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Olympia Predictions, Updates and Confessions

A week or so ago I went down to Mike Neveux’s studio to record my Olympia predictions, and the video on the Ms. and Fitness Olympias is now posted. Since then there have been some updates on competitors. So in case you were wondering…

Lisa Aukland is not just out of the Ms. O—she’s hanging it up for good. “When it came time for contest prep, I was just having too great of a summer to start a diet,” she said on Wednesday in an e-mail to this reporter. “Subsequently, I decided to retire altogether. I guess this is my official announcement!” It sounded a lot like sentiments expressed by Betty Pariso in this space regarding her recent retirement. As both women are members of the over-50 club, have had long competitive careers and in fact worked together to try to improve things in the sport, it is somehow not surprising that they would decide in the same season that it was time.

I’ve covered Lisa since her days at the Team Universe, where she took heavyweight and overall honors in 1999, 2000 and ’01. That was before you could get a pro card for winning the Team U.

Aukland, who holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Maryland, is smart, funny, hardworking and tenacious. She finished sixth and then second in her two stabs at the World Amateur Championships and earned professional status at last at the ’01 IFBB North Americans. As a pro she won the Atlantic City show for the four years it was held, and she owns a string of top-five finishes at the Olympia and Ms. International competitions. That’s in addition to her powerlifting accomplishments and her busy career as a specialist in poison information. I wish her all the best and hope we’ll keep seeing her at events. Girlfriend has earned some fun.

Heather Armbrust has indeed pulled out of the Olympia. I haven’t seen any announcements from her as to why, but it could be a name change-back is in the works. I’m expecting that she’ll come back stronger than ever when things settle down.

In the meantime, since I picked her to repeat in second at the Ms. O, with a caveat regarding the rumors that she was out, a bit of adjustment is in order. For those who have seen the video (you didn’t think you were going to escape that, did you?), just slide everyone up a placing and add Sheila Bleck as my definite pick to elevate into the top six.

I must confess I misspoke on the video regarding one of my Ms. O predictions. I glanced at my notes and did a total blank and then named someone I had considered for the spot in question but who was not the actual pick. No matter. I’ll stand by my official video “picks”—in case the guys want to razz me later—but I’m delighted at the opportunity to go out on a limb regarding Sheila’s potential.

• Yeah, I know that is not Brigita Brezovac in the photo on the video. It may be fixed by the time you see this, but ya never know. In the meantime, though, the total blank mentioned above was not about my choice of the newcomer from Slovenia to flex her way fifth (now fourth).

• My Fitness O predictions are on the video as well. To the reader who wondered why in a previous post I didn’t mention that Julie Palmer was out of the lineup along with Tracey Greenwood, fact is, I go all old school when it comes to competitor-pregnancy stories. I wanted to hear from Jules that she and Mike Davies are in fact expecting a blessed event and that all was well.

Said Palmer, who was the runner-up at the Fitness International last March and fourth at the ’09 Olympia, “Both Mike and I are very excited about the baby and feel very blessed. I have not slowed down too much and I feel pretty good.” She would be at her usual post at the GNC booth during Olympia Weekend, she said. “as well as the rest of the GNC booths that I am scheduled for.”

See you there, Jules.

• For the top of the Fitness O  ticket I have to agree with my friend Nancy DiNino, who said in her own predictions, “Who would be crazy enough to bet against Adela?”

Nancy and I have done commentary together from time to time, and I had this grandiose but low-budget scheme to bring her in on the predictions videos even though she’s in Toronto and I’m in Los Angeles. It didn’t work, but the Canadian figure competitor, model and marketing and management consultant will make up for it when she joins me on the IRON MAN wrap-ups at the O on September 24 and 25

In the meantime, I’m publishing Nancy’s predictions for the Ms. and Fitness Olympias below—so I can hold her to them later. Heh, heh, heh.

BTW, we don’t take this prediction stuff too seriously. It’s all in fun and to stir up interest in the big weekend—and’s Olympia coverage, of course.

Nancy DiNino’s Ms. Olympia Predictions

“Well, this was a hard one to predict with most of the typical top-five competitors out of the lineup—Heather  Armbrust  Betty Pariso, Lisa Aukland,” Nancy observed. “Dayana Cadeau is the wild card, as she is often unpredictable in how she comes in.”

Bottom line on Nancy’s top-six picks:

1) Iris Kyle
2. Yaxeni Oriquen
3) Debi Laszewski
4) Brigita Brezova
5) Dayana Cadeau
6) Helen Bouchard

Others to watch:
Zoa Linsey

Nancy’s Fitness Predictions

“If I were a fitness competitor waiting to make a mark and a quick move into the top ranks, this year would be the year to do so,” said DiNino. “For years now the top-six spots have been locked up by the same hungry athletes. The top-three triangle was Adela Garcia, Jen Hendershott and Kim Klein. Now, two out of three are no longer competing. Then the fourth through sixth stops were always locked up between Tanji Johnson, Tracy Greenwood and Julie Palmer And once again, two out of the three are not coming.”

Who does she see earning the top spots come September 24?

1) Adela Garcia
2) Tanji Johnson
3) Trish Warren
4) Camala Rodriquez
5) Regina Da Silva
6) Miriam Capes
7) Tina Durkin

Others to watch: Bethany Wagner and Oksana Grishina.

Photos (from top):

Sheila Bleck at the ’1o New York Pro.

Lisa Aukland and Tracey Greenwood backstage at the ’08 Atlantic City Pro shortly before they won their respective competitions. Both have announced their retirement from competition.

Brigita Brezova at the Europa Battle of  Champions.

Mike Davies and Julie Palmer.

Me and Nancy.

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

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