Reported December 11, 2003
Santa’s List: What Do Female Physique Athletes Want for Christmas?
That’s an easy question, as long as you understand that the Santa in referred to does not live at the North Pole but, rather, in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Worthington. The good Santa, as we like to call him, goes by the name of Jim Lorimer, and this time of year he’s about the most popular guy in the entire physique world’and not just because he turned down a gig in California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cabinet. Lorimer, as most folks know, has an even bigger job: promoter of the mammoth Arnold Fitness Weekend, which is coming up on March 5’6 in Columbus. And the invitations to competitors are due out before St. Nick sets off in his sleigh
You think Santa gets letters? Lorimer gets letters and r’sum’s and photos and God knows what else from IFBB pro athletes hoping to receive the coveted call to get onstage at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium for the big-bucks women’s season openers, a.k.a. the Ms., Fitness and Figure International competitions. Needless to say, he’s making three lists and checking them twice, trying to find out whose body is nice’and he’s running out of wall space.
Who’ll get the nod’and have to start dieting almost before the holidays are over? Keep watching this column.
Pro-Show Biz: Where Else Will the Buff and Beautiful Be Appearing?
The biggest news on the IFBB pro women’s schedule for 2004 is that there will be almost as many women’s bodybuilding shows as fitness and figure shows’five bodybuilding vs. seven apiece for fitness and figure, not counting the Olympias. That’s an improvement over 2003, where the women flexers had only three chances to qualify for the O, although it’s probably not enough of a jump for some hardcore fans.
As always, the season starts out with all three women’s sports getting a spectacular showcase during Arnold Fitness Weekend (see above). After that come two fitness contests, the New York Pro on March 25 and the Hungarian Pro on April 17, the latter being held with a men’s pro bodybuilding competition, followed by the Pittsburgh Pro Figure on April 30’May 1. On May 21 Pro Division head and Night of Champions promoter Wayne DeMilia brings back the Night of Women’s Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure competitions, while Southern California NPC promoter extraordinaire Jon Lindsay gets his feet wet in professional competition with the California Pro Figure on May 29.
After that there’s a six-week break before the Italian Pro Figure in Rimini on June 12, and then second half of the season ignites in two locations on August 6’7: the Southwest USA Pro Cups in women’s bodybuilding and fitness in Dallas and the New York Pro Figure. The Jan Tana Pro Classics in women’s bodybuilding and fitness are set for August 27’28 in Charlotte, North Carolina, while the Show of Strength events in all three women’s sports will hit Atlanta on October 8. And, of course, the season-finale Olympias are coming up on October 29 in Las Vegas.
Per usual, you can expect any number of additions, subtractions and permutations to the above as the season gets underway and sponsors’ financial fortunes change. To find the complete schedule, including promoters and contact numbers, go to www.ifbb.com.
Some Interesting Observations About the Schedule
Never underestimate the power of pissed off women’s bodybuilding fans. More big news from the folks who bring you the Show of Strength: I guess the negative fallout from their having dropped bodybuilding in favor of figure this year was not worth the economic gain, as they’re bringing back the Women’s Bodybuilding SOS in 2004, along with fitness and figure. And they’re not stinting, either: Once again the women’s shows will have the biggest purses short of the Olympia and International competitions.
Speaking of the ’04 SOS. In an act of incredibly clear-headed thinking, the Pro Division has scheduled this event before the Olympia rather than after it. That means the end of convoluted explanations as to just which year’s Olympia the winners are qualified for.
Speaking of the power of women’s bodybuilding. They say it can’t be done, but Ed and Betty Pariso are planning to hold their Southwest USA Pro Cup competitions in women’s bodybuilding and fitness’without the benefit of a men’s pro show to bring in the sponsor bucks. Sponsor problems caused the couple to cancel the four SW USA pro shows that appeared on the 2003 schedule, including men’s bodybuilding, but the Parisos have renewed their commitment to the women’s side of the sport for 2004. To that end, they’ve started the SW USA Women’s Pro Fund’a grassroots effort to get fans and athletes involved in helping them finance the event.
“We want to keep the event alive so the women of the IFBB can have another opportunity to compete and possibly qualify for the Ms. Olympia,” says Betty, who’s a pro bodybuilder as well as a promoter. “This is a first’it’s up to us. If we can’t support out own industry, we can’t ask the companies that don’t care to support it to get involved.”
If you want to get involved write to [email protected] or check out the Web site www.swusaexpo.com.
Speaking of economics. As indicated above, the ’04 Jan Tana Classic weekend will take place without benefit of a figure show.