2006 Arnold Classic Preview!

The 2006 Arnold Classic is fast approaching. In a couple of days we will see who has prepared the best for this show. Here are my predictions of who will come out on top.

It's that time of year again, when hordes of people from across the world venture to Columbus, Ohio. It's worth the trip for the people watching alone, much less the hundreds of events taking place. The weather is typically cold, gray and overcast but it doesn't seem to put much of a damper on things.

Things get started on Wednesday for many of the exhibitors when they begin setting up their booths at the Arnold Fitness EXPO. Many of the competitors arrive on Wednesday as well. On Thursday, all the competitor meetings take place from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the DoubleTree Hotel.

Friday the doors open at 11am for the Fitness EXPO and that's when the insanity begins. The lines are typically hundreds deep waiting to get into the expo. The doors open at 9am on Saturday and Sunday.

Enough of that, let's get into the competitor line-ups.


Ms. International

It's ladies first when they take the stage at high noon for the '06 shootout. Let's review the female bodybuilders first. Admittedly I don't follow the women's bodybuilding side of things as closely as other events, but I'll offer my two cents never the less.

Scheduled To Compete In The Ms. International:

  • Lisa Aukland
  • Dayana Cadeau
  • Angela Debatin
  • Jitka Harazimova
  • Kim Harris
  • Rosemary Jennings
  • Iris Kyle
  • Mah-Ann Mendoza
  • Antoinette Norman
  • Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia
  • Betty Pariso
  • Bonny Priest
  • Annie Rivieccio
  • Christine Roth

RELATED POLL
Who Do You Think Will Win The 2006 Ms. International?

Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia.
Iris Kyle.
Dayana Cadeau.
Jitka Harazimova.
Betty Pariso.
Lisa Aukland.
Angela Debatin.
Kim Harris.
Rosemary Jennings.
Other.

If it were up to me, which clearly it's not, but if it were I'd have Kim "Baby doll" Harris as the winner of the whole show. Kim made a brief stint in the Figure world but quickly came back to female bodybuilding.

Making her second appearance at the Ms. International Kim tells me she will weigh in around 142lbs and is ready to "bring it." Kim is my choice for the overall simply because she carries a lot of muscle on her 5'3" frame but is one of the few women that is very feminine, has marketability and is a genuine nice person.

The female bodybuilding world needs a woman like Kim to help take them out of the world of crap they are in as of late. Sad thing is that I think it is already too late but the show must go on.

All that being said, I don't think the judges will see it the same way I do and top 5 I see going as follows:

1. Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia:

    She is the odds on favorite having won this event three times before and she's after her fourth title. Something no other competitor has done. She's entering her 13th year as a pro so this is old hat for her. It's her show to loose.

    Yaxeni Oriquen
    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia.

2. Iris Kyle:

    She's never placed out of the top 5 in any of her pro shows and I don't look for her to here. She always shows up in shape and will give Yaxeni a run for her money again. If Yaxeni is off, Iris will prevail.

3. Dayana Cadeau:

    She's won the lightweight division of this show back when it had two classes. She'll be on stage for her 7th time in Columbus. I like her look but when going up against the bigger girls she tends to get overlooked.

4. Jitka Harazimova:

    The female bodybuilding fans love her. When she returned to the stage last year they went nuts on the various message boards. She's been around awhile and has great shape. If she can improve on her conditioning from the Olympia stage and come in with a little darker coloring she could be a couple spots higher.

5. Betty Pariso:

    Last year Betty was off but I look for her to redeem herself here. Her color was way off last year and simple details like that make a huge difference. Speaking of huge, could this woman's delts get any bigger? At 50 years old, she is the oldest competitor. She always provides an entertaining routine and I'm sure she won't disappoint again this year.


Fitness International

This is my favorite event of the entire weekend, aside from Jason Dhir's after parties and the beautiful women at the booths, that is. The line up will obviously be missing one competitor that brought the house down with her routines.

It was something every person commented on in some fashion at the IRONMAN, Kelly "Flyin" Ryan, and her obvious absence. Who will step up and win the routine rounds this year? I'd venture to guess the hometown sweetheart, Jen Hendershott.


Click To Enlarge.
Kelly "Flyin" Ryan In Action.

Scheduled To Compete:

  • Julie Childs
  • Regiane Da Silva
  • Allison Daughtry
  • Heidi Fletcher
  • Adela Garcia
  • Tracey Greenwood
  • Jennifer Hendershott
  • Tanji Johnson
  • Kimberly Klein
  • Angela Monteleone-Semsch
  • Mindi O'Brien
  • Julie Palmer
  • Stacy Simons

RELATED POLL
Who Do You Think Will Win The 2006 Fitness International?

Jen Hendershott.
Kim Klein.
Adela Garcia.
Julie Palmer.
Julie Childs.
Heidi Fletcher.
Tracey Greenwood.
Stacy Simons.
Tanji Johnson.
Other.

My Top 5 Picks:


1st Place Jen Hendershott

What will this woman pull out of her hat this time to entertain? We've seen her in a nun outfit, pimp'n it in a HUMMER last year and the latest was a wacky banana suit. She tends to slip in the physique rounds but she should be able to hold on for another victory.


2nd Place Kim Klein

I'm a huge fan of her physique. I think she has the most balanced physique of any fitness competitor on stage. Not everyone agrees with me on that - right Ruth? She is improving on her routines and I think she will improve enough to move into second.


3rd Place Adela Garcia

If shows were won on personality, I'd give it to Adela every time. This woman is funny and hella fun to be around. She gave Ron (getbig Ron) and I a glimpse of her conditioning at the IRONMAN EXPO, when she showed her abs. The chica will be in shape and my money is on her to win the physique rounds. She wouldn't reveal what her routine would entail but said it would good. We'll see what she brings to the stage in a few days.


4th Place Julie Palmer

Finishing 6th last year and with Kelly Ryan and Stacy Hylton out she's the logical choice for 4th right? We'll see. I'm on the fence when it comes to Julie's overall package. She can be really good or she can be so-so. A hometown favorite I look for her to be the best we've seen her and securing a top 5 spot.


5th Place Julie Childs

I look for this former Seattle Seahawk cheerleader to break into the top 5 at this show. Coming off a second place victory at the Sacramento Pro show, she has the confidence to hang with the top contenders.

Others to keep an eye on are: Heidi Fletcher, she will be making her pro debut and at 4'11" is one of the shorter contenders. If she can come in lean enough she has a chance of doing well at this show.

Tracey Greenwood is always good for a demonstration on strength in her routines and will be looking to crack the top 10 at her third Fitness International showing. Tanji Johnson is sporadic in her placings, winning the Emerald Cup Pro Fitness but falling to 10th at the Fitness Olympia. Which Tanji will we see on stage this time?


Figure International

Scheduled To Compete:

  • Jane Awad
  • Monica Brant-Peckham
  • Gina Camacho
  • Michelle Flake
  • Elaine Goodlad
  • Monica Guerra
  • Danielle Hollenshade
  • Mary Elizabeth Lado
  • Anna Larsson
  • Deborah Leung
  • Nina Luchka
  • Jenny Lynn
  • Ali Metkovich
  • Tammy Pies
  • Christine Pomponia-Pate
  • Zhanna Rotar
  • Amanda Savell
  • Chastity Slone
  • Valerie Waugaman
  • Latisha Wilder

RELATED POLL
Who Do You Think Will Win The 2006 Figure International?

Mary Elizabeth Lado.
Jenny Lynn.
Valerie Waugaman.
Monica Brant-Peckham.
Michelle Flake.
Christine Pomponia-Pate.
Amanda Savell.
Danielle Hollenshade.
Ali Metkovich.
Other.

Wow! This is one amazing line up. This is the most impressive figure line up I have seen to date. The favorite has to be Jenny Lynn, winning the show in all three of her showings in Columbus and looking to keep a perfect record in this fourth showing.

My Predictions:


1st Place Mary Elizabeth Lado

I'll probably be wrong but hey what the hell, I would like to see a change in the guard. Coming off a 5th place spot at the Ms. Olympia I look for Mary to be better then we've ever seen her. She has a great look, the hurricanes have passed and she will claim victory in Columbus.


2nd Place Jenny Lynn

It's her show to lose. She's a perfect 3 for 3 but I think it's time for Arnold crown a new champion. She has some of the best stage presence in the game and an amazing back. Only time will tell if she can claim a 4th title or not this go 'round.


3rd Place Valerie Waugaman

Val has thee best stage presence I have ever witnessed. I first saw her compete at the Jr. USA's last April where she won the tall class; how she didn't win the overall is still baffling to me. I remember talking with Terry Goodlad and we both agreed, she was someone to watch.

Val has great lines and a presence about her that most don't have. I look for her to be the dark horse of the show and I wouldn't complain if she moved up and took top honors but I think she will have to pay her dues a bit more before that happens. I don't know her personally but I hope the newfound exposure doesn't affect her performance.


4th Place Monica Brant-Peckham

Mo is obviously the fan favorite. I thought Mo should have won the entire show last year; she was the best I'd ever seen her since deciding to get into the Figure world. It's becoming increasingly clear that Mo will never win a Figure title but at the end of the day does it really matter? Monica has a huge fan base, just signed with BSN and happily married in a new Austin, Texas home.


5th Place Michelle Flake

This southern belle is my surprise top 5. You'd never guess she was a mother of three and has a body that turns heads and stops traffic everywhere she goes. She took top honors in Vegas and went on to place 5th in her pro debut.

Any number of women could slip into the top 5 if they bring their best. Christine Pomponia-Pate is always near the top and could easily be 3-5. Amanda Savell proved she is no joke last year; she was looking good at the IRON MAN two weeks out and will land in the top 10.

What package will Danielle Hollenshade bring in her pro debut? She has a good chance at being in the top 10 if she brings the package she did to NYC last August. Ali Metkovich, the former trackster is one to keep your eye on. She has a quite confidence about her that is impressive. All of the women in the show are stunning in their own right and it will be the best line up since the inception of figure, better then any Olympia line up to date.


The Arnold Classic

Scheduled To Compete:

RELATED POLL
Who Do You Think Will Win The 2006 Arnold Classic?

Gustavo Badell.
Dexter Jackson.
Troy Alves.
Darrem Charles.
Melvin Anthony.
Lee Priest.
David Henry.
Chris Cook.
Toney Freeman.
Other.

This will be a great show and to crack the top 5, these boys will need to bring their best. Chris Cormier is out so there will be a new brides maid this year. Mark Dugdale is out due to an illness. Two top guys who leave room for others to move up in their placings. How's it all going to play out? Here's my top 5...


1st Place - Gustavo Badell

He's coming off the moment of placing 3rd at the Olympia behind Jay and Ronnie. He's proven his is a consistent competitor and is quickly becoming the new deal. If his waistline is in check I look for him to out muscle Dexter.


2nd Place - Dexter Jackson

ALWAYS comes in shredded and sure to stay the course again this year. He hasn't competed since claiming victory last year at the Arnold Classic. How will the time off treat him? Will the distractions he's had as of late affect his performance? He'll more then hold his own and it's his show to loose.


3rd Place - Troy Alves

Alves was off at the IRON MAN and he knew it, he will regroup and come in shredded this time. No more Mr. Soft *ss Alves at this show. Troy will be battling it out with Gustavo and Dexter for the top slot.


4th Place - Darrem Charles

Darrem will come in shredded as usual and battle it out for a top 5 slot. He's hungry coming off a disappointing placing at the Olympia and will find himself near the top.


5th Place - Melvin Anthony

The marvelous one claims he is packing 12 more pounds of muscle for this show. We all know he can bring an amazing routine but can he bring in a pair of wheels that are looking as smooth as his moves? He has a chance to let his body do the talking; let's see if he does it.


The Rest Of The Pack...


David Henry

The mighty mouse who swooped in to snag 2nd at the Arnold will find himself duking it out for a top 5 spot but lacking some muscle maturity, will fall just a bit short. (No pun intended).


Chris Cook

Way off at the IRON MAN and is leaving people wondering what we'll see out of Chris. No disputing he's a nice guy but it appears as if he is soul searching as of late. Working with Kevin Levrone, his posing looked too much like Kevin and not his own. I hope can get his conditioning right and show us he's not another over hyped newbie.


Toney Freeman

Tallest man on stage and has made great improvements. Should find his way into the top 10 but not the top 5 with this lineup.


Ahmad Haidar

Way off at the IRON MAN, will he regroup? His coloring was off and way too oily on top of not being in the condition we know he can achieve.


Johnny Jackson

This dude is his own meat packing plant. JJ is thick and big, where he stacks up against the others should be interesting.


Victor Martinez

Which Vic will show up? That's always the question with Victor and we'll see if he can come in conditioned or leave us talking about him not hitting it again.


Mustafa Mohamed

These wheels will find themselves parked near the bottom of the pack. There are more aesthetically pleasing physiques that will drive in front of him.


Lee Priest

Will be in the top 10 but will he be able to hold his conditioning from his IRON MAN victory and position himself in the top 5? Hmm - flip of the coin here.


Branch Warren

Branch is anything but small... with the set of tree trunks on this hoss. He has some of the best wheels in the sport and will most likely have the best ones on display at this show.

See y'all in Columbus.