They tell me that completely different people from those who read my column in IRON MAN will see this blog. If that’s really true, welcome aboard. Pump & Circumstance is one of the only gossip-and-personality columns highlighting the women’s physique sports published in a major bodybuilding magazines. It’s the only one written by a woman, which some people might consider significant. I think of it as occasionally significant and a real advantage in getting into the women’s dressing rooms at the Arnold Classic.
In the August issue, on newsstands all through July, I get down with the ladies at the Pittsburgh Pro Figure; that is, down on the floor in the crowded backstage area at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. I love covering that show—because it’s my hometown, and as a teenager I performed on that very stage. Not as a bodybuilder but in All-City Choir. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know the many newcomers who make their pro debuts there.
The pro show is only part of the festivities at promoter Jim Manion’s annual bash. There’s the huge NPC Pittsburgh Championships taking place as well as a parade of superstar guest-posers. In the press pit, which is small and friendly, I usually find a few other members of the muscle press who, coincidentally, come from the Pittsburgh area, like Steve Wennerstrom (who wasn’t there this year), Barry Brooks (who was) and, of course, J.M. Manion (who’s a full-time Pittsburgher).
This year, however, an interesting delegation from another bodybuilding publication came to witness the glittering lineup of guest flexers, which included Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Victor Martinez, Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, Vince Taylor, George Farah, Eric Fankhouser and Victor Konovalov. As exciting as that was—thousands of pounds of beef let loose in the Solders and Sailors; oh, boy—I couldn’t help but wonder why so many of the guys from that particular publication had blown into town to see it.
Readers who know me know I’m not going to name names here. For one thing, what fun would that be? For another, I’m not that anxious to give them publicity (hits—it’s all about hits, you know).
Enough with the tease. There’s lots more on Pittsburgh show, plus pix of all the new pro figure faces in the August issue. Just to whet your appetite, here’s what I had to say about the top pro-figure finishers in my hometown, including Amy Fry, pictured above. To find out what I had to say about the ladies who didn’t finish at the top, you’ve got to buy the mag.
Massive Owning—Sonia Sweeps the Field
Is there anyone who didn’t look at the competitor list for the Pittsburgh Pro Figure on May 5 and know that Sonia Adcock would be the winner? Or that Bernadette Galvan would be in the top three? Coming off a third-place finish at the Figure International, the 5’, 108-pound Adcock with her petite-but-powerful package was a shoo-in to take the lead in the 30-woman lineup of mostly stars-in-wanting and pro-debuters. Galvan, who finished fourth at last year’s Europa Super Show, was, by my informal assessment, the next-highest-ranking athlete—and a gal who’s got the kind of silhouette the folks with the score sheets seem to go for. Not rocket science—as we always say. You just have to be paying attention.
No disrespect to the rest of the worthy contenders who came together in my hometown to strut their stuff onstage at the Soldiers and Sailors Hall, but it was Sonia’s night. The ’06 Figure National Overall champ, who also scored a top-three finish in her pro debut at the Tournament of Champions last fall, already had the panel’s attention. All she had to do was come in shape, which she did, and they rewarded her with a perfect score. Galvan looked good as well and earned a perfect runner-up score to pick up her first Olympia qualification.
After that whatever happened was going to be a surprise. As the results show, performance in the amateurs is not always an indication of who will break out in the pros. Take Amy Fry, who earned her card with a second-place finish in the extremely tall call class at the Figure Nationals, where she missed out on a first-place trophy by one point. In Pittsburgh, third place—and the last Olympia invite—went to the 5’9” Fry, while Cheri Lewis, the woman who beat her at the Nationals, landed in ninth.
On the other hand, Elisha Archibold, another class winner from the ’06 Nationals, finished fourth in her pro debut. She landed just a point ahead of veteran fitness and figure athlete Shannon Meteraud, who returned to competition after a two-year layoff and the birth of her second child and looked as if she hadn’t left.
Way to go, Shannon. Way to go, ladies.