Wow, do I wish I’d been in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this weekend, when 16 performance-ready fitness pros hit the stage at the Fort Lauderdale Cup Pro Fitness. This is the first competition to be held under the new, revised IFBB rules, by which the routine round counts for two-thirds of the score, and it can’t be a coincidence that it attracted a strong field of performers, including a couple who haven’t been seen onstage in a while and several pro debuts. The top spots, however, went to a trio of athletes who finished out of the running at the ’10 Fitness Olympia in September, with Kizzy Vaines of the United Kingdom in first, Nicole Duncan second and Tina Durkin third.
Returning to the scene of her first pro win a year ago, Kizzy conquered all but just barely, taking third in the physiques (the top three were separated by single points) and second in the routines to edge out Nicole, also by a single point. Lotta close calls in this show.
Duncan, who had tightened up her physique from the one she presented in Las Vegas in September at the O, won the routines, and Durkin, who was likewise in better condition than she’d been in Vegas, got first in the comparisons. Ironically, with respect to each other, the three finished in the opposite order from where they landed at the big show, where Tina was seventh, Nicole was ninth and Kizzy landed in 12th. Also interesting, I did the math: Going by the old 5o-50 physique-to-routine scoring, the top three would still have finished in the same order. Bet that won’t always be true.
Finishing fourth, Canada’s Ryall Graber-Vasani got attention in both parts of the contest, while Allison Ethier, another Canadian, performed the fourth-placed routine to round out the top five.
Athletes who’ve been absent from the fitness stage and made the journey to Florida included Deanna Martinez (formerly Lee), the ’04 NPC National Overall champ, who made the Olympia lineup in her freshman year as a pro but hadn’t competed since 2006. She took a promising sixth here.
Other old, familiar faces I’d have enjoyed seeing included Kari Odiatu and Peggy Sue Barber (formerly Crawford). Find the complete results below.
So add Kizzy, Nicole and Tina to the ’11 Fitness Olympia lineup and call it a wrap on 2010. In Florida, pro fitness seems to be alive and well. Promoters Shannon Dey and Kristin Nagrani built it, and a fabulous group of athletes came. If the Fort Lauderdale Cup was a preview of what’s to come, I am so fired up for next year!
Photo: You might say Kizzy was on the ball in Florida.
’10 Fort Lauderdale Cup Pro Fitness
1) Kizzy Vaines*
2) Nicole Duncan*
3) Tina Durkin*
4) Ryall Graber-Vasani
5) Allison Ethier
6) Deana Martinez
7) Tamee Marie (pro debut)
8) Michelle Craven (fitness debut)
9) Michele Mayberry
10) Sylvia Tremblay
11) Venus Nguyen (pro debut)
12) Kary Odiatu
13) Debbie Fowler (pro debut)
14) Minna Pajulahti (pro debut)
15) Donna Jones
16) Peggy Sue Barber
*Qualifies for the ’11 Fitness Olympia