Once again Professional Fitness Model and TV personality, Nancy Di Nino will take her latest escapade to Columbus, Ohio for the annual, Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival Weekend. Nancy has the proud honor of co hosting the live webcast of Women's bodybuilding, fitness and figure finals along side Pro bodybuilder Bob Cicherillo and Bodybuilding.com. Nancy will be there to bring you the Live Backstage Pass... To all the preparation, drama and victory events!
Mirror mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? As the competitors count down their final training segments, cardio sessions and diet meals left till they hit the stage, bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts across the world anxiously await to see who will take each of the respective titles in the ladies divisions!
As your Co Host, once again, I will be there, backstage with the ladies to catch them right in the moment sharing with the world, their candid moments of glory, laughter, tears, and reflection. Something you won't want to miss! So make sure you tune into Bodybuilding.com's live webcast Friday March 2nd, 2007 starting with a pre- show to the finals.
As we anxiously await these women to unveil their stellar physiques, let's take a look at who our "One's to Watch" are for Ms. Figure, Fitness and Bodybuilding International.
I think one would not contest that last year's Figure results were by far the most controversial, raising the eyebrows of many. To recap, our reigning champion Jenny Lynn fell ill hours before the prejudging segment causing her to withdraw.
As people awed in surprise, they exhaled hoping the legendary Monica Brant would finally be awarded her ever-deserving title she has been denied for years. So we thought, when the judges announced 1st place Mary Elizabeth Lado, the moments of silence could have shattered glass followed by a 2 minute standing ovation on Monica's behalf.
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Mary Elizabeth Lado At The 2006 Arnold Classic.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Classic Here.
Taking a look at this year's line up, many fans were disappointed to note the absence of both favorites Jenny Lynn and Monica Brant. So the question remains, who will win this year's Figure International?
Does this leave the door wide open for our reigning champion Mary Elizabeth Lado? I would assume many anticipate her to reclaim her title especially with her 2 biggest rivals out of the game. This very well may be a viable assumption given, she shows up in top condition, which was not the case at the past Olympia. With that being said she better look out for some of the up and coming competitors who will be kicking at her 'heels'.
Ones to watch...
Trailing the heels of Lado we would have to look at Amanda Savell, Gina Aliotti, Valerie Waugaman and Latisha Wilder. These top girls have really been making waves on the figure stage and will most likely dictate the rest of your top 5 line up.
Amanda Savell has definitely created a fan base this past year! If you have had a chance to see Amanda on stage, you would agree, she does emulate a package dictating the combination of beauty and fitness.
She is consistent with each show having a package that is both aestetically pleasing as well as conditioned. Having placed 3rd at last year's Arnold, I think Amanda is hungry for a victory this year!
How can she not be one to watch! Given 2006 was her first year on the IFBB Pro stage she created quite a resume for herself including a 1st place win at the Tournament of Champions, placing 6th at her first Figure Olympia and 2nd at The West Palm Beach show. Gina even won the rookie of the year award. She is young, eager and lethal... I am sure the figure stage will be watching her!
Valerie Waugaman has done considerably well on and off stage for 2006. If you have seen Val on stage you would lather in envy on how genetically gifted her physique is. Val could potentially be a lethal weapon on stage all right, however, the 'could' factor will dictate that.
Val has a tendency to be quite unpredictable on stage when it comes to overall physique and presentation. You may recall last year's Olympia where Val decided to add an 'innovative' element to her figure presentation, which caused much controversy leaving judges with a memorable taste in their mouths.
Last year's Arnold rewarded her with 8th place and then she came out strong taking the title at the Colorado Pro Show. The key to Val's placing this year will highly depend on her and the package she decides to bring to the stage, this time around.
| 2007 Arnold Prep, Valerie Waugaman: Video Trailer. Click The Play Button To Start The Video.
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Next up on the ones to watch list, Latisha Wilder. Always consistent and in shape! One thing I must comment Latisha for is her on going efforts to improve her overall physique and presentation.
Every time she sets foot on stage, you are guaranteed to find a new hairstyle, beautiful suit and her symmetry, you can never play with. It is always right on the money. What is even more appealing is her quiet confidence that glows on stage.
I am sure Latisha is eager to bump up last year's placing of 7th to top 5.
Other competitors that are strong: Chastity Sloane, Jane Awad... and look out for first time Arnold walkers: Sonia Adcock, Briana Tindell and Corey Matthews.
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View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Figure Finals Here.
I must take my hat off to these girls. Out of all the categories, I always have to give credit to the girls of fitness, who are not only burdened with the nature of training and dieting but have to throw a routine in the mix. Better them than me!
These girls work hard and they aren't going anywhere. The commitment and longevity of these women fitness competitors pretty much lock up the top placings dictating the skeleton pecking order as such:
Top 3 placings are normally tied to Adela Garcia, Jen Hendershott and Kim Klein.
Adela, our 'Latin muchacha' came back fierce and strong to reclaim the Ms. Fitness International title that she was stripped of by her biggest rival, Jen Hendershott who took victory in 2005.
I guess that was her fuel to make an even stronger come back when she managed to not only win the Arnold last year 2006; she even won the Olympia too, showing the world that she means business! She is back on track and ready to make a repeat performance that will start marking history books.
Having said that, Jen Hendershott would probably beg to differ. For those who know Jen personally, she will tell it like it is, and do it like it needs to be done! Jen always brings flare to the stage with her creative routines and interesting concepts.
I sure fans will always remember her 2005 banana routine coming out virtually in a banana suit. That is Ms. Hendershott for you! I would put my money on Jen breathing down Adela's neck, making her sweat for that title.
The final competitor usually in the top triangle is Kim Klein. Never rule out Kim as a possible candidate for the title. Her routines are clean, consistent and filled with a lot of difficulty due to her strong background in gymnastics. Don't be surprised, if she is the one to surprise us one day!
The next "ones to watch group" are typically pooled into Julie Palmer, Tracey Greenwood, Tanji Johnson and Julie Shipley-Childs. Each of these women are all highly anticipating a break into the top 3 when it comes to the Arnold and the Olympia. At any other show, these girls will definitely take a victory. Some brief notations.
Look for Tanji Johnson who placed 6th in last year's Arnold and 4th at the Olympia. Her strength is always in her routines where she is known to dazzle her fans.
Julie Palmer, similar to Latisha Wilder of the figure category, always shows up in mint condition on stage. She spends a lot of time re-inventing different looks for herself when it comes to hair, make-up and suits which was most noted on stage throughout 2006.
Additionally, if you saw her physique she presented to the stage at the 2006 Olympia, one would agree it was by far the best condition Julie has ever brought to the stage. Look out; someone is ready to make a break!
Tracey Greenwood otherwise know as the "fitness doctor", should be anxious to show the world what she's got after dealing with her injured thumb and hindering her placing.
Julie Shipley-Childs kept herself 5th place strong at both last year's Arnold and Olympia. She is pleasant to watch on stage and I am sure is working hard to keep her top 5 placing with the other ladies so close to her.
Other faces to look for on the fitness stage are the familiar Debbie Czempinski, Angela Monteleone-Smesch and Mindy O'Brien.
And finally we get to what I call the "queens of the kings". If you think that the male bodybuilders are the only ones who express their competitiveness towards their rivalry, think again. The divas that battle it out for that Ms. International title mean business.
Most of the ladies have had an undying passion, loyalty and longevity to the sport of bodybuilding; it is what defines their being. There are many strong women each year who compete but what I find is it really depends on who really comes out on top of their game on 'judgment day'.
Iris Kyle is the obvious one to watch and one to beat in this year's showcase. She managed to walk away with both titles last year of Ms. International and Ms. Olympia so she is definitely queen of the throne. She is a veteran competitor making her defeat, very difficult.
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View More Pics From The 2006 Ms. Olympia Finals Here.
On that note I think competitors Dayana Cadeau and Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia would disagree. Dayana, (having spoken with her last year prior to the Arnold), is always confident and ready to 'bring it on' and I am sure last year's disappointment left her with enough ammunition to 'set if off' once again. Dayana has claimed her victory back in 2004.
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View More Pics 2006 Ms. Olympia Finals Here.
Yaxeni Oriquen is yet another who would like to regain her title, especially after last year's placings. She took 3rd at last year's Arnold and perhaps an unexpected 7th place at the Olympia.
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Yaxeni Oriquen At The 2005 Olympia.
View More Pics Here.
I think this year will be the year that will define her consistency as a competitor. When she comes in right for the stage, her physique is very pleasing, however, she lacks in proving to be a consist competitor on top of her game at each show.
Other competitors who just came off the Olympia stage are Lisa Aukland, Annie Rivieccio, Bonny Priest and Betty Pariso. Each with their own 'unique conditioning' and physique all have a good chance of placing well on the Ms. International stage.
I must say, we would have to pay our respects to Betty Pariso. She is a prime example of the often-versed cliché "Age is nothing but a number." She is one of the most 'veteran' competitors on stage shall we say, and she still manages to carry her own.
She presents a great package on stage and is a positive role model to fans across the world. She also was named "The Female Athlete of the Year Award," at the Flex Awards which was held at the after VIP event post Olympia night. You go girl!
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Betty Pariso & Ben Weider.
Betty Was Named The 2006 Female Athlete
Of The Year At The Flex Awards.
Be sure you log on to www.bodybuilding.com for the Live Webcast March 2 and 3rd so you can see for yourself who the fairest of them all are!
Watch The Events Free & Live:
For the first time ever, online viewers will be able to view the Men's Bodybuilding Finals live while watching the live preparation and drama backstage at the largest bodybuilding show in the world! The free, live all access webcasts will also include the Ms. International, Fitness International and Figure International on Friday March 2, 2007, and the Men's prejudging on Saturday afternoon, March 3, 2007.
"We are very excited about this partnership," said Bodybuilding.com CEO Ryan DeLuca. The Arnold Classic is the world's largest gathering of athletes, fans, and companies interested in fitness, nutrition and training. Bodybuilding.com's All Access and Backstage Pass webcasts will bring the athletes, the event and the sport to more people than ever before," said DeLuca.
Nancy Di Nino
Bodybuilding.com's co host for the ladies webcast finals... ..