Uber promoter Tim Gardner has a good thing going here in Tampa. The 2010 edition of his contest - held on Saturday night - was the third annual affair, and the name of the contest was both long in length as the contest was long on quality. Officially, the event this year was called ‘The 2010 Complete Genetic Defiance's IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships and NPC Tim Gardner Extravaganza'. That's a mouth full, but the contest gave everyone their money's worth - especially when it came to the pro women's bodybuilding division.
For those who annually wave the flag of demise in women's bodybuilding, this contest proved otherwise. In fact, the 28 contestants from 13 countries at this event stands as one of the largest pro women's bodybuilding competitions in IFBB history. Back in 1993 the Ms. Olympia saw 32 women compete, and the same year the Jan Tana Pro Classic drew 28. No other pro contest for the women has reached that level in the past 17 years - until Tim Gardner's pride and joy this weekend
Finishing second at a given sporting event can elicit a wide range of emotional responses from those who find themselves coming up short in their aspirations to reach the top of the awards stand. The reality of missing out on the top spot can include a broad spectrum of feelings ranging from a joyous outpouring of happiness to deep-seated anger and frustration. And, depending on the level of importance the competition carries with it, those feelings can be profoundly mind-numbing when the expectations of the athlete are not met.
In women's bodybuilding a second-place finish can be notably distressing considering the tremendous pressure the judging system places on each contestant with regard to a shopping list of considerations in what goes into the making of the eventual winner of a contest - with so much of which existing at the subjective level.
Put simply, Lori Steele is not your garden variety bodybuilder - far from it. And due in part to the fact that she is the reigning national lightweight champion, having won the 2009 NPC National title last November, Lori Steele's ‘bigger picture' paints a colorful mural of noteworthy accomplishments mixed with a day-to-day lifestyle that would bring many to their collective knees.
In fact, it is the demands of Steele's daily life that makes one wonder where she finds the time to train with the consistency necessary to reach the level of becoming a national champion.
Any aspiring bodybuilder worth their weight in protein powder will tell you the primary goal on an annual basis is to make steady improvements in their physiques. Even the best of the pros would admit the same. Some competitors take that desire seriously, while others fail to follow any organized plan of attack.
But when it comes to New Jersey's Lisette Acevedo, the desire to improve could hardly be more at the forefront of what she has accomplished since entering her first NPC Nationals in 2008. As it is, Acevedo only began entering bodybuilding contests in 2006, and to date the sum total of her contest exploits includes just four events.
Short of authoring an entire book on the subject of outstanding lightweight bodybuilders, the following should be considered as, at the very least, a spirited effort to salute a cross-section those women who have left a mark on the sport of women's bodybuilding while laboring under the perceived disadvantages due to their physical stature.
In a sport that has, for the most part, long rewarded the look of those contestants who are larger than life, lightweights have endured a struggle for recognition as each decade in the sport's history has passed.