It’s just a couple of days before we head to Columbus, Ohio, for the big Arnold Sports Expo, and nothing much has changed in terms of predictions for the Ms. I since the invitations went out last December: It would take a real gambler to bet against four-time Ms. Olympia Iris Kyle’s regaining the title on March 6. Of course, you could have said that last year, and you’d have been sorry—as you’ll recall, the three-time Ms. I winner slipped to seventh due to circumstances I’m willing to bet won’t happen again. Having come back strong at the O, the 5’6” Iris, who’s arguably in a class by herself when it comes to consistency, not to mention well-realized genetics, is bound to be at her best.
On the other hand, ya never know, and the lineup provided by promoter Jim Lorimer includes a talented handful of ladies who could conceivably to break through—or at least narrow the gap.
Number one on that list has to be Betty Viana, a longtime champ-in-the-making who roared into second at the O. Two is Yaxeni Oriquen, who gracefully galloped across the finish line when Iris stumbled last year. Three is Heather Policky, who made her own stumble at the Olympia—to 14th—after a stellar rookie year in 2007, and is due to be back on track.
Fourth is Dayana Cadeau, whose résumé as a top finisher needs no introduction. At least one IM staffer thinks I it could be Dayana’s year at least. “I feel that Dayana is starved for victory after being beaten by Iris so many times,” declared photog Roland Balik in an e-mail I picked up the other day, just before we recorded our “Arnold Predictions” at “Living Beautiful Radio.” “If anybody is going to beat Iris, I would like to see Dayana pull off the upset.”
“Good luck with that pick,” I said. Roland is a higher stakes gambler than I and is getting a rep around the old magazine for his highly original predictions. He does have a point, however: Dayana may have finished a couple of digits behind Yaxeni at the past couple of shows, but there’s no one in the lineup she hasn’t beaten—except Ms. Kyle—and she is very motivated.
So perhaps Roland’s pick isn’t as wacky as I originally thought. The delightful Dayana, who’s among the most photogenic female flexers around, does indeed have the stuff to leap over Heather, Yaxeni and Betty at the Ms. International, but will she beat Iris?
Did I mention that Iris had won the O by 42 points?
Any number of the other athletes who’ll be taking the stage in Columbus are capable of earning a top-six or higher finish (and an Olympia qualification). A few of them—Cathy LeFrancois, Betty Pariso and Brenda Raganot—have already done it.