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A Sport With Attitude

People have been describing the debut of women’s physique, the sport, at the NPC Junior USA as a ”historic event,” which, I have to admit, struck me as kind of over the top. Sure, it was big (but not too big), but compared to, say, the recent passing of a very famous bad man? Hardly earth shaking. On the other hand, it’s not exactly inconsequential in terms of the physique world. For one thing, how often is bikini not the lead story in the contest reports?

Indeed, there’s plenty to explore regarding the Charleston, South, Carolina, competition, which attracted some 45 of the betwixt-and-between (bodybuilding and figure) variety in its initial outing. In perusing the contest galleries, I saw a lot of shapes I liked. I suspect that the decisions were not definitive in terms of the ideal physique physique but, rather, the beginning of an beautiful evolution.

Divided into two height classes, with pro cards going to the height-class winners, the ladies were a promising bunch. As expected, they were as different as different can be in terms of muscularity and conditioning. Topping the 23-woman A-class, Dana Linn Bailey had more than a bit of both, but she was also sporting the most complete body of the group, particularly in the back poses, and she impressed with her posing and presentation. Rachel Baker and Lori Brooks, second and third, respectively, didn’t have a chance.

Amanda Harris’ win in the B-class was a little harder to fathom from afar. Each of the top three—Harris, Natalie Leon and Nola Trimble—had her strong points. Amanda’s look was “softer” than A-class winner Bailey’s, while Leon was softer still, and Trimble’s was the most conditioned of the three. In this case, though, the panel went with the softer-but-not-too-soft approach. To use the old Goldilocks analogy, the nicely balanced Amanda was “just right.”

In the overall balloting, though, it was Dana all the way. As the first NPC women’s physique champion and IFBB pro, she will indeed go down in the history books, at least the ones Steve Wennerstrom keeps.

Photo of Dana Linn Bailey courtesy of As a fan of women’s posing routines in general, I’m happy to see the athletes getting creative.

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