Last year, I attended my first Arnold Sports Festival, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. One of the biggest highlights for me was to witness history taking place with the first-ever Women's Physique International, which featured Dana Linn Bailey, Tycie Coppett, Sabrina Taylor, and Juliana Malcarne, who would end up winning the inaugural title. It was treated like the other International events as invite-only competitions but the only difference was that the prejudging AND finals was part of the expo itself, which meant that those who went to the expo got their money's worth and then some. I thought that was a great way to introduce the pro women's physique division to the Arnold and enjoyed every minute of it.
This year, the invite part for the Women's Physique International is no longer there, as this year's competition is in the form of send in a contract and if it got in by the deadline, you were in. So instead of a select few from last year, there will be a total of 54 competitors for the women's physique portion of the show.
Yes, 54 women's physique competitors will step on stage at the 2nd-ever Arnold Pro Women's Physique International. That's more than the Fitness, Figure, and Bikini International competitors...COMBINED.
I know I'm going to receive some heat for what I'm about to say, but it needs to be said...this takes away any prestige that the Arnold event had for the women's physique division to allow THAT MANY competitors in a competition that is supposed to be reserved for the top competitors in the sport, sans the Olympia. As much as I respect every competitor, not everyone can or should make it to the big stage. It's called a COMPETITION for a reason, and the Arnold and Olympia are competitions that is reserved for those who have earned that right to compete. It's like inviting every single football player to play the Super Bowl, every basketball player to the NBA Finals, every pro wrestler to compete in Wrestlemania...that's not how it should work. Maybe I'm old school and appreciate tradition more, I don't know. Maybe there's an interior motive regarding this change that I don't know about.
With that being said...I don't blame anyone for entering the contest this way. If my dream was to compete in the Arnold and all I had to do was turn in a contract by a certain deadline rather than turning in a request and hoping I get selected, I would be on it in a heartbeat. I'm not stupid. For the 54 competitors, this will be seen as an opportunity to get recognized on a big stage and that's how you make a name for yourself in an industry filled with amazing physiques, you have to get yourself noticed. What better way to do that than at the biggest fitness show in the world that's not the Olympia! With Juliana Malacarne NOT defending her title this year, a new champion will be crowned. I will say it will be interesting to see with that many women on stage how in the world the judges will pick who will go on to the finals, let alone a winner. Congrats to everyone that will be competing at this year's contest and best of luck to all of you! Have fun and make this an experience you will never forget!
To view the names of everyone competing, go here: http://npcnewsonline.com/54-ifbb-womens-physique-competitors-will-be-competing-at-this-years-2016-arnold/253662/. Feel free to comment below on your personal thoughts on the matter.