The Europa Super Show in Texas last year marked a smidgen of controversy over its blemish free weekend when one of its bodybuilding compatriots was deducted points by the judiciary for reasons unknown by everyone present including her competition. A disarrayed female bodybuilder, Marika Johansson was shocked to hear that she wasn't penalized for her impeccable symmetry, generous muscularity or of lack of condition, but she was marked down for her being... umm... too conditioned!
In 2005 Marika made her pro debut in Texas finishing in 4th place in a highly competitive field narrowly missing out on an Olympia qualifying position. In a quest to dominate the same show a year later, the Swedish bombshell enlisted the training services of "The Shadow", Dorian Yates to bring her in bigger and badder than ever before.
In 2006 Johansson turned up 4 lbs heavier but this time was as hard as a teenager chewing on tribulus at a high class peep show. Many of the male bodybuilders in attendance commented on her freaky striations and unsurprisingly enough comparing her condition to Yates himself. This proved to be too much for the judging panel who shockingly relinquished her to 14th place.
The 2007 Europa Super Show will once again be the stage set for Johansson who has chosen this contest for redemption, but who is going to show up, the soft spoken Swedish blond who quietly slipped into fourth place or the hard hitting sinew riddled heavyweight who bowled into the peripheral abyss of 14th place. Bodybuilding.com asked her these questions and more.
[ Bodybuilding.com ] To this day people are still speaking of the standard of condition you brought to Texas last year. Have you calmed down from the storm of controversy of or have you still got a bitter taste of sour grapes in your mouth.
[ Marika ] I haven't had the slightest taste of sour grapes. I was so happy of the supportive comments that it felt good to be noticed for my condition even if I wasn't awarded for it.
Other IFBB pro's like Toney Freeman whom I didn't even know came up to me and told me they had never seen anyone, man or woman as ripped as me so all this flattery quickly cleared the haze of disappointment I felt whilst leaving the stage.
What was even more important to me was that the other girls in my competition came up to me backstage after prejudging to share their disbelief that I wasn't up there battling with them. Collette Nelson was so kind to even tell me that before prejudging she thought I would be ahead of her.
Collette is an awesome athlete and deserved her placing but for her to say that to me just shows that now matter what, there is always room to spread a big heart.
[ BB ] OK, enough of this sweet girly talk, are you going to kick butt this year, including Collette's?
[ MJ ] Ha, ha. I can't tell you the outcome because that is all in the judges hands but I can tell you that I always compete to win. I have had the best off-season to date and with Dorian's advice I am currently eight weeks out from the show 9 lbs heavier than this time last year.
[ BB ] Wow, that's a huge amount of weight for a woman to put on especially in one year isn't it?
[ MJ ] Because I came in so ripped and dry last year I felt I could've softened the freaky look if I had come in bigger and fuller. Some of the judges have since seen pictures of what I looked like two weeks prior to the show and they said that was perfect. So this full, ripped and dry package I bring this year better take names or I am going to take up men's bodybuilding to get awarded for my condition (laughs).
[ BB ] What changes had Yates implemented to your preparation that you hadn't done before?
[ MJ ] First of all, my sets were immediately slashed from four sets per exercise down to only one and my cardio was cut down to 20 minutes down from my past two hours per day. My nutrition was covered by someone else here in the US who shares very similar nutrition beliefs to Dorian so it could coincide with my preparation more fluently. Let's just say I had to eat within the jurisdiction of my blood type and body type. It was a whole different way of dieting for me.
[ BB ] The common conception is that it is harder for a woman to get lean in comparison to a man. Do you share the same belief?
[ MJ ] No I don't. We are smarter than men (laughs). If we use our brains to their utmost ability we can rip up just as easily if not better than the guys. When my nutritionist explained what foods was of benefit to my body type and blood type it was like opening a new dimension to my physical ability to efficiently put on muscle and lean out.
[ BB ] Is your nutritionist a guy by any chance?
[ MJ ] (Laughs), yes he is.
[ BB ] Too shay.