Reported January 20, 2004
'04 NPC IRONMAN Figure Championships: Win a Shoot With Neveux
Youzer, youzer, youzer, ladies. If you've had any thoughts at all about putting your butt on the line in an NPC figure competition, there's no better opportunity to get your whole petootie wet than the IRONMAN Figure Championships. Once again we're holding the show in conjunction with the IFBB IRONMAN Pro men's bodybuilding contest. The date is February 21; the place, the historic Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.
The gal pictured on the opener to this story won overall at the IM Figure last year, and two months later she was a pro. Eight months after that she competed in the '03 Figure Olympia. Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen to you. Clearly, Hannah Park had all the right the stuff for a quick ride to the top. If you think you've got it too, now could be your time to break out of the pack.
And did I mentioned that the winner of the NPC IRONMAN Figure show will once again earn a photo shoot with famed photog Michael Neveux'and a Hardbody layout in a future issue of IRONMAN? Now that I have, need I say more? For info click here.
Call to Columbus: And the lucky athletes who are going to the Arnold are…
Those are some lineups promoters Jim Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger have put together for their annual Arnold Fitness Weekend. I'm talking about the women's physique competitions'although the matchup in the Arnold Classic (Jay Cutler vs. the world) is nothing to sneeze at. The competitor lists for the bodybuilding, fitness and figure events scheduled for March 5 should pretty much set the course for the season's drama in all three women's sports, starting with the Ms. International, where a notable absence will make things very interesting.
With '03 lightweight champ Cathy Lefrancois-Priest defecting to figure (yes, you read that right; see below), the field is wide open for Dayana Cadeau and Denise Masino to slug it out for the top spot. Masino was second last year, but Cadeau, who landed in fourth, was having an off day and beat Denise at the Olympia, where Cadeau finished a slim four points behind class winner Juliette Bergmann. The other lightweights who'll be trying to get a shot in edgewise are all veterans of Columbus' Veterans Memorial Auditorium, including Fannie Barrios, Angela Debatin, Sophie Duquette and Brenda Raganot.
Speaking of slugfests, in the Ms. International heavyweights two-time overall winner Yaxeni Oriquen will defend her title against a lineup led by Iris Kyle and including Betty Viana, Canadian newcomer Christine Roth and reigning USA and National champs, Bonnie Priest and Annie Rivieccio. Recent history shows Kyle beating Oriquen at the Olympia but not at this show. Good luck.
The Fitness International brings the biggest question: Will it be Kelly Ryan's year now that Susie Curry has moved on to figure? The list of women Ryan will have to fight off in Columbus includes Olympia third-placer Adela Garcia-Friedmansky, Jen Hendershott, Tracey Greenwood, Stacy Hylton, Anna Level, Kim Klein, Stacy Simons, Julie Palmer and Tanji Johnson, along with two rookies, '03 USA overall winner Angela Semsch and National champ Carla Freda. Laurie Vaniman, who was on the invite list, had to withdraw due to injury.
Speaking of Susie Curry, no sooner did the three-time Fitness O and three-time Fitness I winner hang up her cat suit than she surprised no one by switching to figure and securing an invitation to the International. That ought to shake things up in the anticipated rematch between '03 winner Jenny Lynn and another former Fitness O winner, Monica Brant. The runner-up at this show last year'as well as at the Olympia'Brant beat Lynn at the O but not at the Show of Strength. At one time or another Curry has beaten both of them in physique rounds.
With Figure Olympia champ Davana Medina busy enjoying the perks of her title until it's time to defend it in October, this could be a very interesting threeway showdown. Lynn, Brant and Curry will be joined onstage in Columbus by a veritable who's who in figure, including Mari Kudla, Dina Al-Sabah, D.J. Wallis, Jaime Franklin, Sharon Kouvaras and Elaine Goodlad. Also tapped were Monica Guerra, Christine Forlifer, Christine Bergeron and '03 Figure National overall champ Amber Littlejohn, who was the only rookie to make the list.
For more commentary on all of the above, check out Pump & Circumstance in the upcoming March '03 issue of IRONMAN. For more on the Arnold Fitness Weekend women's physique competitions, go to www.arnoldclassic.com.
Big Names Switching to Figure
You wouldn't exactly call it a flood, but there sure has been a steady stream of pro women converting their figures for figure competition for reasons other than that they did not excel in the routines. Of course, you know about Susie Curry's moving on to figure due to injuries, and numerous others have made the switch, at least temporarily, for the same reason, including Tammy Leady, Ally Bookless and now Lisa Reed.
This season's converts-to-figure are coming from bodybuilding as well as fitness, however, and the reasons are not about injuries. (Hint, hint.) Cathy Lefrancois-Priest, who won the Ms. International lightweight class in 2003, recently became the biggest name to give up getting bigger since Kim Chizevsky retired her hamstring striations in 1999. She's not the only one. Kim Harris, who, like Lefrancois-Priest, was flexing in the '03 Ms O just a couple of months ago, also registered with the IFBB Pro Division as a figure competitor for 2004. So did Karina Nascimeto, who made a promising flex-for-pay debut at the '03 Ms. I.
For Cathy Priest the decision came in part because she'd already gotten bigger and harder than she liked (more on her decision in an upcoming Pump & Circumstance, in IRONMAN). For those who are keeping score, that's four talented competitors with so-called smaller physiques fleeing into figure.
Ms. Fitness on TV
On another note entirely, fitness fans looking for a break from football, basketball, hockey, et al., will want to check out the Ms. Fitness USA and Ms. Fitness World finals, currently running on the Fox Sports Net. Check your local listings.