June 27, 2002 Report:
More than a few surprises marked the annual gathering of FUP-ulous athletes vying at the Fitness Universe Pageant on June 22 in Miami Beach, with comely contender Carolyn Evans coming in a few 10ths of a point ahead of Kim Dolan to take top honors. Fifty-six competitors flew to Florida for the festivities’a new record for the three-year-old event. Allison Ethier, another of the American Sports Network’s comeliest, had to settle for third, with Sylvia Tremblay in fourth and former Fitness America champ Ruscha Kouril rounding out the top five.
Fitness O Update: No Shortage of Talent This Time
Don’t look for special circumstances requiring the IFBB Pro Division to extend the Olympia qualifications to seventh place at the Pittsburgh or any of the three pro fitness shows still set to go before the O. Whoa! The sheer size of the season has kept the lineups from being completely clogged with already-qualified competitors. Enough have made it so far to elevate the Fitness O roster to 14 and counting, not counting Timea Majorova, who says she’s retired.
Six more faces and forms got the nod since the beginning of the spring-and-early-summer sprint for the big time began on April 24 in Slovakia. Aleksandra Kobielak (third) was the lucky lady there (top placers Klaudia Kinska and Stacy Simons earned their stripes at the post-Olympia show in Hungary last November). At the Southwest USA on May 4 Stacy Hylton was the surprise third-placer behind Kelly Ryan and Jenny Hendershott. At the Canadian Pro Fitness Classic on May 25, Tanji Johnson (first) and Christine Bergeron (third) came onboard, with Hylton (second) scoring another top-three finish. And at the Atlantic States on June 8 Florida strength coach Lisa Reed (second) and IRONMAN multi-cover model Laurie Vaniman (third) made the grade, along with the already-multi-qualified Adela Garcia-Friedmansky.
Who else will pull out of the pack to join the above for a day of whirling and twirling, Olympia-style, on October 18? Five out of seven of the above group were mentioned in Pump & Circumstance as having the stuff to make it, although Reed’s achievement was a pleasant surprise. Other names I’ve cited are still distinct possibilities. Two of them, Beth Horn and Alti Bautista, have each written in to say that she would be the gal to nab a top-three finish’along with Ryan and Hendershott‘at the Jan Tana Classic in Roanoke, Virginia, on August 16-17. We’ll see. With Tanji also set to tango at the Tana, it should be one fierce festival of flying females, eh, ladies? Good luck, and maybe we’ll see you all in Vegas.
Speaking of Olympia Qualifications and the Jan Tana
Unlike the situation with the Fitness O, the lineup for women’s bodybuilding’s top show of the season is looking a little lean. That’s lean in numbers’certainly not in talent, with Lenda Murray and Laura Creavalle added to the 11-woman list of usual and unusual suspects who’ll face off in two weight classes, including Juliette Bergmann, Valentina Chepiga, Yaxeni Oriquen, Vickie Gates and Andrulla Blanchette. Even so, the J.T. Classic is the last show of the season for women’s pro bodybuilding, a.k.a the last chance to qualify. At least one coming-out-of-retirement athlete who asked for a special invite to the O plans to hit the stage in Virginia: Nancy Lewis. One wonders why top-five veteran Lesa Lewis, another gal who’s reportedly seeking the big S. I., doesn’t do likewise.
So far the J.T. lineup is up to 21 (mostly) Olympia-starved competitors, but, as we say, stay tuned. For info on attending Jan’s wild weekend of all competitions muscle and fitness, go to www.jantana.com.