I made my plane reservations for the Olympia today, way too late to get a real good deal on the airfare, but it could have been worse. Raise your hand if you can remember when a round trip from L.A. to Vegas was a hundred bucks.
I stopped making official “Olympia predictions” a while back, during a period when the same people were winning every year in almost all of the women’s physique sports. That was just an excuse, of course—that and the fact that we had to make those predictions 2½ months before the event to get them into the IRON MAN issue that comes out before the O. A lot can happen in 2½ months, although, arguably, not much of it is likely to affect the outcomes of the season finales in women’s pro bodybuilding, fitness and figure. Thanks to technology, the schedule has moved up a bit—it’s just three weeks to the day we leave for Vegas as I write this—but the situation remains the same: A lot can happen in three weeks but not much of it is likely to affect the outcomes at the big show.
I’m talking about the big winners here. No disrespect to the ladies who will get onstage at the five contests scheduled to take place before then, but they’re not likely to add anyone to the mix who can crack the inner circles. That’s not a prediction; it’s just common sense, based on the current competitor lists for those competitions.
The fact is, I’m not real crazy about making predictions in print. It harks back to those 2½-month lag times, I guess. No matter who says he or she will be competing where, the situation will have changed by show time, and the predictor will look as if she doesn’t know what’s up. Plus, and maybe it’s a chick thing, I’m just not fascinated by the challenge to name my top 10 Figure O finishers, in order, in five seconds or less.
Ask me a real question, and I’m your girl. What are Iris Kyle’s chances of retaining her Olympia crown? (Damn good.) Can Heather Policky crack the top three? (She already did—she was third at the International, and she’ll be going against the same women in Vegas.) Will any lighter-weight women besides Dayana Cadeau crack the top six? (You’re kidding, right?) What effect will Jen Hendershott’s decision to compete have on the Fitness O results? (It might keep Tanji Johnson from moving into the top three.)
But do I care whether so-and-so is going to finish ninth, 10th or 11th? Call me when she’s ready to move up to sixth, seventh or eighth.
Another thing about making predictions: I’m terrible at it. My crystal ball is so bad, even my slam dunks (for example, that Davana Medina would win her fourth Figure O title last year), defy the odds (Medina had to drop out due to medical issues). So I was thinking about skipping the whole procedure this time. The problem is, now that there are more video cameras than pencils among my colleagues on the physique beat, you never know when someone’s going to stick a lens—or a mike—in your face, and that can turn even the most reluctant seer into a babbling idiot.
“Be a man, and give me your top three,” a certain popular online correspondent demanded of me backstage at the one of the pro-figure shows this summer. “Have you looked at me lately,” I replied, stalling, and then, when he zoomed in closer, I proceeded to blurt out the names of the three women who’d made the first comparison, which turned out to be wrong. (Next time I will pay attention to the two-piece callout, I swear.)
I actually made one Olympia prediction, having suggested in my June 12, 2007, blog entry that Jenny Lynn would get to keep her Figure Olympia crown. Since then I’ve heard that 1) Jenny is distracted by business, boyfriends, et cetera, and will not be at her best at the Orleans Arena, and 2) Jenny is well-rested, stayed in better shape and ate better during the off-season and will hit the stage at her all-time best.
Your guess is as good as mine as to which of those scenarios will come to pass. I’ll stand by my statement—she repeats—and I’m done making predictions. At least until the next time someone sticks a microphone in my face.
Here’s another nonprediction: It wouldn’t shock me if ’07 Fitness International champ Kim Klein took the Olympia as well.
Other photos (from top): Iris Kyle and Jenny Lynn.