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Santa Susanna Spain

An Introspective Report

by Sandra Wickham - October 2007

Like a scene out of the Steve Martin film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, my fiancé Ross and I flew, rode and trekked our way to Santa Susanna Spain to compete in the Pro Fitness Grand Prix on October 23rd, 2007.  We kept reminding ourselves that all the preparation, expense, travel, and lack of sleep would be worth it if we could earn the honor of an Olympia qualification.  We thought that a top three placing at this event was a realistic goal since the competitor list was the shortest I had competed in yet, half of the girls I had already beaten earlier this season and I was fresh off a fourth place finish at the All Star Pro.  My physique was even tighter and my routines were ready to rock.

All of our IFBB Fitness rounds were done in one show intermingled with the IFBB Men’s bodybuilding rounds.Our first two rounds were the two piece and one piece suits.  The two piece callouts favored Rosi Mena, Vlasta Gruberova and Stephanie Worsfold. The one piece callouts had Rosi, Myriam Capes and Stephanie Worsfold as the favorites.  The look they were going for was definitely different than I was used to.  The most muscular girls were rewarded and it seemed the bigger the better.
Despite being disappointed by my call outs, I knew it was time to refocus for the remaining two rounds to come.  The 45 second mandatory routine consists of 5 mandatory moves that must be done in proper order.  At the end of the round, I noticed that at least 3 of the competitors including Rosi Mena, Myriam Capes and Vlasta Gruberova , did not complete all of their mandatory moves.  In past shows when this has occurred, the athletes have been disqualified from that round or placed last in that round.  I thought this would have brought their scores down so I was re-energized with the hope of moving up in the placings.
In the two minute routine round, Myriam went first with her high flying and entertaining routine and was followed by Stephanie performing her pirate themed routine.  Next up was Vlasta who performed a different kind of routine with lots of hip hop and other dancing.   I had performed my routine twice on stage earlier in the season with great results so I was extremely comfortable with performing it and was proud of my execution of it at this event.  Next Rosi performed a very dramatic routine and Kendra wrapped things up by bringing back her beautiful Phantom of the Opera routine.
  In the end, Rosi won the event and the crowd went crazy.  There were bull horns blasting and people jumping from their seats.  Myriam placed second and Stephanie earned the final Olympia qualification in third.  Vlasta took fourth place and Kendra finished in fifth.  In last place-was me.     
Disappointed to say the least, I quickly shook it off and focused on the urgent matter of going out to get something to eat.  My fiance Ross and I spent several hours eating, talking, laughing and having a great time with Kendra Elias and her husband Michael.     
It wasn’t until the evening had come to a close, the lights went out and Ross fell asleep that the tears came.  Left alone in the dark with the sounds of the Spanish night, it all sank in.  I had placed last in this show that I had worked extremely hard for and had come halfway across the world for.  Not only did we not get the Olympia qualification that we had hoped for, but I placed dead last.  My competitive career has definitely had its ups and downs through the years.  I have always been proud of my ability to pick myself up show after show and continue to improve and get back on stage no matter what.  This however, was an extreme test of the fortitude of my character.  Alone with my thoughts they raced out of control.  This is my third season in the Professional ranks and I began to question myself.  “Am I not cut out for this?”  “Do I really not have what it takes?”  Writing has always been therapeutic for me so I grabbed my notebook, sat on the bathroom floor so as not to disturb Ross with the light and through the tears began scribbling down my thoughts. 

sandra wickhamI kept replaying in my head the moment one of the officials came back stage, pointed at me and said “Number four, you are not in the top five.”  It felt to me as if he may as well have thrown his head back with laughter, pointed and yelled, “YOU are the biggest loser, you are the WORST one here!”  My first thought was for my fiance Ross.  I knew it would be horrible for him out there in the audience to not see me come back out for the top five.  I think about how tough the competitions are on the significant others who live through the experience with us, often being more nervous and more upset if things don’t work out as we’d hoped.  Then I think about everyone back home who has supported me, cheered me on throughout my preparation and who believed in me.  I feel that I have let them down.  The sane part of me knows this not to be true and experience has shown me that no matter how I place, my friends, family, clients and fans remain steadfast in their love and support.  Unfortunately at this moment, my thoughts are far from sane.  I thought of all my fellow competitors who were already qualified for the Olympia that were at home hoping I would be joining them in Las Vegas.  I felt like a high school student left out of the popular kid’s party.   
The one bright point that came to me was that I realized the reason I was so upset was because I do strongly love what I do and am passionate about it.  It confirmed to me how badly I want to fulfill my dream of competing in the Olympia.
So do we give up when things seem at their worst?  When it seems hopeless and impossible?  Part of me would like to say yes, let’s just quit and then all this would stop.  No more disappointments, no more heart breaks.  But that’s never been me and it isn’t me now.  If I have to be the example to everyone who has ever had to fight their way through trials and tribulations to reach their goals, so be it.  I’ll be the one to show you that you CAN dust yourself off, you CAN do whatever it is you need to do to improve and you CAN reach your goals.  I will do that by competing in the Olympia one day.  You can all come out to watch and we can celebrate for everyone who has ever felt they couldn’t go one more step but did anyway and triumphed in the end.  Then we’ll know that anything is possible.