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Fitness Olympia-"Bring Me the Head of Adela Garcia."

770rb0033If the above obscure film reference isn’t what Tracey Greenwood and the rest of the gang are chanting as they head into Las Vegas for the ’09 Fitness Olympia on September 25, it should be. With chica suprema Adela Garcia—who came back from a torn ACL to score a decisive win at the Super Show in August—considered by pretty much everyone to be cinch to earn her fourth Olympia crown, game gals like Greenwood, Julie Palmer and Tanji Johnson will have to be ready with their best shots to keep the panel from thinking it’s a foregone conclusion too.

That said, I won’t be betting against Adela to harpoon her fourth title. As with the Figure O lineup, some gaps from previous years will affect the outcome. In this case, though, eliminating the steep competition from Jen Hendershott, reigning Olympia and International champ, who’s sitting this one out, and Kim Scheidler, multi-time runner-up, who’s retired from the sport, only makes Garcia’s theoretical win look even more likely.

“Boring,” says my friend, photographer Reg Bradford. He says that about Iris Kyle’s likely win at the Ms. Olympia as well. As I always say, I love surprises, but if I get to see Garcia back at the top of her form, that’s the beginning of a great show. The best thing about fitness is that the routines are entertaining, the opposite of boring, no matter who wins.

Reg would also call boring my predictions for the rest of the top three. Julie Palmer and Tracey Greenwood have been playing I-know-you-are-but-so-am-I just behind the leaders for some years. In the most recent round, Jules took the runner-up spot at the ’08 Olympia, while Tracey was number two at the ’09 International (in both cases behind Hendershott). Both have good physiques—IMHO Palmer’s shape may be the best in pro fitness—and both have improved their routines beyond recognition since their rookie days. Still, I’m thinking that Greenwood, who has worked her way up to contender status in the routines and who’s riding a win at the Atlantic City Pro last weekend, will l have the edge to finish second in Vegas, with Jules landing in third.

Another thing that will not be boring at the ’09 Fitness Olympia also has to do with the routines: Garcia has a good track record—she’s even beaten Hendershott—but without divas Jen and Kim in the mix, there’s a huge opportunity for one of the many talented ladies who have qualified to pull out all the stops and get rewarded for it. Anyone who can do that and bring a decent physique to the stage stands a real chance of moving up.

Here’s my fantasy top placers. There will be 12 in this lineup, so I’m only gonig down to eight:

1) Adela Garcia
2) Tracey Greenwood
3) Julie Palmer
4) Tanji Johnson
5) Regiane DaSilva
6) Myriam Capes
7) Tina Durkiin
8) Shannon Meteraud

That leaves Nicole Duncan, Mindi O’Brien, Bethany Wagner and Trish Warren to prove me wrong.

819mp0852Postscript. This’ll be the last pro fitness competition in which the athletes perform 45-second routines and are judged in one-piece suits. The IFBB announced last week. Gotta make time for all those pro-bikini gals to do their stridin’ and snappin’ when the new division gets going

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand the decision and am hardly surprised. With the addition of bikini, something had to give, and I have to admit, I won’ I be sorry to see the one-pieces go. Still, I can’t help being a bit sad at the downscaling of a sport I’ve enjoyed covering since it’s inception in the late ’80s.

Plus I will miss the cat suits. It took a few years for the IFBB to decide what the fourth round should be before it settled on the 45-second, mandatory-moves routines. I’ve always enjoyed them as a real test of the athletes’ skills. To me that’s a lot more entertaining than watching 20 babes in bikinis snap to the rear, but, then, it could be I’m the only person in the press pit who feels that way.

So the press pit at the Olympia Expo—in the Las Vegas Convention Center—is where you’ll find me on Friday, September 25, at the very end of the women’s prejudging, when the cats meow for one last time. Hope you’ll join me.

Look for my Fitness Olympia wrap-up video after the show at


Adela Garcia (top) played the pirate in 2007.

Tracey Greenwood does a cat suit proud.

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