A couple of classics came back into style last Saturday night in Dallas, as former Olympia champs Adela Garcia and Jenny Lynn swept the fields at the ’09 Europa Super Show Pro Fitness and Figure competitions. Two very different comebacks were on the line—Garcia from the knee injury that has kept her on the bench in figure as well as fitness since the ’07 Olympia, which she won, and Lynn from the slump, for want of a better word, that started after her second figure win at that very same Olympia.
Strong fields in both sports kept it from being easy, based on reports from the scene inside the Dallas Convention Center. Adela came on strong with her petite package in premium condition and her performance in the routine rounds inspired. If she was nervous at first—and who wouldn’t be after surviving the ups and downs of rehab?—she quickly realized, along with everyone else in the hall, that the chica had indeed landed (safely) again, The flood confidence and charisma that drove her routines compelled the panel to give her the edge in those rounds as well as the physique comparisons, making the three-time Fitness Olympia champ the odds-on favorite to retake her title on September 25. In this lineup of 15 Olympia-hungry challengers, Adela won every round—with perfect fives in the two physique rounds and sevens in the routines.
Forty points separated Garcia from runner-up Myriam Capes, but only two stood between Capes and third-placer Nicole Duncan. That can only mean—you guessed it—the scores were all over the place. As were the competitors’ considerable talents:
I’ve been a Myriam Capes’ fan since she hit the scene at the aforementioned ’07 Olympia. Disappointed that she just missed qualifying in 2008 with a fourth-place landing in Atlantic City, Capes came back in ’09 with a vengeance, tumbling into fifth at the New York Pro and bounding up to second at the Show of Champions in Orlando earlier in the season. Continuing physique improvements along with even faster-growing pizzazz to her presentation, brought her another top-two finish—and some serious momentum going into the O.
Speaking of bounding, Duncan was coming off a 14th-place finish at the Fitness International in early March. Though it’s not usually her strong suit, she did well enough in the physique rounds, fourth, to propel her dynamic routines into third overall.
Just three points behind Nicole—and just missing a qualification to the big show—Bethany Wagner had observers’ tongues waging when the panel stood her next to Adela in the body rounds. Come routine time, though, her able performances couldn’t quite come up to the current generated by Garcia, Capes and Duncan., and she had to settle for fourth.
Speaking of generating energy, the fifth spot went to Latica “Action” Jackson, with Kristina Rojas, sixth; Michelle Mayberry, seventh; Stephanie Irick, eighth, Nita Marquez in her pro debut ninth; and Siene Silva rounding out the top 10.
Now on to Super Show Pro Figure and Jenny Lynn’s journey back to the winner’s circle.
Jenny, who’s been around long enough to have competed against Adela back in the days before figure (not that long ago, really), at the ’02 Fitness International, had distractions last year and it showed. Her topple to fourth at the O was not particularly controversial. Her third-place landing behind Jessica Paxson-Putnam and Erin Stern at the Jacksonville Pro a couple of weeks ago was a work-in-progress she said, but it had the predictors predicting that Jenny’s days at the top of the heap will not come again. The improvements displayed in Dallas, however, suggest that the lady meant what she said.
In an interview she gave me shortly before the recent competitions, Lynn voiced the kind of determination that Adela displayed onstage in Dallas this weekend. The question is, Can Jenny fine-tune sufficiently for the Olympia to fight off the killer bodies of Jenn Gates, Gina Aliotti—and Paxon-Putnam and Stern? Despite her perfect score in Texas, Ms. Lynn is not as sure a bet as her old adversary is to retake her title, but at this point, I’m not ruling it out.
Happy landings rounded out the top-three Olympia-qualifying spots. Krissy Chin brought her most polished presentation to date to finish solidly in second, with some supporters claiming she should have beaten the champ. Based on the photos, I can see the judges’ point: Chrissy was at the top of her game so far for sure, but Jenny’s structure, performance and pedigree carried the day.
Meriza DeGuzman, another blossoming fairly recent pro, earned the third-place invite. Much is being made of the challenges the “almost five foot ” Meriza faces as a bitty thing in competition. Considering that sitting Figure O champ Gates is only 5’1” and numerous top competitors, including Heather Mae French—at 5’ even—are in the ballpark of teeny tiny, that may not be as big a factor as folks are making it—if you’ve got the stuff, you’ve got the stuff.
We’ll see what kind of stuff Krissy and Meriza have when they make their Olympia debuts.
Alicia Harris moved up to fourth from seventh at the Jacksonville show. She appears to be tinkering with her physique after bring it down from the more muscular version she presented at the Cal in May. I have a feeling, though, that if I’d been in Texas, I would not have been sad to have seen her finish in the top three.
Fifth went to Siobhan Trewari, whose like placing in Jacksonville put her on the radar. Sixth through 10th went to Amy O’Neill, Katina Maistrellis in her pro debut, Michelle Craven, Tivisay Briceno and Consuelo Rojas Figueroa, respectively.
A note about my Internet sources. A couple of weeks ago in Vegas, at the USA men’s prejudging, I was sitting in the press pit next to Dave Palumbo and Sean Andros of RxMuscle.com, listening to Dave making quick assessment of the physiques into a tape recorder as Sean reported the comments—and the callouts in the RxMuscle forum.
Flash-forward to this past Friday afternoon. I was at my desk, theoretically proofreading finals for the IRON MAN’s departments, a task that requires more focus than you can get from a square half-inch of shredded wheat. An e-mail notice reminded me that the pro judging was starting shortly in Dallas. The next thing I knew, it was bye-bye Bodybuilding Pharmacology, and I was at RXMuscle reading,
“Tivisay Briceno: much leaner than 2 weeks ago…very small waist…great look…very attractive.… Tonya Burkhardt: great back…and quads.… Krissy Chin: love the purple suit…great capped delts…tan is phenomenal…waist looks much small.…”
And I could hear Dave’s voice as if he was sitting right next to me. Huge LOL here in Hollywood. Go, Dave!
Find complete score sheets for the Europa Super Show Pro Fitness and Figure competitions at www.ifbbpro.com.