The 2011 Fitness Olympia has a cast of seasoned veterans mixed in with a few up-and-comers. Adela Garcia made history last year when she won a record fifth Fitness Olympia title. Can she add to her legacy with another win, or will a new queen of fitness begin her reign?
The Physique/2-piece Swimsuit Prejudging Round begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 16, 2011 and counts for 1/3 of the final score. The 2-minute Routine round takes place at 7 p.m. Friday night and counts for 2/3 of the final score. This makes for an exciting evening. The routines are always one of the highlights of the Olympia Weekend. Let's break down this year's lineup of athletes slated to take the stage to compete for the title of Ms. Fitness Olympia.
Michelle is one of the rookies in this year's event. This is her first Olympia, but you wouldn't know it when she takes the stage. Michelle made an immediate impact in the pro ranks when she finished third at the New York Pro. It's obvious that she has a strong gymnastics background when she performs her routine.
She made a simple hair change from curly to straight and as crazy as it sounds, it made a huge impact in her presentation in the 2-piece swimsuit round. Michelle is coming off a 4th place finish at the Toronto Pro show and positioned herself as a legitimate contender for the Top-6. I could see Michelle in the Top-6 for the physique round and if she nails her routine will be announced Friday night in the Top-6.
Jodi "Boom" Boam will leave a lasting impression in her Olympia debut. The Canadian cutie has been competing as a gymnast half her life and when you see her perform her routine you'll find yourself in awe of her strength skills. She's no stranger to the winner's circle. She compiled an impressive list of Top-5 finishes since 2007. She was Canada's youngest IFBB Pro at age 23.
She'll be the youngest competitor in the Fitness lineup at 24-years old, but she'll no doubt hang with the veterans. I like Jodi as my dark horse to shake things up in the Top-6. She'll likely be on the sidelines with the fist call-out in the physique round but will make up for it in the routine round. She will have one of the most impressive routines if she doesn't let first-time jitters get to her.
Myriam is another contender from the Northland; she is one of Canada's top Fitness Pros. Myriam returns to the Olympia stage where she hopes to move up into the coveted Top-3 spots. I give her props. She's managed to refine her physique over the years. When she first took the pro stage she looked like a little tank packing a ton of muscle and a thick waist. It's a common theme with Canadian competitors that they tend to be more muscular than those in the States.
It's what is rewarded in Canada and proves to be a challenge when competing in the U.S. Myriam successfully changed her physique and can hang with the top women. Her routines are some of the best in the biz when she comes out guns blazing. She's tried cutesy and I'm personally not a fan when she does that type of routine. I think she's at her best when she rocks to heavy music and plays up her strength moves. Capes is definitely a Top-6 contender.
Bethany without a doubt has one of the best physiques in this show and should be in the top callout. The only way she isn't in the Top-3 in the 2-piece round is if she comes in out of shape. I don't see that happening, but stranger things have happened. She has crazy good gymnastic skills and constantly improves her routines over the years. Sometimes she takes herself too seriously with her facial expressions and has a bit of a scowl on her face. If she smiles and relaxes she'll be in the money come Friday night's Finals.
Regiane Da Silva
Regiane is like a wind-up toy. She gets wound tight backstage and once her name is announced to take the stage for the routine rounds ... watch out. Trying to capture her routines is a workout for a photographer. She'll often fly higher than you'd expect. The crowd will roar after she finishes her routine. Regina has some crazy strength moves and is animated during her routines.
She should be in the top half of the routine rounds. She won't fair as well in the physique round, but given that the routines count for the majority of the final placing … she's in the hunt.
Nicole has amazing potential, but has yet to achieve it. She's always smiling from ear to ear and the pint-sized beauty has some of the best gymnastic skills in the pro ranks. She'll twist, turn, flip and fly like you didn't think was humanly possible. I said she has yet to reach her potential because she tends to come in off-the-mark with her conditioning.
She's always digging out of a hole after the 2-piece swimsuit round. I'd love to see Nicole come in conditioned and end up in the Top-6. She belongs there and it's up to her whether or not she finishes there.
Tina, when she's on with her physique, is one of the best in the biz. She has great shape and a tiny waist. She recently moved to California and we'll see if the change of scenery does anything to disrupt her prep. Her routines improved over the years and if she can nail it Friday night she could crack the Top-6. It won't come easy for her this year. She has some new competitors she hasn't faced before.
Since 2004, Garcia has 13 Pro wins; in her four non-wins, she finished no lower than 3rd place. Adela is a champion on and off the stage. She faced adversity and challenges throughout her life and always battled back to end up on top. She won her record fifth Fitness Olympia title in 2010 and looks to add title number six. Adela sat out the 2008 Olympia due to a knee injury.
Many people felt the injury would end her career but she proved them wrong, winning the last two titles. Adela will undoubtedly be in the top call-out for the physique round and unless she tries something silly and goes away from what worked in the past, she will leave as the champion once again. Adela is the one to beat Friday night, but I don't see her losing.
I've been an Oksana fan from the first time I saw her compete. Oksana finished tied for 16th at the 2007 Europa Super show and that was one of the biggest botched calls I've ever seen. The physique round counted for half the score and she was too muscular and hard but her routine was out of this world. She went on to place 3rd in the '07 All Star Pro and has been up and down in her placings since then. Oksana portrays a rare mix of talent and creativity.
The crowd loves her performances, but the judges often aren't on the same page. She performs incredible feats of strength with ease. How Oksana missed the Top-6 at the 2011 Fitness International is beyond me. The judges didn't like her routine and placed her 8th. Oksana's physique has become more of what the IFBB rewards and will be in the middle of the pack for the 2-piece round.
When it comes to the 2-minute routine, she doesn't dance to fast-paced music and is often penalized for it. When the dust settles, it won't matter where she places to the fans, they will still react as they always do ... thunderous applause. She is one of the few fitness competitors who will give you goose bumps Friday night. Let's hope the judges reward her routine and she finishes in a top spot.
Tanji continues to finish in the shadow of Adela Garcia. She came close to being crowned the champ, but it never seemed to be enough. The fans love her routines; she incorporates a little hip-hop with gymnastics. Last year she performed a STOMP inspired routine and it was good enough to beat everyone except Adela.
Tanji has come in 'off' at times in her conditioning but not in the past few shows. I look for her to be at her best and be the biggest threat for an upset. She doesn't have to do anything different from what she's done in the past in order to win. Can she do it? Absolutely! Will she? That's in the hands of the judges.
Hers is a name many won't recognize. Diana's been around for awhile, just not on the IFBB stage. Diana has a strong background in gymnastics and has been a top contender at the World Championships for years. The Brazilian will make her first Olympia appearance this year and it's an accomplishment considering she wasn't even an IFBB Pro a year ago.
Diana is the overall 2011 Arnold Amateur Fitness Champion and with that win Brazil granted her pro status. She went on to compete at the FIBO Pro where she finished second in her pro debut. I don't see her finishing in the Top-6 at this show, but she will provide an entertaining routine Friday night.
The last time we saw Mindi on the Olympia stage she limped off with an injury. She took the last two years to recover and will look to return to the top spots once again. She has the potential in the routine rounds to be in the hunt.
I don't see her being in the top callout for the physique round, but that won't stop her in the routine round. Mindi is coming off a victory at the Toronto Pro and will look to continue her winning ways in Las Vegas. A Top-6 finish would be a huge accomplishment for her Olympia return. * Mindi O'Brien pulled out of the Olympia with a nagging injury. *
Camala has the potential to be a star and is finding her way in the pro ranks. She finished 10th in her Olympia debut in 2010 and set her sights on moving up. Camala came in way too muscular last year and she didn't perform her best routine. She showed she can hang with the top women when she's confident and on her game.
We'll have to wait and see which Camala shows up in Las Vegas. I hope she learned from her previous missteps. She'll need to step her game up in the routine round to finish in the Top-6 here. She certainly has all the tools to carve out a Top-6 finish; it's up to her whether or not she does it.
Kizzy can wow the crowd and judges with her routines, but she needs to stick with what works. When she competed at the 2010 Olympia she changed her routine from what got her there and it was a huge misstep. She finished at the bottom of the pack, but has the ability to be at the top. She'll likely be on the outside looking in when it comes to the physique round. If Kizzy focuses on her insane flexibility and strength moves, she'll finish higher in her second Olympia.
My Top 6 Predictions
Anything can happen, that's a given, but if everyone is at their best (which never happens) here is how I see it going down at Friday night's Finals.
1. Adela Garcia
2. Tanji Johnson
3. Oksana Grishina
4. Myriam Capes
5. Bethany Wagner
6. Jodi Boam