February 25, 2002 Report
COLUMBUS, Ohio-Two- time Fitness Olympia Champ Susie Curry continued her dominance the IFBB pro fitness circuit with a solid victory in the Fitness International, which was held on February 22 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Acing both Physique rounds, as she had at the Olympia, and earning second and third place honors in the routine rounds, Curry coasted to a 16-point win over Olympia runner-up-and defending fitness I champ-Jenny Worth and a lineup that included 14 of the world's most fabulously fit females.
Acing both physique rounds, as she had at the Olympia, and earning second- and third-place honors in the routine rounds, Curry coasted to a 16-point win over Olympia runner-up’and defending Fitness I champ’Jenny Worth and a lineup that included 14 of the world’s most fabulously fit females. Nevertheless, there were a few surprises, starting with the absence of ’00 Fitness I winner Kelly Ryan, who threw her back out a week before the contest, disappointing fans hoping for a repeat three-way matchup with Curry and Worth. That left the way clear for local favorite Jenny Hendershott to move up to third, nabbing an Olympia qualification at the season opener, with Adela Garcia-Friedmansky landing in fourth and Stacy Simons giving her best performance at a major show to date to round out the top five.
Despite the absence of Ryan and Aleksandra Kobielak, who was also forced to pull out of the show due to an injury, it was one tough group of whirlers and twirlers. Performance-round whiz Klaudia Kinska and her beautifully improved physique finally got the judges’ attention and undoubtedly would have finished third had she not done the mandatory movements out of order to earn a last-place finish in round 2. Also getting some notice was ’01 NPC National champ Tanji Johnson, who took seventh in her pro debut. Eighth was Laura Mak, with Shannon Meteraud, returning to the stage after the birth of her first child, finishing ninth and Laurie Vaniman landing in 10th. Nicole Hobbs was 11th, with Jenny Lynn taking 12th; Jennie Hanke, 13th; and Kary Odiatu, 14th.
It was Curry’s third time to be standing, blushing in the winner’s circle with promoter Arnold Schwarzenegger (she won the International in ’98 and ’99). She’ll face the same cast of characters when she attempts to keep the momentum going at the Olympia in October. For a look at all the competitors, check out our Fitness International contest photo gallery of this Web site.
Ms. International: Talk About Your Revelations
COLUMBUS, Ohio’When Yaxeni Oriquen slid in to third behind Iris Kyle and Vickie Gates in the Heavyweight class at the ’01 Ms. Olympia, little did observers imagine that she’d be leaving them in the dust four months later. Shame on us. Oriquen, for whom the process of slimming down her physique began with her fourth-place finish at the ’01 Ms. International, was nothing short of a revelation at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on February 22, displaying a sleeker waist and V-taper that even she didn’t know she had under all that muscle. She took the Heavyweight class by 28 points before triumphing over Lightweight winner Valentina Chepiga to take the Overall crown as well.
Lightweight. Yes, that would be the same Valentina Chepiga who won the Heavyweight Ms. Olympia title in 2000, then dropped to fourth last year. Apparently, she dropped a pound, which dropped her below the 135-pound cutoff for the Heavies and into a 10-woman lineup that saw her flex to a 17-point victory over defending champ Dayana Cadeau. Fannie Barrios, who also looked trimmer than the physique she displayed at the Olympia, was the judging panel’s solid choice for third, with Cathy LeFrancois-Priest in fourth and Angela Debatin earning the last top-five spot. Denise Masino was sixth, with Yaz Boyum in seventh; Sophie Duquette, eighth; ’01 British champ Dawn Sutherland, ninth; and Jennifer McVicar, 10th.
Absent from the lineup was ’00 Ms. O Lightweight Andrulla Blanchette, who arrived in Ohio ready to get onstage but without having signed a contract, and she was not permitted to compete. Needless to say, controversy ensued. Look for more on that story in the Ms. International contest report in an upcoming issue of IRONMAN.
Heavyweight. There were seven Heavyweights, and after Oriquen snagged the center spot in the first callout of rounds 1 and 2, it was simply a question of whether three-time Ms. I Vickie Gates or Iris Kyle, who swiped the ’01 Ms. O Heavyweight title out from under Gates’ nose, would be the runner-up. Once again the nod went to Kyle, in this case by a seven-point margin, and Gates had to settle for third for the first time in a long time. Gayle Moher took fourth, with Betty Pariso in fifth, ’01 North American champ Lisa Aukland in sixth and Pauliina Talus in seventh.
Oriquen, who was fourth in this contest last year, cried tears of joy at her best placing ever. You’ll find shots of all the Ms. International flexers in the Contest Coverage section of this Web site.