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In case you missed it, they’re off and running for the 2013 Olympia derby. The dust hadn’t settled on Phil Heath‘s second Sandow when he and many top placers from the Figure, Bikini and  212-and-under Olympias were taking off for Mumbai, India, for the  second edition of the Sheru Classic, followed by the Arnold Europe in men’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure in Madrid this past weekend. That was in addition to the Houston Pro shows in figure, bikini, wheelchair bodybuilding and men’s and women’s physique back here in the States. And it keeps rolling like that till December—which just goes to show that there really is no off-season in bodybuilding.

For all the action, however, not too much has changed, statuswise, for the women at the top of the various sports—with one (or perhaps two) significant exceptions.

Stop 1: The Olympia, September 28–29.
Just to refresh your memory (has it only been 2 1/2 weeks?): Iris Kyle picked up her eighth Ms. Olympia title, while Debi Laszewski muscled her way into second, leaving former Ms. O Yaxeni Oriquen in third. Alina Popa, Brigita Bresovac and Sheila Blech, in that order, filled out the top six. Note that only the top five qualified for next year in all the Olympia competitions.

In the Fitness O, Adela Garcia earned her record seventh crown. Oksana Grishina won the routines to come in second overall, but it wasn’t close, 21-54 (this will be important later). Tina Durkin was at her all-time-best and finished third, with Myriam Capes, Tanji Johnson and Bethany Cisterneros, in order, completing the top six.

An upset at the Figure Olympia had Erin Stern fans smiling. Once again she had knocked reigning champ Nicole Wilkins off her throne, in this case with unanimous decisions for both placings. Candice Keene took third, with newcomers to the royal court, Heather Dees and Mallory Haldeman, earning the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Teresa Anthony landed in sixth, missing a qualification for 2013 by a single point.

The judges made it three for three at the Bikini O—three champions for three years—choosing Nathalia Melo over last year’s winner, Nicole Nagrani, by a single point. India Paulino, Diana Dahlgren, Jaime Baird and Sonia Gonzales, in order, took the rest of the top-six spots. Sonia, of course, won the initial Bikini O and won the Bikini International at the Arnold Classic last year.

Stop 2: The Sheru Classic, October 6
Erin Stern proved that she meant it with another unanimous win over Nicole Wilkins in figure, with Candice Keene following in third again.

Nathalia Melo was not in the bikini lineup in India, which left Nicole Nagrani standing in the center of the winner’s circle and India Paulino in the runner-up spot. Nicole Moneer, lost in 16th at the O, moved up to third.

Note that this is strictly an invitational competition, and the lineups were small by design.

Stop 3: The Arnold Europe, October 13
Monumental news from Madrid:  Oksana Grishina soared past Adela Garcia to win the Arnold Fitness Europe. Is it a sign of things so come or a blip in the road for the indomitable Adela, who has dominated the sport of fitness for some years. Much improved physique scores did the trick for Grishina, who won the routines in both competitions. Also probably a very different judging panel from the one the ladies faced in Las Vegas at the O. Brazil’s Diana Monteiro moved into contention with a third-place finish in the lineup of 13.

New faces came to the fore at the Arnold Figure Europe. Of course, it was Erin again in first, but second went to  Finland’s Kati Alander. In third it was Ava Cowan, making up lost ground after her ninth-place finish at the O, in third, while Slovakia’s Natalia Revajova took fourth, and Candice Keene had to settle for fifth in the lineup of 18.

Meanwhile, Back in Houston, October 13
The lovely Candice Lewis, fresh from her seventh-place finish at the Olympia, took the Houston Pro Figure in style. Teresa Anthony was second, and newcomer Dana Ambrose took third in the lineup of 21.

The bikini battle went to Diana Dahlgren in a one-point decision over Justine Munro in a lineup of 24. Tawna Eubanks took the number-three spot.

Women’s physique kicked off the new season in Houston, where top honors went to Tamee Marie. Symmetrical Tycie Coppett took the runner-up spot, with the always outstanding  Mikala Soto in third.

Well, that’s it so far. More pro action this weekend in at the Fort Lauderdale (Florida) Fitness, Figure and Bikini Cup the Titans Grand Prix Women’s Physique in Culver City, California.

For the up-to-date scorecard of who’s qualified for for ’13 Olympia competitions and who’s got points, go to

Photos (from top): Erin Stern, Iris Kyle, Nathalia Melo, Adela Garcia, Oksana Grishina and Candice Lewis.

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