2015 Arnold Classic Bikini International Preview
Ashley Kaltwasser is the only woman competing out of last year's top five finishers. Will she be defeated by an up-and-comer or will she become the first back-to-back Bikini International champ?
Fifteen women will compete in the 2015 Bikini International in Columbus, Ohio. Last year's champion, Ashley Kaltwasser, who also won the Olympia in 2013 and 2014, will attempt to become the first back-to-back champion in the popular division. She's the lone representative from the 2014 top five, but will have her work cut out for her with a slew of up-and-coming prospects. From my seat, I see that the outcome will likely be a repeat of the Olympia.
This will be the fifth year the Bikini International competition will be held as part of the Arnold Sports Festival, and every year, the winning package gets a little sweeter. In 2015, the ladies will compete for a $7,000 first-prize purse. But this year, the Arnold events move from Veterans Auditorium to its new home at the Battelle Grand convention center. Who knows what excitement this new venue will bring when the prejudging and finals go down on Saturday, March 7!
2015 Bikini International Competitors
Noy Alexander is no stranger to the winner's circle, but will have her work cut out for her in this lineup. Noy took top honors at the 2014 Muscle Contest, but a top-six finish here would be a huge accomplishment. Noy is one of the few competitors who can compete in an open or masters events with ease. If she puts the nerves aside and nails her presentation, she could be in the mix.
Nicole Ankney took top honors at the 2014 Masters Bikini and went on to win both the open and masters competitions at the Sacramento Pro. Despite her obvious talent, this year will be her first time competing at the Arnold, which is a huge step up in competition for her. Because she's relatively new to the competition scene, a good placing in this big show will put her on the map.
Narmin Assria will be one of the shortest competitors on stage, but don't let her height fool you. She's added more muscle to her upper body over the years, and looks like she wants to win. Despite being a mainstay in the top spots in all her other professional competitions, this will be her Bikini International debut. She has improved her presentation over the years. If her lower half is conditioned, she'll be a top-six contender.
Sara Back's appearance at the 2015 Arnold Sports Festival will mark the first time she competes in the United States. It will be a huge test for her. She took top honors at the 2013 IFBB Finnish Nationals, but has only competed once as a pro at last year's Nordic Pro, where she earned third place. Sara may not be well known in the pro ranks yet, but after the Arnold, she will be. She has youthful good looks and a body that belongs in the top spots.
Bianca Berry will be competing in the Arnold for the first time, but will definitely be able to hold her own. She took some time off in 2013, but came back strong last year. She was a consistent top-five contender in 2014, so if she continues to bring the package she has been, she'll be in the mix.
Christina Strom Fjaere
Christina Strom Fjaere dominated the amateur ranks and won her pro debut at the 2014 Mozolani Pro. Her second-ever pro show was the 2014 Bikini Olympia, which means she has tremendous potential. Christina ended the 2014 season with two top-five finishes. She has the physique and looks to make you do a double take. If she nails her conditioning, she should be in the top five.
Christina Strom Fjaere
Ashley Kaltwasser has been on a roll lately, and has become the woman with a target on her back. She's trying to become the first woman to win this show twice, and she definitely has the physique to do it. The biggest challenge for Ashley is her presentation and the little details. She has the most athletic physique in this lineup, but her hair, makeup, and presentation have held her back in the past.
Janet Layug was on the fast track of success as an amateur, and made her pro debut on the Bikini International stage last year where she finished in eighth place. From there, she went on to be a threat in every show she entered. Janet has no trouble with her presentation, and exudes confident sexiness when she's on stage. If she brings in a tighter lower half than she did at the Olympia, I think she could land the top prize. I certainly don't see her finishing lower than second place.
Sarah LeBlanc has become a leading lady in the division. She burst into the top spots last year, and won four shows. She capped off the season with a win at the Ferrigno Classic. Sarah brings her own style of posing and one of the best booties in the division. This will be her first time at the Bikini International. If you're placing bets on where she'll finish, you can't go wrong with a top-six wager.
Stephanie Mahoe fought time and time again as an amateur to reach the coveted pro level. Once she did, she wasted no time in becoming one of the most active competitors on the circuit. She notched two wins in 2014, and will look to stay in the mix in her Bikini International debut.
Justine Munro arguably has the best bikini booty and physiques in the show and one of the best in the entire division. She'll be one of the few blondes in the lineup and the lone representative from Canada. Justine was 10th at this show last year, but if she can nail the little details with her tanning, hair, and presentation, I think she'll move up into the money spots this year.
Noemi Olah won her class in the Arnold Amateur, and in 2010 won her pro debut. She's been up and down in her placings over the years, but she has two pro wins to her credit. Noemi's conditioning will be the determining factor on where she finishes.
India Paulino is the veteran competitor in this lineup. She won the show in 2013 and is hungry to get back to that top position. She was sixth in this show last year, but if she brings a similar physique to the one that earned her first place at the 2014 Tampa Pro, she'll be back in the mix. I'm not a fan of her presentation and hip-popping, but that has never held her back from doing well in the judges' eyes.
Anna Starodubtseva will be competing in the Bikini International for the second time. She finished in the dreaded 16th spot last year, but don't let the placing fool you. She earned a spot in the 2014 Bikini International contest by winning the overall Arnold Amateur Bikini in 2013. Anna was second at the 2014 Russian Pro, her best finish as a pro.
Kenea Yancey, like Anna, earned her automatic invite by winning the Arnold Amateur. Kenea won the 2014 Arnold Amateur Bikini and went on to win her class at the 2014 NPC Nationals. She wasted no time entering the pro ranks, and finished ninth in her pro debut at the Tampa Pro. From there, she improved her package and finished third the Iowa Pro.