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2004 GNC Show of Strength Contest Report

by Gene X Hwang - October 8-9, 2004

Lisa Auland double bicepAtlanta, GA, USA - The last qualifier for the 2004 Olympia was the 3rd GNC Show of Strength held in Atlanta, GA for the second consecutive year. Being that it was a final chance to step on the sports most prestigous stage, the competition was fierce at the top although being an open show, the quality did drop in all of the categories.

Women's bodybuilding was brought back this year and there were strong athletes signed up to compete and the crowd was excited to see many of the top pros try to get into the O. However there were two late scratches - Helle Nielsen from Denmark and Heather Foster from New York. Both were at weigh-ins but widthdrew to injuries. That was quite unfortunate since both athletes have top physiques and Foster especially is a crowd pleaser because of her impressive physique, stage presence and memorable and entertaining posing routines - possibly the best in the sport.

The lightweights included Nancy Lewis who squeezed into the class just in the nick of time and the crisply conditioned Lewis looked much like her showing at the 2003 Jan Tana where she returned to competition to dominate the show and take the title. This time, she edged out fiesty Brit Joanna Thomas who had been entirely focused on qualifying for the Olympia at this show.

Thomas has the better genetics, but was not as hard as Lewis although in certain poses, she had the edge. With both athetes going to Vegas in three weeks, it should be an interesting battle of the young star vs. the veteran. Third went to Rosemary Jennings who came in very hard and dense. Structurally she wasn't able to crack the top three, but the class as a whole was strong, with perenially top placer Angela Debatin not making the top five as well as a very nice looking Jeannie Paparone (who really brought in a strong and complete package this show) and the welcome return to the bodybuilding stage of exotic Brazilian Monica Martin. Both could have been top five. Fourth went to Gayle Moher and Mary Ellen Doss followed up in fifth. Both of them have more streamlined physiques and didn't have the thickness to place higher.

Proving that age isn't a factor in bodybuilding, Michelle Davis presented some of the densest muscles on stage and Mary Ellen Jerumbo continues to plug away coming in very tight.

Chrisinte Roth photoThe heavyweights may have lost out on Helle Neilsen and Heather Foster, but the top five were nonetheless impressive. The strongest showing may have come from Lisa Aukland who brought in her best presentation to date. With crisp cuts, nice diamond shaped calves, good separation and overall tightness throughout, Aukland improved so much that it would not have been a stretch to have her win the class.

However, Yaxeni Oriquen was her usual self and her hamstrings are still unmatched and with a very pleasing flow to her physique, was rewarded with straight first place votes to sweep the class title ahead of Betty Pariso who is another testament to aging gracefully. With a nice routine that included her usual parodies of the male bodybuilders (this time including Bob Chicerello) and tribute to the American soldiers. Since Pariso and Oriquen were qualified for the Olympia already, Aukland was extended an invitation too.

Following in fourth place was Canadian sensation Christine Roth. She has been a rising star all along and now can easily be considered a top pro. Having edged Aukland in the symmetry round and stepping on stage at 177 lbs., Roth presents one of the most appealing total packages on stage. Another new pro, Georgia resident Annie Rivieccio took fifth and looked as big as ever with a very nice routine that played to her strengths. Maria Calo was sisth and new Venezualan pro Mily Pena took 7th. If Pena can come in tighter she'll do well and has a nice overall look to her. Wrapping up the heavyweights was England's Karen Marillier.

For the overall, the judges rewarded Oriquen although aside from the back pose, Lewis was very competitive.

Terri Mooney - qualified for the 2004 Fitness OlympiaWith Kelly Ryan pulling out due to injury, one spectacular draw may not have been there, but the talented pool of athletes was still 30-strong. The odds-on favorite was Adela Garcia-Friedmansky and she won the title based on the strength of her physique. The routines were dominated by Australian Debbie Czempinski who took sixth and Teri Mooney will be stepping on stage at the Mandalay Bay with her fourth place finish and subsequent qualification.

Kim Klein finished second ahead of Jen Hendershott and Hendershott came in physique-wise in the best shape of her career - very sharp and tight. Tracey Greenwood injured herself during her full routine and managed to place 8th a single point behind Anna Level and 30-points ahead of Jennie Hanke. Hanke's legs looked tremendous and her routine was strong as well. Nicole Rollolazo is another with entertaining routines and she placed 10th.

Outside the top placings, some notables included the return to fitness of Cathryn Lindner (formerly Crane) and the debut of Spanish pro Rosa Mena who was sorely overlooked. Stacy Wigg came in excellent condition and was very hard and impressive looking. Kim Lyons has such incredible stage presence and a nice v-taper but her arms are a bit long making her physique look a bit off. Hungarian Olympian Ezter Ovary had a nice routine with a distinct European flair to it

Deb LeungPerhaps the most controversial competition was figure as it has become of late. With over 30 athletes on stage, it was almost too much to judge especially considering there is only one type of judging going on (physique/presentation - no routines or flexing). Christine Pomponio-Pate placed fourth and looked fantastic. The top three spots went to Jenny Lynn, Jaime Franklin and Amber Littlejohn respectively. Most of the callouts did not re-arrange athletes to allow for movement up and down the rankings and with so many competitors that may have made the prejudging last twice as long, but there were definitely some athletes that did not look like they had prepared enough for the competition.

One of the most underrated athletes was Deb Leung who's tan was a bit off in prejudging but still had a very impressive physique. Making her pro debut, the Canadian should be able to place higher in future competitions. Starling Steele also looked pretty solid, with a nice full physique, and was a crowd favorite being a local.

On a logistical level as a whole, the competitions were run masterfully from stage lighting, expediting, backstage setup (large pump up area, treats for the athletes, etc.). We hope that this level of production will continue at other shows as well which is a fitting way to treat these professional athletes who work so hard.

The rest of the weekend...
The moving of the Flex-n-Femme column to the web and not in the print version of Flex Magazine had a lot of people talking. The Masino's - Denise and Robert - were on hand and were shooting for their new magazine which they would describe as a sort of "female muscle Maxim." The magazine should debut in January 2005 and will look to fill the gap that Flex leaves behind.

Along the lines of print coverage of the women, MuscleMag has been picking up the slack quite nicely of late. Christine Roth was featured as well as Joanna Thomas in the recent months, and Robert Kennedy has another shoot lined up with Roth at the Olympia. Make sure to let them know your appreciation for their increased support of the women's side of things.

Steve Wennestrom, IFBB Women's Historian and flag bearer for female physique athletes, celebrated his birthday by working. He was shooting more female athletes on Sunday October 10th and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Congrats to Steve although he says he's not really counting them any more.

Hot pick: Melissa Dettwiller. You may have seen her on the home page last week or on WWC but Melissa is a rising star in the sport. She was six weeks out from her show at the GNC and looked tremendous. Look for more on her, and if you are a sponsor in search of a good model, please contact us and we can forward her information.

The afterparty on Saturday night was pretty fun with a lot of the athletes dressed up and enjoying the fact that low bodyfat and a few alcoholic drinks can add up pretty fast. If it's of interest, we may try to do a Buzz or showcase on the women in their night club attire. Just email us and let us know... Melissa Dettwiller photo gallery


Women's Bodybuilding

Overall: Yaxeni Oriquen

Nancy Lewis*
Joanna Thomas*
Rosemary Jennings
Gayle Moher
Mary Ellen Doss
Jeannie Paparone
7) Monica Martin
8) Angela Debatin
9) Michelle Davis
10) Mary Ellen Jerumbo
11) Elizabeth Gomez

Yaxeni Oriquen*
Betty Pariso *
3) Lisa Aukland*
Christine Roth
Annie Rivieccio
6) Maria Calo
7) Mily Pena
8) Karen Marillier
Widthdrew due to injury:
- Heather Foster
- Helle Nielsen

* qualifies for Olympia


1) Adela Garcia-Friedmansky*
2) Kim Klein*
3) Jen Hendershott*
4) Teri Mooney*
5) Julie Palmer
6) Debbie Czempinski
7) Anna Level
8) Tracy Greenwood
9) Jennie Hanke
10) Nicole Rollolazo
11) Angie Monteleone-Semsch
Kirsten Nicewarner
Sandy Grant
14) Julie Childs
15) Carla Freda
16) Amy Haddad
17) Carla Sanchez
18) Cynthia Bridges
19) Angel Friend
20) Kim Lyons
21) Peggy Sue Crawford
22) Elizabeth Maurice
23 tie) Eszter Ovary
23 tie) Rosa Mena
25 tie) Amy Huber
25 tie) Cathryn Lindner
25 tie) Karen Wolcott
25 tie) Lydia Haskell
25 tie) Stacy Wigg
25 tie) Tracy Traskos

* qualifies for Olympia


1) Jenny Lynn*
Jaime Franklin*
Amber Littlejohn*
Christine Pomponio-Pate
Zena Collins
Shannon Meteraud
7) Kim Chizevsky-Nicholls
8) Elaine Goodlad
9) Tara Scotti
10) Christine Wan
11) Chastity Slone
12) Starling Steele
13) Kimberly Becker
14) Dina Al-Sabah
15) Lena Johannessen
16) Kristy Robbins
17 tie) Alejandra Abdala
17 tie) Aprille DeShield
17 tie) Barbara Englesmann
17 tie) Chrissy Garcia
17 tie) Colette Flack
17 tie) Debbie Leung
17 tie) Elvimar Sanchez
17 tie) Keri Doudna
17 tie) Latisha Wilder
17 tie) Liane Siewald
17 tie) Mascha Tieken
17 tie) Mavis Tozzi
17 tie) Michelle Adams
17 tie) Sandra Delvecchio
17 tie) Tammie Leady

* qualifies for Olympia

Last updated: 10/12/2004 @ 10:32 p.m. PT






















































































































































































































































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