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My Experience At The 2002 Fitness America!

What an amazing experience! In all my years competing in gymnastics, diving, and cheerleading, I have never been around so many beautiful, sexy, smart and friendly women. Find out how I did and what it was like!

What an amazing experience! In all my years competing in gymnastics, diving, and cheerleading, I have never been around so many beautiful, sexy, smart and friendly women. The atmosphere was positive and encouraging, of course we were all there with a common goal… to perform the best we can and hope it is what the judges are looking for.

So I am sure you want to know how I placed. For the preliminary rankings I placed 36th out of 82 competitors, beating many veterans, even a couple top 10 finalists from last year. In the ESPN Series I probably placed 5th out of 5 people. We do not know the rankings until it airs on ESPN. However, the winner for my Series show was Tiffany Ripple-Pristelski, another writer.

Tiffany (right) and me backstage at the Fitness America.
Tiffany and me patiently waiting!

Getting Ready For The Show

And now the rest of the story...

I worked much harder for this competition than I had for my previous ones, except on my routine. I felt really good going to the Fitness America Pageant 2002. I had been training weights and cardio intensely and consistently. Diet was coming along and I owe all that to Mike Davies of The Fitness Factory in Columbus, Ohio. My routine, however; was something to be reckoned with. For a few weeks my friend and I had been working on my choreography. I pretty much had a good layout of power and strength with some dance (not a strong point of mine). As I put my routine together I kept watching routines from last year and became unsatisfied with what I had. I needed more crowd entertainment value, which really meant dancing to and addressing the crowd more. So I kept changing my routine. Pretty soon the whole thing was different and I didn't have a routine at all. Come Monday, two days before I am to leave for my trip I had nothing but a few skill moves and music. Tuesday I worked to take something with me. By the time I competed on Thursday I had finally finished it and it wasn't half bad.

I arrived in Redondo Beach on Wednesday. I felt a little shy and alone. While I was standing in line for athlete registration I was hoping that Tiffany would soon arrive. Within a few minutes I turned around and there she was with another writer, Rebecca Lee. Those two are social butterflies and know everyone. I began to feel more comfortable as I met more people through them. I began to see competitors that I watch and admire on television.

The Preliminaries

Preliminaries began on Thursday morning. I was number 74 so I got to sleep in a little later. The event itself took place at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Theater.

As I waited to perform, I listened to my music. I warmed up and stretched, practiced some skills, and still worked on my routine with prop timing. While waiting backstage, I took the chance to meet more athletes. I love these women! They are so special and inspiring. After a little while I knew there was nothing more I could do, yet I felt good.

"... and from Meridian, Idaho, Katrina Humphrey." I performed my routine pretty well. I bobbled on one thing but when I watched it, the routine looked pretty good. Not too bad for having never practiced it full out or away from the mirror. Many hours later was swimwear. I looked and felt good. I was not too hard (some women cane in too lean) or too soft. I felt beautiful and sexy, thus allowing me to feel confident onstage. Tiffany said I looked really confident and elegant, but during the ESPN Series I didn't like my hair as much and didn't feel as good. I hope my stage presence was okay. I guess I will find out when Mia Finnegan, the commentator, gives her feedback on national television.

I am 2nd from the left in the lineup.
Tammy and me.

That night we began learning the opening routine for the finals show. There were tumblers, jazz dancers hip-hop and a general group of dancers. I of course chose tumbling.

I was one of five girls in front at the very beginning of the show. We did a standing back tuck then went into two back handsprings. Many of us split up then tumbled across stage. As we moved out the dancers came in. It was really fun, but we did not get out of rehearsal until midnight and many of us had to be at the theatre again by 7 am the following morning.

Friday's Events

Friday morning I got to the theatre around 7:30 am. We ended up being two and a half hours behind. I was in group three and began just before noon. Because it is made for TV, everything has to be perfect; stage lighting, background, sound, etc. There were many technical problems that put us behind. I was so excited to perform again and I knew this routine was going to be even better this time. I had practiced and hit everything while I was warming up. Then there was such a long waiting period I felt it drain me.

Tiffany and me posing.
Tiffany and me posing again.

My routine began better than my last one and after my tumbling pass I thought I heard and felt a crack in my foot. From there until the end of my routine my timing was off, my strength moves were shaky, my dance was sloppy, I missed a skill and was ahead of my music. What else could happen? Well would you laugh with me if I told you I picked up my light saber from the wrong end and practically bent it half with my foot and then swung it around by the end rather than the handle. What a mess. Everybody said they couldn't tell, but I said, "Wait until you see it on TV". I feel I presented myself well onstage in swimwear. I looked better during prelims but was still confident during the ESPN Series. I guess I will find out when it airs on National television beginning February 2003.

Friday night we rehearsed the opening routine several times. My foot was in so much pain having to practice over and over again. When ESPN airs the Finals and you catch it from the beginning you will find me in the very front and center opening with standing back flips.

Tiffany (Vampire) and me (Star Wars) in our routine wear.
In our outfits for the opening performance.

Finals consisted of the top 20 competitors from prelims (remember I was #36) and they were great. I had not had a chance to watch many of the routines until finals. My routine was a little different, less creative and exciting. The top 10, which is what will air, were incredible. The level of creativity and energy and precision was at it's highest. These women work long and hard to make this happen. I will wait for you to watch it to find out who won. I don't want to spoil it. The top 5 were so close and 1st place was actually a tie but only one could win. The judges dropped the high and low score to come up the tiebreaker.

What's Next For Me

I already have in the works getting a choreographer for next season, which opens again in a few months. She is in the Chicago area. I will begin my next resistance training and meal plan with my trainer in Columbus then I am set to begin on my next season.

My competition plans for next season include preparing for South Beach Miami; I hear it is one of the most fun Fitness Festivals. I also plan on competing in Miami again at the Fitness Universe Pageant in June, and return once again to Redondo Beach to claim my top 10 spot at Fitness America 2003.

Tiffany won our ESPN Series.

I had such an incredible experience competing and meeting many wonderful people this year. It is amazing how much joy this has brought to my life. I believe one of the most wonderful things we can do in life is unite the human race. I am glad that I get to participate in something like this that allows me to be in relationships with people from around the country and soon the world, people I know that I would never have the chance to meet other than in fitness.

Believe in yourself and reach for the moon. If you don't make it right away you will fall amongst the stars...enjoy the journey.

More Pics!

Me and my long awaited cheeseburger!
Our lineup in groups of five.

Brooke and I in swimwear.

Alison and me.
Me in my Star Wars outfit!

Great smile, Tif!
Practicing my stage posing.

Me, Tiffany, Cara and Keri.
Brooke and me, former college cheerleaders!

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