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TOC ’n’ AC—Frenzied Figure Finale

Predicting that Gina Aliotti would win the Tournament of Champions Pro Figure competition last night (for the third straight year) was a lot like predicting that kids will get presents on Christmas. And even more like predicting that Jen Gates would win in Atlantic City on September 13. Basically, you wouldn’t want to bet against it.

After all, Aliotti is the number-two figure competitor in the world, heading next week into the Olympia, where many think she’ll knock two-time champ Jenny Lynn off her throne. Who was going to beat her?

No one, it turns out, as Aliotti whipped the competition handily at the annual Anaheim, California, muscle-and-figure fest, which featured a big NPC show in addition to the pro figure event.

Sonia Adcock, the second-biggest judges’ favorite in the lineup, took the second spot, with Huong Arcinas, who came oh-so close to getting an Olympia invite in New York a couple of weeks ago, landing in third and picking it up here. Desha Rodriguez and Meriza DeGuzman rounded out the top five.

Regarding Gina’s chances at the O

Though I’m a big fan of Aliotti’s physique, I’m on record as prognosticating that Jenny will beat her again. While I didn’t make it to the TOC and have seen no recent photos of the Kentucky-based Lynn, I’m standing by my statement. (No pressure, J., but if you don’t win, I’ll have to pay off every lunch bet I’ve lost to the Swami over 20 years.)

Regarding the Atlantic City Pro Figure

The rule of the pecking order held here as well. Once Gates, who was second to Aliotti at the Figure International last winter, jumped into the lineup, you knew who’d be picking up the biggest check. Also that Amy Fry, who’s had a spectacular year, would likely be second. That was assuming they looked the part when they got onstage—and it was a reasonable assumption that the symmetrical and proportionate pair would be near-Olympia-ready. It’s too bad they weren’t taking bets on that in the casino at the Trump Marina.

Jane Awad was looking her best ever in the symmetry and proportion departments, and she was rewarded with the third-place ticket to the O. Money prizes also went to Desha Rodriguez and Kristin Gomes in fourth and fifth, respectively.

It was a stunning pro debut for Rodriguez, who got her pro card at the ’07 USA. The dark-haired Floridian stood out in a long lineup of 30 that also included the IFBB’s newest Brazilian bombshell, Larissa Reis. The ’07 IFBB World Championships class winner, who moved into the top 10 after finishing 11th in New York the previous week, caused the fans’—if not the judges’—collective blood pressure to rise and should continue to do so next season. That’s one prediction you can take to the bank.

Photos (from top):
Three-time TOC champ Gina Aliotti
Jen Gates welcomes Desha Rodriguez to the hot newcomers club in Atlantic City.
Larissa Reis casts her spell in Jersy.

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