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Handicapping the Figure Race. Oh, Boy

Before you remark that it’s a little early to be discussing these things, consider that there are already 21 women qualified for the Figure Olympia, which is set for September 28 in Las Vegas. After a trip through our photo galleries from the recent California and Colorado Pro events, I found a few ideas germinating in my mind regarding the ’07 pennant race in the physique sport that nobody understands, really. My catalyst was IRON MAN lens master and Web meister Roland Balik, who’s still in his first full season covering the muscle world. Now, Roland’s a good guy and a pleasure to work with, but he’s new to the scene doesn’t understand how it goes—or doesn’t—on the pro-physique circuit. Still, he’s been looking at the photos and getting to know the competitors, and after he did his thing with the shots from the Colorado show, he posed a question: “Do you think there will be a Sonia Adcock vs. Valerie Waugaman showdown in 2007?”

Trust a photographer named Balik to be drawn to the best-looking faces. And to a great photo-op: 5’ Sonia and 5’7 ½” Val quarter-turning it out in make-love-to-me pumps. Now, that’s a cover.

Since I took his question to mean, will the whole ball of wax come down to that dynamic duo this year, I probably should have told him, gently, that he ain’t seen nothing yet. There’d be a whole new round of winners to wonder about before the season’s end. Eager to impress my new colleague, though, I whipped off a detailed reply.

Said I, “That is an interesting notion, since they are both excellent competitors. The reality is that, when we get to the Olympia, Sonia will be in the top five, Valerie will finish somewhere below her, and Jenny Lynn will probably win, with Mary Lado and Amanda Savell rounding out the top three and Monica Brant in the mix as well.”

Having surprised myself with what appears to be my Olympia prediction (I’m usually so shy about these things), I got back to the comparison at hand and launched into a short dissection of the politics that could be at work when next Adcock and Waugaman meet in a figure lineup (not what you think, so wipe that smug smile off your face). I also mentioned that so far Adcock, the breakout rookie of the year, has been more consistent in her conditioning than Waugaman, who was back in form at the Figure International, where she moved up to fifth (from eighth last year) but Sonia got third.

Bottom line, said I: The Western and West Coast judges, in particular, tend to like Valerie (check her contest history), but not enough to put her of ahead of So Cal–based Sonia.

Sonia the giant killer? Roland will be real impressed if it turns out I’m right. I’ll be impressed if something else happens. No dis to either of them, but this cynical observer just loves surprises.

The next time Adcock and Waugaman face off will in fact be the Olympia, as Sonia is reportedly leaving some prize money for the other girls and resting up till then. Val, in the meantime, will be taking her bodyparts to Houston on July 21 for a match that would test the mettle of the most well-equipped figure athlete on earth: a threeway with Monica Brant v Adela Garcia.

Now, that’s a cover.

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