The Ruthless Report 21: Thoughts on Bikini
And in case you think those words are mutually exclusive—“thoughts” and “bikini”—think again. With six pro shows in the books for the month of March alone, there’s plenty to report.
The Ruthless Report 20
Meandering Through Memory Lane
I was searching my photo files for a shot of Scotty Peckham, who passed away just before Christmas, and before you could say, ‘Cheese!’ I was so deep into back-in-the-day, I almost forgot what I was looking for. Scott was the nice guy who married Monica Brant about a decade ago, and I’ll come back to his story in a bit.
The Ruthless Report 19
Ms. O and the Outlaw: A Pair of Movers and Shakers
Two very different enterprising ladies have my attention this month. One is a rising bikini star; the other is Ms. Olympia. What could these two women—poles apart in terms of physique development—possibly have in common (besides the gym, of course)? For one thing they've both got spunk, a.k.a. grit, moxie, determination. For another, they don't let grass grow under their feet. Let's start with the newcomer.
The Ruthless Report 18: A Room With a Fitness View… and More
Rx Muscle honcho Dave Palumbo is a cool guy as well as a man of action. When he got the idea to put on a Webcast of a women's roundtable TV show last summer, he didn't mess around. Before you could say Barbara Walters, "The Fitness View" was making its debut live from a Las Vegas hotel suite during Olympia Weekend. Happily, my long time contest-wrap partners, Carolyn Bryant and Nancy DiNino, and I got to be part of fitness-Webcast history, along with our two new friends, supplement maker Liz Gaspari and Nancy Noreman.
WPD to the O—In Their Own Words, Part 2
More interviews with top challengers for the first Olympia Women’s Physique Showdown, set for next weekend in Las Vegas. This time out: Karina Nascimento, Toni West and Tamee Marie.
The Ruthless Report 17: WPD to the O—In Their Own Words, Part 1
It’s Showdown time. As in the very first Olympia Women’s Physique Showdown, which is happening in Las Vegas next weekend along with all the rest of the Big O festivities. Much has been said, speculated about—grumbled about—what this new division, lying somewhere between figure and women’s bodybuilding, is supposed to be, what the competitors are supposed to look like and, naturally, what the judges are looking for. Too much actually—it was time to ask the women what they think.
The Ruthless Report 16: Women and Muscle (Part 2): The Reboot
This season I have been mightily amused—and a little distressed—to hear contest commentators so not getting it right on the topic of muscularity, conditioning and Women’s Physique. The result: Some thoughts as we head into the Olympia stretch, 2013.
Ruthless Report 15: Women and Muscle (Part 1), Plus Pittsburgh Tales
The further we get into the first Olympia-bound season of pro women's physique, the more it's shaping up to be the "Battle of Brazilian Butts and Other Bodyparts." This week all eyes are on the New York Pro, where Optimum Classic champ Karina Nascimento hopes to show reigning New York Pro champ Juliana Malacarne what exactly she can do with her body-that-WPD-was-invented-for reputation. (Patricia Mello, the other Brazilian bombshell of WPD, won two shows this spring.)
A Special Addition:The Ruthless Report 14: Working for Joe—Memories of a Galaxy Far, Far Away
For those who knew Joe Weider only as a figurehead, the face on the publisher's page or an old man who came out onstage at the Olympia, here are some personal memories of the human being behind the icon.
The Ruthless Report 13: Fitness Follies of 2013…and More
The ascension of Tanji Johnson to the head of the class at the Fitness International on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio, set up a dramatic scenario for the Olympia that none of us could have imagined six months ago—or even five months ago, after Adela Garcia had won the Fitness O for the seventh time and then lost to Oksana Grishina two weeks later at the Arnold Europe.
The Ruthless Report 12: Wham! Bam!… Plus Celebrity Notes
Wham! Bam! That's Some Bikini, Ma'am
We often talk about a competitor who has “burst on the scene,” but in the case of Arizona bikini bombshell Bam Bridges it was more like an explosion. The 5'2 3/4" mother of two from Scottsdale came out of nowhere in 2010 to take first in figure at the NPC Brown Chiropractic Arizona Open—Bam!—a feat she has duplicated in most of the contests she's entered in since then, including the recent ’13 NPC Iron Man Naturally Championships at the Los Angeles Fitness Expo, where she dominated the A-class and masters bikini lineups
The Ruthless Report 11: Adela and Lisa—Redemption and Reinvention
This month's Report updates a couple of fitness stars who have a lot in common besides the fact that they both competed at the ’02 Olympia.
The Ruthless Report 6: Amanda and Michelle: The Yin and Yang of Persistence
On the list of qualities that make a good physique athlete—and by that I mean everybody from bodybuilders to bikini gals to, well, physique athletes—persistence, if not downright stubbornness, has got to be at the top. A couple of my favorite athletes who have been in the news this summer personify that quality, times 10, which, perhaps is the reason their doings are newsworthy. Interestingly, they come from the far ends of the NPC/IFBB spectrum.
The Ruthless Report 5: Candy Is Dandy…and More
Some competitors get their pro card, jump into a show and make the top five, if not the winner’s circle, right away. Others jump into a show and then take a while before suddenly popping into the spotlight. That's the story on Candice Lewis, who jumped to the top of the lineup at the Omaha Pro Figure on June 8, almost a year to the day after her sensational overall victory at the ’11 NPC Junior Nationals. Seventh at the ’11 Fort Lauderdale Pro last fall, sixth at the ’11 Border States and again at the ’11 Kentucky Pro Muscle, seventh at the ’12 Pittsburgh Pro in May.
The Ruthless Report 4: Waiting for Julianna…and More
Anyone who was surprised that Julianna Malacarne won the New York Pro Women's Physique Championship in her first stab at WPD on May 19 was not paying attention back a year and a half ago when NPC and IFBB officials were creating the new women's sport. To a man (or woman), when pressed to name someone who might be an idea WPD candidate—someone who was too big for figure but not as big as a bodybuilder—they cited Malacarne, a Brazilian-born bombshell and mesomorph who never found herself in the winner's circle in figure. So it was only natural that if Julianna decided to get back onstage in physique, she'd do extremely well.
The Ruthless Report: Cheryl Brown—Calm in the Eye of a Storm
You never know what's going on in people's heads, even in the obvious situation of an athlete competing at a major event like the Arnold Sports Festival. Take figure pro Cheryl Brown. The trainer, nutritionist and mother of three from Lake Mary, Florida, who won three contests in 2011, was her cool, calm and collected self when I snapped the accompanying photo at the expo—and happy with the eighth-place finish she'd achieved in the lineup of 29 the night before. Not an inkling of the challenges she was facing on the home front.
The Ruthless Report: Sonia’s Surge and Unintended Consequences and More
Time-warp note: Speaking of how our lives travel at the speed of sound,after I turned in this column and before it was posted, the IFBB Pro League took steps to correct the situation discussed in the first item—much more quickly than my source had indicated. So, in case you’re wondering why the Pro League and Olympia promoters just added a points system to their recent rule change for Olympia qualifications…