Is it too soon to talk about the Arnold? It can’t be because a couple of days ago Helen Yu out at the IRON MAN office sent e-mail confirmation of my reservation for the Doubletree Guest Suites in Columbus, Ohio, on March 4 through 7, 2010. Sure, I know the invites to the athletes for the Ms., Fitness and Figure International competitions—as well as those for the Arnold Classic—won’t be out for a week or two (they don’t call ’em the physique world’s favorite stocking stuffers for nothing), but I’ve been thinking about the big weekend in Ohio every since the IFBB Pro League announced its schedule for next year in late October.
Talk about surprised. If I had a nickel for every new or switching-from-figure bikini pro who said to me last summer or in early fall that she’d be putting in for an invite to the “Bikini International,” I’d have bus fare (including transfer) to the actual first-ever IFBB pro-bikini competition, which as of today will take place on March 27 in Culver City, California, in conjunction with Jon Lindsay’s NPC MuscleContest ’10 Championships. Though I can think of a few people who were probably in the know on this subject, the presumption that pro bikini would have it’s birth in Columbus was so prevalent that most folks were caught off-guard. That included me, although I had to chuckle. If Jim Lorimer and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had decided to wait a bit on pro bikini for the prestigious Arnold Sports Festival, perhaps there was hope for civilization. Besides, I know how much Jim prides himself that the shows are really international competitions, and the amateur bikini division is not a world-wide development so far in the IFBB. The majority of the new pros are from the USA, with just a couple coming from Canada.
Turns out pro bikini just wasn’t in the budget for the ASF. “Financially, it’s another $30,000 in prize money alone,” said Lorimer when I spoke with him last month. He added that he and his team are expecting athletes from 60 nations competing in more than 40 events, including 12 Olympic sports, in 2010. (Already added to the program this year are amateur strongman, amateur mixed martial arts, skateboarding and figure skating.)
So it’s also an issue of scheduling. As Jim said, “We already have three women’s shows.”
Bikini is on the schedule of the IFBB Amateur Arnold, where, he said, “We’ll be monitoring it to see how it goes.”
Fair enough, Jim, and in the meantime I’ll be monitoring the competition for those stocking stuffers mentioned above. According to the News section at ArnoldSportsFestival.com, the winners of the four pro competitions will receive, in addition to the prize money and other goodies, a bronze body sculpture of their physique, presented by Eaglewood Sculpts of Imlay City, Michigan. Just a little something to hang on the wall. Nice.
Check back here in a couple of weeks to find out which ladies will be headed to Columbus in March.
Photo: How many of these bikini class winners from the ’09 NPC Nationals will make their debuts at the MuscleContest Pro Bikini Championship on March 27? Come to think of it, holding the first pro-bikini competition in Cali, just a few miles from Muscle Beach, makes perfect sense. From left: Trina Goosby, Erica Reder, Alea Suarez, Tianna Ta, Jessica Anderson and Stefanie Lindsey.
For the record, the IFBB Pro League’s 2010 schedule includes 11 pro-bikini-contests dates plus one projected show in New Zealand, date to be announced, that would probably take place earlier in March than the Culver City event. For info on the MuscleContest event, click here.