A pause in the busy spring schedule provides a moment to highlight a competitor who really caught my eye in the recent reports. Bikini newbie Juliana Daniell won her class at the ’10 Team Universe last summer then had a debut at the Jacksonville Pro a couple of weeks later that was not exactly star-is-born material. Or maybe it was.
Tripping on her new pair of ultrahigh heels when she turned to walk it back at the judging—I knew those shoes were dangerous—she appeared to be favoring the panel and fans with a moon shot. By the time the story was told, however, folks knew about the foot-wardrobe malfunction, and the charming dancer and former college swimmer from Atlanta, who counts the Atlanta Hawks dance team as one of her gigs, managed a ninth-place finish in a lineup of 18. In her next outing, the Pittsburgh Pro Bikini last week, the only thing falling over was the competition, as Daniell strode, not tripped, into the second-place Olympia-qualifying spot behind Jaime Baird. It will be interesting to see how she does at the New York Pro on May 28.
Speaking of what’s coming up in the next couple of weeks, get ready for a whole lotta women’s physique competition, and I mean that in both the generic and specific sense.
On the pro level. Next weekend, May 20 and 21, marks the debut of the IFBB Optimum Pro Classic Figure and Bikini events—and accompanying NPC championships—in Shreveport, Louisiana. Seventeen figure athletes and 15 bikini competitors (as of May 13) are scheduled to make the trip; so both of those shows should be pretty competitive. Look for Abbie Burrows, third at the MuscleContest in March, to make some noise in the bikini battle.
The following week we’ve got big contests on both coasts: the New York Pro Figure and Bikini to the east and the California Pro Championship in Culver City to the west. Expect big lineups in all those shows.
The ’10 New York champs, Cheryl Brown in figure and Missy Coles in bikini, will be back looking to repeat. Ditto for ’08 Cal winner Felicia, Romero, who’s making her return to that lineup for an encore.
Find updates on all the above competitions at IFBBPro.com.
And on the NPC scene. The first big pro qualifier of the 2011 season fitness, figure and bikini takes place next week at the NPC Junior USA Championships in Charleston, South Carolina. Also debuting there: women’s physique, the new sport for gals too big for figure. That’s also a pro qualifier, in this case for the still-to-come pro competitions in women’s physique.
In all nine pro cards are up for grabs at the Junior USA—for the top two overall in figure, bikini and women’s physique, the overall winner in fitness and the top two overall in the also-new men’s physique division. (That new sport—for built guys in board shorts—which in a few months has proved more popular than protein bars, gets its first pro qualifier as well at this show.)
The Junior USA is also a big national show in men’s and women’s bodybuilding. With so many choices for athletes, I can’t wait to see who shows up to do what.
For updates: www.NPCJuniorUSA.com.
Photo: Juliana Daniell got the second-place check at the Pittsburgh Pro Bikini.
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