The super bowl of bodybuilding is in it's final hours from taking place. The event has been held in Las Vegas, NV for the past few years and will take place there again this year.
At the time of writing this there are still two shows for the women to qualify at but I think it's a safe bet that anyone who hasn't qualified most likely won't be a top five threat. No disrespect intended to those competing in the upcoming shows looking to qualify and it's an honor to be on the Olympia stage.
The women will all be on the same stage this year and their prize money has increased as well. The women will show their hard work off on Friday, Sept. 29th for the pre-judging. Let's get down to the preview and predictions.
Throughout the year I've given my predictions on the various shows and admittedly I fall more then a little short in the women's bodybuilding. Where women's bodybuilding will go at this year's Olympia should be interesting. There are currently twelve women qualified to date. Many of them qualified at last year's Olympia and/or the Ms. International.
Last year's champ Yaxeni Oriquen will look to repeat as a the 2006 champion and should be in the top three. There are two women who I could see giving her a run for money at the title, Iris Kyle and Dayana Cadeau.
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At The 2005 Olympia.
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Iris Kyle is a past Ms. Olympia Champion and defeated Lenda Murray in 2004. She came up a bit short to Yaxeni as the runner-up last year. We saw he defeat Yaxeni and Dayana Cadeau at the 2006 Ms. International for that title.
Dayana Cadeau and Iris Kyle were the only two women last year to give a preview at the press conference. Dayana will be in the mix for a top three spot, the question is where will she land in the mix. Is it her year to take the title? We've had a new champ the past two years will it be three in a row? I'm going out on a limb and saying yes.
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2006 Ms. International:
Iris Kyle (1st), Dayana Cadeau (2nd), Yaxeni Oriquen (3rd).
Kathy is making the switch back to bodybuilding and is expected to compete at the Atlantic City show. She has the potential to qualify at that show and come into a top 5 spot at the Ms. Olympia. I also like the look Colette Nelson displayed at the Europa Super show.
Her obvious weakness is her legs compared to her upper body but she displays everything right about female bodybuilding. If Jitka Harazimova gets her tan a little darker and comes in a bit tighter than past shows she will be a threat to the top three. Betty Pariso is consistently in the top 6 and a seasoned pro.
I spoke with Jan Tana backstage at the Montreal Pro Show and she told me she had finally found a tanning combination that will work for Betty. One year at the Olympia she had a greenish/yellow tint and Jan Tana assured me we wouldn't be seeing anything like that from Betty at this show.
My top 6 picks (based on who has currently qualified):
- Dayana Cadeau
- Yaxeni Oriquen
- Iris Kyle
- Jitka Harazimova
- Colette Nelson
- Betty Pariso
Currently there are twelve competitors qualified for the Olympia. Competitors still have one more chance to qualify at the Atlantic City Pro Show a week before the Olympia. Last year's champion was Jen Hendershott but fell to third at the 2006 Fitness International. It sets up an interesting competition again this year.
My top 6 predictions.
1. Adela Garcia:
Adela was not at her best at last year's Olympia and a great deal of that had to do with distractions in her personal life. She has put all of that behind her and proved she is still a champ by winning the 2006 Ms. Fitness International in Columbus.
Adela is proof that you don't need to have a gymnastic background to excel in fitness. Her physique is one of the top if not thee top in the fitness ranks as well. The chica's routines have improved each year and look for her to bring another top-notch routine to the stage later this month.
Adela promised me that her routine would be something new and different that we haven't seen from her before. At the Europa Super show she was working the GNC booth and looked like she could have stepped on stage the next day, she is definitely in shape and I look for her recapture her title as Ms. Fitness Olympia.
2. Kim Klein:
Kim has a tremendous physique and is always in the top callouts for these rounds. Her routines have progressively been better at each show. The one thing I hope we see out of Kim is a new routine. She's used the smoke'n in the boys room routine for the Olympia and this year's International.
I'm sure we'll see something new out of her as she looks to capture her first fitness Olympia title. Kim recently signed with MET-Rx and look for her to be at the MET-Rx booth at the Olympia Expo.
3. Jen Hendershott:
Jen is known for her creative routines and this year shouldn't be any different. We've seen her ride out in motorized cars, a nun outfit and the unforgettable banana suit. She consistently wins the 45 second routines and it keeps her in the running for top honors.
We've seen Jen's physique come in an number of different looks and it's the area that usually holds her back from the overall title. One thing we know for certain Jen is an entertainer and no matter where she places those in attendance are sure to be entertained.
4. Julie Childs:
Julie narrowly beat out Tanji Johnson for fifth place at the 2006 Fitness International and went on to win the New York Pro Fitness title later in the year.
Julie has improved her physique and her routines over the past couple of years and should find herself in the top positions at this show. She was in seventh at this show last year and given the momentum she has behind her now I look for her to drastically improve on last year's finish.
Stop by the MET-Rx booth and see Julie at the Olympia Expo. She's always very friendly to the fans and you'll rarely see her not smiling. She's a true professional and look for 2006 to be her best showing yet.
5. Tanji Johnson:
Tanji is on a roll. She's won her last two shows by capturing the All Star fitness title and then the Europa Super show fitness title. She's told me she is putting the Energizer Bunny routine to bed and will have a new routine for the Olympia.
Tanji seems to do well at the smaller shows but fails to land in the top 5 at the bigger shows. I look for her to break the curse this year and find herself in the top 5 spot this time around. Another true professional of the industry and always a pleasure to speak to. Look for Tanji to have her best showing of the year at the '06 Olympia.
6. Julie Palmer Or Tracey Greenwood:
Flip a coin on this one. Julie improved on her routines at the Europa Super show but wasn't at her best with her physique. Tracey Greenwood has ridiculously strong moves in her routine and seems to fair better at the bigger shows - i.e. the Olympia and Fitness International.
Tracey placed 4th at the International this year, where Jule was 7th. Tracey was also 4th at the '05 Olympia where Palmer took 5th. If I was a gambling man I'd put my money on Greenwood to edge out Palmer for the 6th place spot simply because of her routines.
Lordy, lordy look at all the figure competitors in the Olympia this year!!! TWENTY TWO (and potentially a couple more after the Tournament of Champions) women have qualified for the Olympia in 2006. There are a number of first timers competing this year but the top six should shape up to be those we've seen at the top before.
It will be interesting to see how the women come into the show as the "softer" look as prevailed more often then not at the shows this year. You will see a variety of physiques from great shape, to lots of muscle to those with not much muscle. How will those without much fair?
I know I wouldn't want to be judging this show because there are a number of incredible physiques and how you judge them is a challenge to say the least. I've faired better at predicting the figure than anything else but the Olympia line-up is anyone's guess, but what the hay here's my two cents.
1. Davana Medina:
She has never lost an Olympia and why should she start now? It's clear the judges at the Olympia like her physique and have rewarded her three years in a row. One thing Davana has done differently this year is not compete all year.
In year's past we've seen her do the New York Pro or other smaller shows throughout the year. Davana mentioned in an interview on hardbodyradio.com that she puts up photos from other shows throughout the year to look at what look is being rewarded. This is the first year she hasn't competed before the Olympia, will it work in her favor?
Hey if it works for Ronnie Coleman, why not? Davana always has spectacular suits and while her posing isn't always the best it is good enough to show her hard work. Davana also mentioned in her interview this would be her last show - will she retire as 4x Ms. Olympia Champ? We'll find out in a few days.
2. Mary Lado:
Look for Mary to move up at the Olympia this year. Last year Mary had to deal with a hurricane and the discouragement of a now, ex-boyfriend. She was victorious in the Ms. Figure International and should do well in Vegas without any distractions this year.
Mary has a great look and nice lines, we've seen her come in too soft before and it doesn't work well for her. If she brings the same look she did to the Arnold stage look for her to do very well at the Olympia.
3. Jenny Lynn:
Jenny had to withdrawl from the Figure International competition due to sickness. She redeemed herself at the Pittsburgh Pro in May but a couple weeks later slipped to the runner-up position behind Valerie Waugaman by one point. Her posing and stage presence are always great and is nearly unbeatable from the back. Jenny's legs have always been a topic of discussion but she has greatly improved them over the last couple of years.
4. Valerie Waugaman:
She placed seventh at the Olympia last year and fell to eighth at the Figure International. Valerie seemed to find the right combination on stage in Colorado by securing a victory over Jenny Lynn. Valerie's stage presence is tremendous and she catches your attention with every turn.
At times it can be a bit overdone but if she doesn't over do the sassiness with the turns it works. Val is an interesting woman who doesn't believe in being in the gym much.
While working at the Bodybuilding.com booth at the Europa Super Show she said she likes to inspire others by doing pushups, situps and mountain climbers whenever and wherever she sees fit. She then proceeded to do 20 pushups to prove her point. Hey, whatever works right? She has an incredible physique and if you see her after the show she may just drop and give you twenty... if you ask.
5. Monica Brant:
WHAT, MO in 5th? Get the heck out of here. I know right? Monica is hands down the people's champ. Anyone who was at the Fitness International when Monica was announced second saw and heard how the crowd felt. Monica received a standing ovation and the applause didn't stop for what seemed like several minutes.
Monica has done all she can do when it comes to competing in Figure, she brings an incredible physique to the stage every time and she arguably should have a couple figure titles already under her belt. I'd love to see Monica win the Figure Olympia but the past three years and all the other shows have indicated for whatever reason, she will not prevail in first place.
Monica knows she has more fans than any other female competitor out there and if you need proof just stop by the BSN booth and see the line of people wanting autographs from her.
6. Amanda Savell:
Correction, make that Amanda JO Savell. Those Texans are particular on how you state their names and it's Amanda Jo, got it? Good.
Amanda has come along way in a short amount of time. She has a great physique and she is coming off a repeat victory at the Europa Super show. Stop by the Pinnacle booth to see Amanda, she has that southern drawl that you can't help but smile when hearing. Look for Amanda to be a bit tighter then she was in Dallas and she should qualify for the 2007 Olympia here.
There are many, many others who could slip into the top 6.
Christine Pomponio-Pate is one of the shorter competitors but can hold her own on stage. She is a gorgeous woman who is always smiling and other competitors should take note of the continued stage presence even when not out in the comparisons.
She placed third in Colorado and you could chalk that up to her tanning being way too dark but followed it up with a victory at the California Pro. Last year she was sixth at the Olympia and if she has it her way she will improve on that finish. She will definitely be in the top ten but where? We shall see.
Others to watch and should find themselves in the top ten are Amber Littlejohn, who has competed since last year's Olympia where she placed fourth. Jennifer Searles was victorious at the Motor City show and should find herself somewhere in the mix of the top ten.
Michelle Adams was the champ in Montreal and runner-up at the Europa, look for her to be somewhere in that 6-10 lineup. Julie "DJ" Wallis returns to the Olympia stage and has one of the better physiques you will see. She placed third at the Europa and second at the Motor City. She is definitely worthy of a top ten spot but she'll have her hands full.
Gina Aliotta is the youngest competitor and has tremendous potential to do well. I don't think she will crack the top ten her first time out but don't rule it out. You won't find a sweeter, kinder competitor then Michelle Flake and she has one helluva physique too, not to mention three kids!
I like Mama Flake, I think she is balanced and should be in the top ten. She didn't get a whole lot of love throughout the year but she qualified at the Motor City and looks darn good. This will be her first time on stage and any woman with three kids and looks 1/2 as good as her is already a champ.
Tara Scotti is another one who you never know where she will place. Last year at the Olympia Tara placed a disappointing 14th. She's improved her physique, toned down the conditioning and looks to improve on last year's placing.
The one to keep your eye on is Jessica Paxson. Jessica placed third in Pittsburgh and won the whole show in New York. I had the pleasure of talking with her at the Europa Super show and she is excited but nervous about the Olympia. The reason I say keep an eye out for her is she has incredible shape and great stage presence, however the critics are quick to point out her lack of balance in her legs compare to her upper body and she doesn't carry much muscle compared to a number of other women.
As I told her in Dallas, you will either do very, very well or you will be at the bottom of the line up. I say this because her physique is much different than most of the other women in terms of muscle mass.
Another competitor who is beautiful but often overlooked is Latisha Wilder. Like Pomponio, she is a shorter competitor but looks great.
Yikes! I don't envy the judges for this figure line-up. When you go down the list of women, all posses their own great qualities and all of them have done well throughout the year. We'll see how things play out in Vegas and this is one show not to miss!