Fitness overall honors at the ’10 Junior Nationals on June 17 and 18—and a pro card—went to Nicole Venzara, a cheerleader and recent college grad from Florida who wowed the judges and fans with a solid physique and energetic Hawiian-themed routine. Seventeen women got their groove on in Rosemont, Illinois, near Chicago, on June 17 and 18 hoping to earn the one pro card up for grabs at this event. Despite that number—a far cry from the days when we would watch 50-plus routines at fitness pro qualifiers, the days before figure and bikini—I am encouraged for the sport of fitness. In fact, it was another number, the 14 gals who turned up for the Toronto Pro Fitness competition on the same weekend, that sparked my positive thoughts. I was also encouraged by the makeup of that lineup—which included a slew of recent pros from the U.S. and Canada. It was good to see the new fitness generation coming out, not to mention an unexpected outcome in which front-runner Myriam Capes was upset by newcomer Jodi Boam.
Also encouraging for the future of fitness, at least the immediate future: The new Arnold Classic Europe, which the Governator, his partner Jim Lorimer and IFBB President Rafael Santonja are producing in Madrid on October 8 and 9, will feature two IFBB pro competitions, men’s bodybuilding and fitness. If Arnold and Jim build it, you know they will come. Find details of the post-Olympia event, which will include amateur competitions in bodybuilding, fitness, figure and bikini as well, as they develop, at www.ArnoldClassicEurope.com.
So the Big Fella is banking on fitness, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Arnold and Jim value athletic achievement, and none of the women’s physique sports showcase athleticism the way fitness does.
As for the amateurs, the fitness ranks should be swelling soon. In two weeks the Team Universe Championships will take place in Teaneck, New Jersey. This show is a pro card bonanza, with the top two in each class getting cards in fitness as well as in figure and bikini, plus cards going to the overall bodybuilding winners and various masters winners in bodybuilding, figure and bikini. (For info on that one go to www.BevFrancis.com.) Sadly, the new fitness pros won’t be able to make their debuts until after the Olympia, which takes place in mid-September. Or, looking at it another way, they’ll have that much longer to rehearse.