The Fitness International battle, in which Oksana Grishina and Tanji Johnson will once again duke it out without Adela Garcia in the way, should be intense. Last year Tanji prevailed, but at the Olympia in September Oksana took second over Tanji (behind Adela). Two weeks later at the Arnold Europe, Tanji, who had brought her best routine in years, beat Oksana. Then, at the Europa Phoenix, with Tanji not in the lineup, Oksana took the top prize. Are you getting the picture? The physique round may be only a third of the score, but it often makes the difference. Can Grishina, who won the routines in all-of-the-above cases, break the bridesmaid habit in Columbus? No reason why not.
A lineup of 15 leaves room for newer faces and repeat challengers like Whitney Jones, Babette Mulford and Melinda Szabo, along with all the usual top-six suspects. Fitness does indeed live.