COLUMBUS, Ohio—You might say Jenny Lynn set the tone at the second-ever Figure International competition, which was held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and Greater Columbus Convention Center on March 5, 2004. Lynn was just right, according to the judges, who awarded the 5'5' trainer from Alamo, California, her second-consecutive title with a perfect score against Monica Brant and Susie Curry and the rest of a stunning lineup of 13 world-class figure competitors. That it was a controversial decision was a given. That Lynn would end up the champ was not. The story thus far. Lynn beat Brant at this show last year but lost to her at the Olympia, finishing third behind Mo, with both of them losing to Davana Medina. Curry carried a top-three physique throughout her years as the queen of fitness, but folks questioned whether the panel's affection for it would carry over to figure without her excellent routine to back it up.
That's all she wrote. With power-brunette Medina sitting this one out, the contest quickly turned into a battle of the blonde-shells as Monica, Jenny and Susie, who was sporting sufficient highlights to qualify, made the first callout. They were joined there in both rounds by Jaime Franklin, as fine an example of the Femalica blondica as ever crossed a stage. Although Curry actually beat Monica in the first round, she wasn't really a factor. Nor was Franklin, who moved into the money with a fourth-place finish overall. For most folks in the hall, though, the conflict came down to the two goldiloxen from California, Lynn and Brant, who found themselves standing in the spotlight together for the second time, waiting to find out who'd be the first runner-up. Or, as Bette Midler, famously quoting Joan Crawford, said, clutching two statues to her bosom at an awards ceremony in 1980, 'I'll show you a pair of Golden Globes.'
Here's how the physiques stacked up.
Jenny vs. Monica and Susie: the Goldilocks syndrome? So much of this is personal taste, of course. (Is the porridge too hot or too cold?) The 5'5' Lynn has a drop-dead-gorgeous body. So has Brant, who's also 5'5' but is arguably more of a mesomorph. Both were in excellent condition. Brant was more defined from the front'her quads were well separated'but overall her look wasn't quite as hard as it had been at the Olympia last October and was definitely improved from her matchup with Jenny at the '03 International. Did the judges think she looked too hard standing next to Susie and the highly symmetrical Jenny? Hard to say.
From the rear view, Lynn had the more chiseled condition, displaying some serious back detail and a nicely toned glute/ham connection, but was her back maybe too tight? Brant wasn't exactly soft from that angle, with basic anatomy visible but not too visible in her upper body and everything buff from the waist down.
At 5'3' Curry is shorter than the other two and has a more curvy upper body, thanks to a pair of flaring lats the judges have always been partial to. Looking to come in fuller than she did when she picked up her fourth Fitness O title last fall, Susie was third out of the three on the hardness scale.
Whose flow of bodyparts do you like best? Obviously the judges liked Jenny. They liked Mo second-best in the two-piece suits but, once again, not so much in the one-piece comparisons, where Curry edged her out for second by a single point. The final scores had Lynn with a perfect 10, Brant trailing in second with 24 points and Curry, who tied with Franklin for third in the two-piece round, earning 31 points to take third at this top-three Olympia qualifier. That makes her the second Fitness O champ (after Monica) to advance to the big show in a second sport.
Everybody else. Brant's one-piece swimsuit aside, the judges were pretty consistent in their likes and dislikes between the two rounds. Franklin, seventh at the Olympia, presented a polished physique, leaner than she's been, and pushed past Mari Kudla-Donnelly, Dina Al-Sabah and D.J. Wallis to move up to fourth, while Wallis, sixth at the O, pushed past the other two to move into the top five. They were all in fine shape, but not everyone in the stands might have put them in that order. Al-Sabah, in particular, keeps getting better and looked fabulous in a frosty-tan one-piece that blended with her skin tone and sculpted her tiny waist, and there were plenty of defenders in the stands for Wallis' wasplike midsection and 5'3' of statuesque muscular contours.
Elaine Goodlad, sixth here last year and 11th at the Olympia, landed in eighth, while Sharon Kouvaras repeated her ninth-place showing from the O. Freshman Amber Littlejohn tied for 10th at the Jim Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger'produced event, with Christine Forlifer, Monica Guerra and Christine Bergeron, in order, rounding out the lineup. Any and all of them have the potential to shake things up before the end of the season, particularly '03 NPC National champ Littlejohn.
Prognosis for the future? Who could handicap this horse race? Jenny and Mo continue to enjoy the spotlight, and Medina, who advanced from third in Columbus to queen of the sport by Olympia time last year, will certainly have something to say when the ladies line up in October. For her efforts at this competition Jenny picked up 10 grand of the $30,000 total purse, along with a crystal trophy and a $20,000 'T3' watch. IM
'04 Figure International
1) Jenny Lynn*
2) Monica Brant*
3) Susie Curry*
4) Jaime Franklin
5) D.J. Wallis
6) Mari Kudla-Donnelly
7) Dina Al-Sabah
8) Elaine Goodlad
9) Sharon Kouvaras
10) Amber Littlejohn (tie)
10) Christina Forlifer
12) Monica Guerra
13) Christine Bergeron
*Qualifies for the Figure Olympia.