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1997 Olympia Weekend Report
1997 Ms. and Fitness Olympia Review

1997 Ms. and Fitness Olympia

This year the Ms. and Fitness Olympia took place in New York, NY on November 22, 1997 at the Beacon Theater. The host hotel was the Hotel Beacon, which is adjacent to the Theater, but I did not stay there. Arriving on Thursday afternoon, I was a little dismayed at the layout of the hotel. One of the more enjoyable things to do before the shows is to hang out in the lobby/bar areas watching the competitors come in and meeting with old and new friends for drinks. Since the Hotel Beacon didn't have any such facilities, we were cheated of that. Anyhow, on to Friday.

Friday was spent enjoying myself and checking out the competitors. Melissa Coates looked kind of rough, and others were looking smooth, but overall, I didn't really see too many competitors about. On Friday night myself and a friend of mine, Paula, went to TWILO to go dancing in Chelsea. The club was interesting with some Old School funk upstairs and dance music downstairs. However, one thing of note was the platform dancers. At one point there were two women on the stages dancing and they both decided to pull down their tops, exposing their breasts. They kept pulling their dresses lower and lower but stopped before going below the waist. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that the dancers were actually guys who had breast implants. Didn't get any further in the investigation, but it was a good "New York experience" nonetheless. Of note, Paula, who is a fitness competitor, was constantly asked if she was a bodybuider at the club, and although she is very toned and has noticeable muscle, it would have been interesting to see what reaction one of the Ms. Olympia contestants would have received.

The prejudging went along quickly as they first did the Fitness Competitors. The first round where the callouts were made was tough to judge. Except for a few women, they all were in excellent shape. There was one woman from Slovakia, Timea Majorova, who was very muscular and looked as if she perhaps should enter bodybuilding contests instead of fitness shows. From the callouts, the most common competitors were Karen Hulse, Carol Semple-Marzetta, Saryn Muldrow, Theresa Hessler, Dale Tomita and Susie Curry.

"(Jan Tana) helped apply my tan but she lingered a little too long on my glutes..." - anonymous Ms. Olympia competitor As an intial impression, I was quite impressed at the overall development of the fitness competitors and they looked as if they could have easily stepped onto the Olympia stage against Rachel McLish, or Kike Elomaa in the early 80s. However, that was before the beef got onstage. The second group was the Ms. Olympia competitors and they looked huge compared to the Fitness women once they got on stage. Immediately, I picked out my own top physiques (scanning the stage from my left to right): Kim was definitely on and Andrulla looked sharp as well. Vickie and Yolanda looked hard early, although it seemed like Yolanda's stomach grew as the evening progressed. Laura looked so small, but had a hard upper body.

The callouts indicated to me that the judges had, in order, Kim C., Yolanda Hughes, then Lenda, Laura, Vickie and Jitka. That was through the seventh call out, and they left out Andrulla Blanchette until the 8th call out which had her up with Melissa Coates (also her first callout) and Jitka. The 9th through 11th callouts had the top five women again.

Melissa just seems to be trying too hard, and her tan looked too dark and appeared to be running too. [Overheard regarding backstage... "(Jan Tana) helped apply my tan but she lingered a little too long on my glutes..." - you make your own conclusions on that one]

Of the other contestants, Eva Supkova came in her usual condition. Top Jan Tana competitors Valerie Gangi, Gayle Moher and Laura Binetti all looked a bit off. Tazzie Colomb was also not quite hard enough, although her glutes were the meatiest on stage! I personally thought Susan Myers looked really good. Her muscle maturity was there, and she was hard, although perhaps needed to be a bit darker. Nancy Lewis' shape seemed to hinder her, as her symmetry from upper to lower body didn't seem balanced enough. In the second round of call outs after the individuals were called one by one for the compulsory poses, Andrulla got more of the callouts she deserved. Kim was only called out once, and you could tell she owned first place.

After the Ms. O contestants left the stage, the Fitness competitors returned for the Rower Competition, which I don't find to be too fair of a measure of fitness. Of note during the walk off the stage of the Ms. Olympia contestants was that Laura Creavalle jumped onto the lower stage and started posing while everyone else filed off. Vicki Gates didn't look to approvingly upon it from my standpoint...

Basically, the rowing competition is to see just how far you can row on the machine in one minute. The round was overall dominated by the taller stronger women, since they could pull farther each stroke. At the bottom were the shorter women as Michelle Ralabate was last. I think she is a terrific athlete and if that portion was based on something that is more body-weight focused, it would be a more accurate category. Norwegian Lena Johanssen won it with a distance of 324 (meters?). As anyone who has attended a show can attest to, although many view fitness as "booming," once the Ms. O contestants left the stage, almost nobody stayed for the rowing portion. Although it wasn't the best part of the contest, I think it's indicative of the sport. The fitness competitors do fine in the magazines, but at actual shows, they don't seem to pull in the crowds by themselves...

After the afternoon prejudging, we went to ernie's on Broadway for some eats, and talking with some prominent journalist and photojournalists, it was evident that they also didn't quite agree with how some of the callouts were going (and the underlying implication of ranking as of the prejudging). Jitka looked to placed high, although she came in quite smooth. Granted she is a beautiful woman, her conditioning and overall look were really not deservant of the placing it appeared she was going to get. It interesting to note that the Chech Republic, Jitka's home country, is going to host the 1998 Ms. Olympia in Prague. Concidence? I think not....


Well, needless to say, the finals in the evening were the most anticipated portion of the show. Scalpers were outside selling tickets to "The bodybuilding." The fitness competitors started off with their impressive routines. Of note was a personal favorite of mine, Dale Tomita, who had an excellent routine to go along with her tight physique and bubbling stage presence. Dale did a terrific move of going into a handstand and then moving across the stage in the handstand, which was really impressive! Saryn Muldrow, the defending champ, started it off with a great routine that helped set the tone for the evening. Carol Semple had a tremendous performance as she is known for, and Monica Brandt has improved a lot as well. Several music miscues led to delays, and in one instance Bev Francis, who was the DJ, began doing one handed push ups to the delight of the Beacon crowd.

Overall the routines did look a lot like they always do, but there was refreshing creativity mostly from the foreign contingent. Timea Majorova had a nifty routine that was more like watching a music video or something as she did it to jungle/house/trip hop. She came out in a crazy looking jungle woman outfit complete with random "stuff" hanging off it (vines or something?) and her hair done wildly. Entertaining to say the least, but perhaps not the best to showcase her overall fitness. Carmen Marino from Spain had a nice Latin flair to her routine coming out first in a black business suit to the tune of Will Smith's Men in Black. Lena Johanssen had a nice outfit in her national colors of red and white (I am assuming not a lot of people picked up on that though... gotta like the National pride though!). The final competitor was Alexandra Beres whos routine made up some for her lower placement in the physique round. She came out in what looked like a giant silk pillow case thing and did some moves in it before busting out of it. I was happy to hear someone take advantage of the Chemical Brothers, whom I have always thought would be great music for a routine.

Well, the time had come for the big guns, and Laura Creavelle started things off. After her routine, the crowd was ready to see what Kim had in store, and although it was a good routine, it didn't seem to live up as impressive as her routine from last year. Maybe it was the Dick Vitale samples? Overall the Ms. O routines were pretty lame and tired in my opinion. How many times can I hear 2 Unlimited and that enya song? I did like Valrie Gangi's music (Republica), which I think she posed to at the Jan Tana. Also, Susan Myers' routine to Prince's music was good, with Susan hitting some good muscular shots. Tazzie did not look happy on stage, and Eva did her usual posing.

So who was the best Best poser? I would say if you were to watch the routines, all you had to stay for really, was competitors #15 and 16. After seeing what looked like a bad men's routine from Nicole Bass (she moved a total of about three feet from where she started her routine, and just hit standard shots overall), Andrulla Blanchette took the stage. Beginning with a Spice Girls tip, it went into something faster, and the ending was quite interesting. However, in the middle of her routine, her top was slowly creeping to the center of her chest, and out poked a bit of nipple. The crowd seemed a little uncomfortable with it (or maybe they were just oogling....) and she managed just to pull her top back over it before any more showed... but back to the routine; to finish up, her routine went to a voice of a bad guy "arresting" her and asking her to put her hands on head, and show her back (which was impressive and wide). Then she turned around and the villain shot at her, but she manages to catch the bullets, perform a flying kung fu move to knock down the man, and then render him unconscious with another move as he laid on the ground, and as that happened, the Spice Girls chime in with "now that's Girl Power!" Very creative.

Of course, the crowd was pretty into it then, and when crowd favorite Lenda Murray got on stage, the applause was thunderous. Her routine was excellent, but her conditioning didn't look to be as on as she has been in the past. Kim looked to be safe, although the crowd was clearly on Lenda's side. Jitka, who's fans were emphatic (and sitting right behind me) in their "Jiiiiiiiiit Kaaaaaaahhhhh" cheers), had a lackluster routine, that seemed indicative of the night.

Finally it was time for the results after some kids did a neat routine with a little boy dressed as Darth Vader from Star Wars. Then it was time for the results. I was surprised to hear Dale Tomita called out in 5th place as I thought she deserved better. Fourth went to Susie Curry and Lena Johanssen placed a deserving third. Saryn managed a second place finish which meant Carol Semple finally won the Ms. Fitness Olympia in her third try.

Then they announced 10th - 7th for the Ms. O and it started with Nancy Lewis, then Susan Myers in ninth. Eighth place went to Chris Bongiovanni who was a shadow of her Jan Tana winning form, and Andrulla was announced as seventh to several boos from the audience. That left the top six as Jitka, Lenda, Laura, Vicki, Kim and Yolanda. It was apparent that Lenda had gained some momentum as a result of her routine, and before the posedown the judges asked Lenda to stand between Yolanda and Kim, so you knew it was close. The pro-Lenda crowd applauded their approval at this move, and the posedown was on. Laura moved to the lower stage, but it proved fruitless and nobody went down with her. Kim held ground with Lenda close by and Yolanda and Vickie to her side as well. Jitka seemed completely resigned to taking 6th as she posed alone on the right side of the stage by herself for most of the posedown.

When it came down to the results, Jitka owned sixth, Vickie got fifth, and Laura fourth. Then when Yolanda was announced third, the crowd was in a buzz of anticipation of whether Kim really did have it wrapped up or did Lenda really have a shot? As Lenda was announced second, the crowd went crazy. Lenda, gracious as she always is, accepted her award and it left Kim to take in defending her crown and another year as Ms. Olympia. The crowd for the most part seemed disinterested as Kim gave her speech, which seemed a little rude. Even if you don't like Kim, or have other favorites, she was a deserving winner, and probably deserved more respect from the audience who was quickly filing out.

After the show, it was time to eat, and our group headed our for some Chinese, which we were unable to find close by, so we opted for Mediterranean at Niko's which was excellent (try the Sangria!). Then it was off on a Häägen Daz hunt, where we ran into Dale Tomita. She looked fabulous, but I spied her loot, and all she got was a healthy looking Chicken Caeser Salad, while I was in line behind her with my Grolsch and chocolate bar!



Ms. Olympia Bodybuilding Results:
1) Kim Chizevsky (USA)
2) Lenda Murray (USA)
3) Yolanda Hughes (USA)
4) Laura Creavelle (USA)
5) Vickie Gates (USA)
6) Jitka Haramizova (Czech Rep)
7) Andrulla Blanchette (UK)
8) Chris Bongiovanni (USA)
9) Susan Meyers (USA)
10) Nancy Lewis (USA)
11) Melissa Coates (Canada)
12) Gayle Moher (USA)
13) Laura Binetti (Canada)
14) Nicole Bass (USA)
15) Valerie Gangi (USA)
16) Eva Sukupova (Czech Rep)
17) Tazzie Colomb (USA)
18) Zdenka Turda (Czech Rep)

Ms. Olympia Fitness:
1) Carol Semple-Marzetta (USA)
2) Saryn Muldrow (DEN)
3) Lena Johanssen (NOR)
4) Susie Curry (USA)
5) Dale Tomita (USA)
6) Monica Brandt (USA)
7) Karen Hulse (USA)
8) Theresa Hessler (USA)
9) Carmen Moreno (Spain)
10) Alexandra Beres (Hungary)
11) Timea Majorova (Slovakia)
12) Michelle Bellini (USA)
13) Stephanie Worsfold (Canada)
14) Jenifer Collins (USA)
15) Michele Ralabate (USA)
16) Melissa Frabbiele (USA)



Last updated November 25, 1997 - 11:02 a.m. EST


       

     

     

       

     

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

     

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

     

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

      

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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