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Arnold Weekend 2010: Kyle Earns Fifth Ms. International Title; Fitness and Figure Champs Crowned

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Andrew Oye's Pro Muscle Report, Gossip
By Andrew Oye | Mar 15, 2010


The women of the Arnold Sports Festival brought the variety of their competitive physique divisions to the Veterans Memorial stage in Columbus. In women's bodybuilding, Iris Kyle and Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia led a lineup of 14 competitors hunting for a share of $55,500 in prize money and the 22nd Ms. International crown.

Kyle and Oriquen-Garcia are both four-time champions who had come to settle a score. Kyle won the event in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. Oriquen-Garcia won in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2008. This year would be the tie-breaking, record-setting year.
The Ms. International competitors are judged on grace of the female muscular form, but the judges also look for muscular bulk, balanced development, muscular density and definition. To date, nine women have held the title since the division's inaugural year of 1989.

In the end, Kyle broke the tie and set the new record with five Ms International victories. The five-time Ms. Olympia and now Five-time Ms. International is the most decorated athletes in women's bodybuilding. Kyle dominated the field with sculpted mass, particularly in poses from the rear. Oriquen-Garcia had to settle for the runner-up spot. Debi Laszewski landed in a respectable 3rd place, the same placing as her 2009 Ms Olympia debut.

A combined thirty-four more women competed for $99,000 in the Fitness International and Figure International contests.

Fifteen Fitness International competitors flipped and danced their way across the Veterans Memorial stage. Fitness International competitors are judged in the categories of strength, body tone, shape, flexibility, creativity, choreography, athletic competence and performance.

IFBB Fitness Pro Adela Garcia racked up another win with a 1st place victory, now owning a triplet set of Ms. Fitness International trophies. Garcia, who also owns four Ms. Fitness Olympia trophies, didn't overwhelm in the physique round but redeemed herself with a J.Lo-inspired performance routine. While other competitors' routines were just as, if not more, entertaining, perhaps Garcia's stage legacy and strength carry her. Ohio's own Julie Palmer nabbed 2nd place, verifying her self-classification as the perennial underdog. In her highly creative performance routine, she poked fun at her Arnold Classic record, which consists of gradually climbing the ladder but still missing out on that elusive 1st place spot. The skit involved a look into the future and Palmer appearing on stage in a "fat suit," i.e., forever chasing the goal even after it's too late.  Fan fave Tanji Johnson took 3rd place. An energizer bunny with a cheerleader's spirit and an acrobat's strength, Johnson, who was also the 2009 Ms. Fitness Olympia runner-up, has an infectious positivity that radiates from the stage.

Nineteen Figure International competitors strutted their toned forms across the Veterans Memorial stage in heels and sparkling bathing suits. Figure International competitors represent some of the world's fittest, most shapely physiques that are judged in two rounds of posing. The figure contest differs from the fitness event in that it does not judge acrobatic skills and routines. Instead judges are evaluating qualities such as tone, proportion and conditioning.

Rumblings in the bodybuilding world are the ideal physique for the Pro Figure Division is in a state of flux. In years past, the winning look was super-lean and femininely muscular. But lately, a slightly softer appearance seems to be the look of choice and the judges' choice seems to be IFBB Figure Pro Nicole Wilkins-Lee, who followed up her 1st place finish at the 2009 Figure Olympia with a 1st place finish at the 2010 Figure International. Erin Stern, who took 2nd place, also fits into the firm-and=fit format, as opposed to the ripped-and-pumped prototype. Shapely Heather Mae French took 4th place, and rising young figure star Mindi Smith finished in 4th place.

It was recently announced that the Arnold Sports Festival will add a Pro Bikini competition to next year's contest.  "We are very aware of the growing popularity of professional bikini competitions and are proud to offer the world's top pros the opportunity to compete at the Arnold Sports Festival in 2011," event co-promoter Jim Lorimer said. "Like all of our professional events, we will strive to make the Bikini International the most sought-after championship of its kind in the world."

The top 400 amateur competitors from across the globe brought their international physiques to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium to compete at the Arnold Amateur IFBB International Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure and Bikini Championships. With athletes from 40 different countries competing, the Arnold Amateur is one of the biggest international events of its type.

"We are fortunate to collaborate with such wonderful partners like Rafael Santonja, President of the International Federation of Bodybuilding, and Jim Manion, President of the National Physique Committee, who help us bring so many talented competitors together," says Amateur Event Co-Producer Bob Lorimer.

Past Arnold Amateur Champions Roelly Winklaar, Elena Shportun- Willemer, Sylvia Tremblay, Candice Houston and Allison Ethier can step up and compete against the world's top professionals in Arnold professional IFBB events. This opportunity is now available to this year's winners, an incentive for athletes to go for gold.

"Overall winners from each competition who earn their pro card after the Arnold weekend, are invited back to compete as professionals," explained Amateur event co-producer Mike Davies.

The 2010 overall winners were as follows: Super-Heavyweight Class Winner and Overall Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding Winner Essa Ibrahim Hassan-Obaid; Heavyweight Class Winner and Overall Arnold Amateur Women's Bodybuilding Winner Maria Rita-Bello; Overall Arnold Amateur Figure Winner Gloria Keplinger; and Overall Arnold Amateur Fitness Winner Nicole Cavalcanti.

Winners received a trophy, a Tony Nowak Arnold Classic jacket and a one-year subscription to Posedown Magazine. Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure winners also received two tickets to the 2011 Arnold Classic and had their pictures taken with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

While audiences enjoy expo freebies and ongoing stage entertainment, the philanthropic angle also makes the Arnold Sports Festival a special event. Top student athletes competed for nine $2,000 college scholarships awarded by the Columbus Rotary and the Arnold Sports Festival.

Each year, scholarships are presented to youth competitors by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a part of the weekend's festivities. Through the partnership, the Arnold Sports Festival and Columbus Rotary have granted more than $50,000 worth of scholarships. This was the fifth year for the program.

"Since inception, the Arnold Sports Festival has steadily increased its commitment to promising student athletes who strengthen their communities through service and seek opportunities to pursue a college education," said Steve Sundre, Columbus Rotary scholarship committee chair.

Jim Lorimer, producer of the Arnold Sports Festival, commented, "Governor Schwarzenegger and I originally conceived of The Arnold Sports Festival as an opp ortunity to celebrate excellence through sports performance. We value our partnership with the Columbus Rotary, and our joint commitment to youth demonstrated through these important scholarships."


Ultimately, the 2010 Arnold Sports Festival Weekend was all about celebrating sweat - the sweat it takes to build a body, perfect a physique, compete in a sport, challenge an opponent, break a record or achieve a goal. The world gathers in the sprit of athletic competition and the ASF committee pats its best on the back with trophies, cash, scholarships, positive encouragement and interesting rewards.

Winners of the IFBB professional events also received unique custom body sculptures valued at a minimum of $2,200.00 each. The bronze sculptures of the best-defined bodies in the world are created using a process called "Cold Cast Metal." The process uses skin-safe materials to create molds of the athletes' bodies in peak physical shape that become lifelong keepsakes of their victories.

The Arnold Sports Festival is already the largest multi-sport festival in the nation, and it will only swell with the addition of a professional bikini competition to its lineup of IFBB-sanctioned competitions in 2011. If the men's bodybuilding 202 Division ever gets incorporated as well, Ohio might have to widen its borders. Who's sweating now?




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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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