Thursday, February 28, 2019

Arnold 2019 Predictions

Photo credit: Arnold Sports Festival website

It's time for the biggest weekend that is NOT the Olympia...the Arnold Sports Festival! Also known as the "kickoff" to the competition season, some of the best in women's physique, fitness, figure, and bikini (as well as the men's divisions) take over Columbus, Ohio, and one of the most simple cities in America becomes the muscle capital of the world for one weekend. There's a very good chance I butchered my predictions here (wouldn't be the first time. LMAO), but here are my predictions for how I think the weekend will play out:


The Women's Physique International has never had a repeat champion since the contest's debut in 2015. That trend will continue this year as last year's winner and current Ms. Physique Olympia Shanique Grant will not be defending her title. After an amazing year last year for Natalia Coelho, she is considered by many to be the odds-on favorite to win her first major title. People have seemed to forgotten how good Natalia really is despite her success in the industry thus far, but I have a feeling people are going to get a very good reminder of just how amazing of a competitor Natalia really is. Her biggest competitor in my eyes might be a surprise to a lot of you: I have Lauren Rutan challenging her for the title. Lauren is one of the most incredible muscle athletes of all time and her IFBB career has barely begun. She has competed in powerlifting, weightlifting, and CrossFit at the Arnold, and with her competing in women's physique, she will enter a class of her own being the only person (male or female) to compete in the Arnold in four different events. I can't think of any other person that has done this feat. If it indeed comes down to Lauren and Natalia, we are in for a treat. The rest of the field is kinda a toss-up to me. I have Sheronica in 3rd, Valentine in 4th, Antoniette in 5th, and Margita rounding out the top 6. My dark horse for this event is Diana Schnaidt, one of the most underrated competitors in women's physique. Maybe 2019 will be the year she shakes things up there!

My Women's Physique International predictions:

1. Natalia Coelho
2. Lauren Rutan
3. Sheronica Henton
4. Valentina Mishina
5. Antoinette Downie
6. Margita Zamolova


2018 saw the post-Oksana Grishina era of the fitness division begin with a bang with Whitney Jones winning 2018 Fitness International title (with a torn ACL!) as well as the 2018 Fitness Olympia, making her the new Queen of Fitness. This weekend, Whitney will be defending her title against some great competition, however there will be no Ariel Khadr (injury) or Myriam Capes (business ordeals) in this year's events. Looking at the field, I expect Whitney to repeat as champion. Ryall Graber, who was the 2018 Fitness Olympia runner-up, to me is her top competitor. I also predict Missy to have her best finish at the Arnold to date. Kate Errington came out of nowhere last year and was the 2018 Fitness International runner-up. I have her finishing 4th because of how good Ryall has been and how improved Missy has become. Definitely not a knock on Kate, mind you. I have Sara and Allison rounding out the top six, with Tiffany Chandler as my dark horse pick.

My Fitness International predictions:

1. Whitney Jones
2. Ryall Graber
3. Missy Farell
4. Kate Errington
5. Sara Kovach
6. Allison Ethier


The figure division just gets deeper and deeper each year, with Candice Lewis-Carter and Cydney Gillon running things in 2018 winning the Figure International and Figure Olympia titles respectively. Candice will not be stepping on stage for the foreseeable future and Latorya Watts is still hoping to return sometime this year (still recovering from last year's injury/surgery) as well as no Heather Dees or Ivana Ivusic this time around, leaving Cydney as the odds-on favorite to win her first Figure International title. I see her biggest competition being Nadia Wyatt, who came from almost out of nowhere last year and placed 3rd at the 2018 Figure International. She definitely looked great alongside Cydney and could potentially upset Cydney and win her first major title. Jessica, Sandra, Bojana, and Maria all finished well at the 2018 Olympia, and I personally expect nothing less from them and see them rounding out the top six. One person who I think could shake things up is Wendy Fortino, who will be making her long-overdue Figure International debut. If anyone can make the top six, it's her.

My Figure International Predictions:

1. Cydney Gillon
2. Nadia Wyatt
3. Jessica Reyes Padilla
4. Sandra Grajales
5. Bojana Vasiljevic
6. Maria Luisa Baeza Diaz


For the last couple of years, Angelica Teixeria has ruled the bikini division, but she will not be defending her Bikini International title this year. I feel Janet Layng is long overdue for her first major title, and I do think she has a chance to win this weekend, but because the Arnold is in Columbus and hometown folks do everything in their power to come in at their best in front of their family and friends, I'm going to go with Ashley Kaltwasser to win another Bikini International title. I see Ashley as a SLIGHT favorite but not by much. This might be the tightest contest of the night when it comes to the difference between 1st and 2nd place, but I could be wrong here. Rounding out my top 6 are Elisa, Marcia, Camile, and Frida, who I feel on the verge of a breakout in the bikini division. My dark horse pick is Ashley Jenelle. (NOTE: I had India Paulino on my top 6, but I was informed that she is not competing this weekend. My apologies)

My Bikini International predictions:

1. Ashley Kaltwasser
2. Janet Layng
3. Elisa Pecini
4. Marcia Goncalves
5. Camile Periat
6. Frida Paulsen Stern

This is shaping up to be quite the event. For those that are not in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, you can view the festivities at this link: REDCON1 will be providing over 70 hours of LIVE coverage of all the big events of the Arnold Sports Festival. And we will do our best to keep you all updated on the pro events via our social media platforms. Best of luck to all the competitors this weekend!

No comments: