placed 11th, looking FAR better than what she did at the Phoenix Pro. A little more exposure and conditioning on her part, and she will be a force to reckon with in the very near future. Latisha Wilder (who placed 12th) STILL doesn't get any love from the judges, as many people (yours truly) don't seem to get what Latisha is doing wrong. Maybe one day, the judged will get it.Candice Houston and Christina Casoni placed 13th and 14th, respectively. Krissy Chin and Kim Tilden tied for 15th place. Sherlyn Roy (minus her signature flower), Alicia Harris and Angela Mraz round out the deep figure field.
1. Nicole Wilkins-Lee
2. Erin Stern
3. Heather Mae French
4. Mindi Smith
5. Felicia Romero
6. Larissa Reis
7. Monica Brant
8. Kristi Tauti
9. Andrea Watson
10. Rosa-Maria Romero
11. Monica Mark-Escalante
12. Latisha Wilder
13. Candice Houston
14. Christina Casoni
15. Krissy Chin - Tie
15. Kim Tilden - Tie
17. Sherlyn Roy
18. Alicia Harris
19. Angela Mraz
Do you agree or disagree with the placings? Share your thoughts on the comments below.
This was a pretty historic Fitness International contest, as this was the first Arnold that the new fitness judging was applied to, with two rounds instead of four. For those that don't remember, it was the one-piece and 45-sec mandatory routines that were taken away, and only the two-piece and 2-minute routines remain. You could have added or taken away 100 new rounds, but it was a foregone conclusion who was going to win the Fitness International. When the smoke cleared, it was none other than Miss Chica herself, Adela Garcia, standing tall and claiming another Fitness International title. Nice routine and great physique...what more can you ask for? :)
In her homestate of Ohio, Julie Palmer once again claimed the runner-up title, but not before a wee bit of controversy. According to the judges, she had a 2nd-place worthy physique, but a 4th-place worthy routine. She definitely has a nice physique, but I've seen better routines from Julie. Not that the routine she had was bad by any stretch of the imagination...I've seen her do better, that's all.
The one person that many people said got screwed this weekend was Tanji Johnson. Her routine was the 2nd best of the bunch, and one of the big crowd-pleasers. One would have to wonder if a certain King of Pop (May God rest his soul) had anything to do with it. :-) But her physique (according to the judges) was 5th place?!?! Uhh...don't agree on this one. I personally thought she looked nearly on par with her look as last year's Olympia. I would have had her 2nd or 3rd easy for the physique round.
Words can't express how happy I am to see Trish Warren placed where she did this weekend. She was 4th place after a shockingly disappointed showing at last year's Olympia. We saw a new Black Mamba. She was lean, but obviously smaller than last year, which helped her in the physique round, as only Adela and Julie were better than her there. Some people were upset that she had to lose a good deal of muscle to get to this point, but if you saw what she went thought (Go to Muscular Development and view her videos leading up to the Arnold), she didn't slack up on training. She went balls to the wall, and it paid off. Congrats to the Black Mamba on her best placing in a big show yet.
Oksana Grishina is back in the Olympia after a great routine and killer physique she displayed at this year's Arnold. She basically fine-tuned her overall package from the Phoenix Pro, where she competed two weeks ago, and it worked. Some say that she should have been a bit higher than 5th, though.
Camala Rodriquez continues to impress the fitness world, as she rounded out the top 6 in her Arnold debut. Nice routine (Oh yeah, SHE also had a Michael Jackson-inspired routine) and a tight physique, not to mention her Latin flavor, has made Camala quite a favorite in her rookie year. Look for her to be a serious threat in the Olympia later on this year.
The top six will get their chance to showcase their talents at the Granddaddy of Them All in September as these six qualify for the 2010 Fitness Olympia.
Rest of the Best:
Tina Durkin had one of my personal favorite physiques, and could have easily been in the top 6, but she was a few points shy of that mark and was 7th, but she qualified for this year's Olympia after her showing from last year's O. Myriam Capes made her Arnold debut and looked stunning as well, but her routine apparently wasn't up to par with the others above her. No doubt she will make some adjustments for the Olympia. Regiane DaSilva tied with Myriam for 8th place with a good routine and a nice physique, almost too lean...ALMOST. Nicole Duncan, with a cool new hairdo, rounded out the top 10. Arnold Rookies Bethany Wagner, Kizzy Vaines, Sylvia Tremblay (last year's Arnold Amateur Fitness Champion), Kayde Puckett and Allison Ethier (2008 Arnold Amateur Fitness Champion) rounded out the fitness field.
Let's be completely honest here, everyone that was fighting for the Ms. International title was fighting to see who would end up being the runner-up...well, that was the case the minute Iris Kyle stepped on stage during prejudging. This woman seems to have absoultely no weaknesses when it comes to her conditioning, which is second to none in the business. She could seriously give some of the male bodybuilders a run for their money in terms of conditioning. She's that good. With this win, she now has the record for most Ms. International titles with five. Don't be surprised if she topples her own record next year with a sixth title.
Yaxeni Oriquen, another multi-time Ms. International Champion, took runner-up honors. She was smaller than she's been in previous competitions, but still looked great nethertheless. Apparently it seems like Yaxeni has taken Dayana's spot as Iris's biggest competition. We will see what happend when they clash again at the Olympia later on this year.
Third place went to Debi Laszewski. Debi has been coming into her own as of late, as last year she was the Ms. International Runner-Up, and 3rd Place at the Olympia last year as well, her highest placing to date at that contest. If she keeps this up, then she just might...JUST MIGHT..be able to challenge Yaxeni and Iris for female bodybuilding's top honors.
Lisa Aukland took fourth place, keeping her top 5 streak in tact for what has gone on for quite some time. She's always a major threat heading into a major contest, and almost a surefire bet in a open contest.
Betty Parsio continues her own personal streak by placing fifth. I was told that she was the most vascular of the bunch. Much like Lisa, she's a serious threat wherever she goes. As she gets older, she seems to get better in every competition she's in...and she's been in quite a bit of competitions.
Rounding out the top 6 was Dayana Cadeau. While she no longer seems like the thorn to Iris's side as far as championship threat is concerned, Dayana can still go with the best of them, and is among the most elegant of any female bodybuilder our there today. This might be a pet peeve of mine, but I don't think it would hurt for Dayana to smile just a little bit more. That's just me though.
All six ladies will get the chance to showcase their stuff again in September, as they qualified for the 2010 Ms. Olympia.
Rest of the Best:
Zoa Linsey made a great Arnold debut, placing 7th. I was told that Zoa was one of the coolest people to be around at the entire Arnold. Zoa strikes me as someone who's humble and doesn't let success get to her head. That kind of attitude will take her far in life. :) Alina Popa made her Arnold debut as well, and placed 8th. More fine-tuning and she could go places as well. Elena Shportun, last year's Arnold Amateur Women's Bodybuilding champion placed in a respectable 9th place, while Brenda Raganot rounded out the top 10. Antoinette Thompson, Jeannie Paparone, Dena Westerfield, and Mah Ann Mendoza rounded out the Ms. International field.
1. Iris Kyle
2. Yaxeni Oriquen
3. Debi Laszewski
4. Lisa Aukland
5. Betty Pariso
6. Dayana Cadeau
7. Zoa Linsey
8. Alina Popa
9. Elena Shportun
10. Brenda Raganot
11. Antoinette Thompson
12. Jeannie Paparone
13. Dena Westerfield
14. Mah Ann Mendoza
Do you agree or disagree with the placings? Share your thoughts on the comments below.
This evening, history was made in more ways than one. Long story short, Iris Kyle won Ms. International, Adela Garcia won Fitness International, and Nicole Wilkins-Lee won Figure International. Congrats to our new Arnold champions!! A far more-detailed look at each division (as well as my personal thoughts on them) to come later on this week.
Thanks to everyone that voted in the Arnold 2010 polls. According to you, all three current Olympia champions will go on to win this year's Arnold in their respective divisions. Will you be right? We'll find out tonight!
Here's the results of the polls:
Lisa Aukland 9%
Dayana Cadeau 6% Iris Kyle 30%
Debi Laszewski 17%
Mah-Ann Menz 0%
Yaxeni Oriquen Garcia 7%
Jeannie Paparone 2%
Betty Pariso 2%
Alina Popa 13%
Brenda Raganot 6%
Elena Shportun-Willemer 2%
Antoinette Thompson 4%
Dena Westerfield 4%
Myriam Capes 0%
Regain De Silva 3%
Nicole Duncan 0%
Tina Durkin 3%
Allison Either 3% Adela Garcia 37%
Oksana Grishina 6%
Tanji Johnson 23%
Julie Palmer 3%
Kayde Puckett 11%
Camala Rodriguez 3%
Sylvia Tremblay 3%
Kizzy Vaines 0%
Bethany Wagner 0%
Trish Warren 6%
Monica Brant 17%
Cristiana Casoni 6%
Krissy Chin 4%
Alicia Harris 0%
Candice Houston 0%
Heather Mae French 13%
Monica Mark-Escalante 2%
Angela Mraz 4%
Larissa Reis 2%
Felicia Romero 13%
Rosa Marie Romero 0%
Sherlyn Roy 0%
Mindi Smith 4%
Erin Stern 2%
Kristi Tauti 0%
Kim Tilden 0%
Andrea Watson 8%
Latisha Wilder 2% Nicole Wilkins-Lee 23%
Don't forget the catch the free webcast tonight! It will kick off at 7PM Eastern/6PM Central.
To everyone competing at the Arnold this weekend, you've made it. You've made it to a place many competitors only DREAM about. Hence why this special Song of the Week is dedicated to all of you. This is one of the theme songs for WWE Wrestlemania XXVI, and it fits PERFECTLY with this weekend.