2004 Arnold Classic Weekend Contest Report
X Hwang - March 5, 2004
Columbus, OH , USA - This year there was extra security on hand
since the namesake of the weekend has now become the Governor of California
and the hype was definitely tangible with extra security on hand and press
conferences here and there all weekend.
the main attraction
still remains the bodybuilding and fitness related competitions and they
did not disappoint with the first big pro women's shows of the year.
Ms. International was highly anticipated with the debut of three new pros:
Annie Rivieccio, Bonny Priest and Canadian Christine Roth. All three looked
comfortable on stage, and all were impressive. But in a highly competitive
heavyweight class, there was so much depth that it was hard for them to
stand out, especially with the incredible Iris Kyle taking the Arnold
stage. Even NOC Champion Betty Viana had a tough time of it, although
she wasn't quite as dry as she was at that show.
the end though, Kyle was the best in the class and swept to first place
ahead of Yaxeni Oriquen who was looking to tie Vickie Gates' record of
three consecutive Arnold titles. Oriquen was on, but Kyle's superior overall
balance edged her out, while Betty Pariso came in in excellent condition
with a bit of a streamlined look.
got the loudest support from the crowd when she performed her routine,
and it was obvious how much the crowd respected her perseverance and well
built physique. Brenda Raganot rounded out the top five as a heavyweight
instead of as originally intended as a lightweight. She was just ahead
of Roth who's amazing stage presence and charisma captivated the audience
and should help the sport broaden its appeal. Priest tied with Viana to
wrap up the heavies.
the lightweights, Sophie Duquette presented possibly her best physique
ever. With crisp shapes and lines, Duquette added some size and thickness
in her upper body and as always presented herself impeccably with grace
and stature. She was beaten out though, by fellow Canadian Dayana Cadeau
and the duo bested the always improving Denise Masino who's been pushing
for class titles in almost all of her most recent competitions. Angela
Debatin is usually more competitive, but seemed to be off on her diet
slightly and her compatriot Fanny Barrios was fifth in the class.
the overall, it was all Kyle again, as she showed why she's one of the
top physiques in the sport and it was good to see her winning a deserved
victory and making a strong statement that she will once again be pushing
to oust Lenda Murray as Ms. Olympia.
new era in fitness was beginnning with the retirement of Susie Curry from
fitness and an open title awaited favorites Kelly Ryan, Adela Friedmansky
and Jenny Hendershott. However upstarts Julie Palmer and the always pressing
Stacy Hylton would also be there pushing the top three. In the end, the
judges awarded the Fitness International title to Friedmansky, while Hendershott's
routine was the crowd favorite and Ryan and Hylton's were just a bit behind.
Klein is also making waves and her routine was impressive and tied for
third with Friedmansky's. Tracey Greenwood wasn't able to repeat her Jan
Tana showing and ended up in eigth. Stacy Simons once again brought an
amazing physique, but she was not rewarded for it. Tanji Johnson also
looked incredible showing her physique at it's best with a nice v-taper.
The newest pros in fitness didn't fare as well as the heavyweight bodybuilders
but they will definitely improve with more competitions under the belt.
2004 be the year for Monica Brant to win a figure title or would Jenny
Lynn defend it against her? That was the question on many peoples' minds
as the Figure International competitors took the stage. Right from the
start, the judges called the two out and with them were Susie Curry making
her debut in figure and the fast rising Jamie Franklin.
looked good, but to many in the audience it seemed like this could be
the year for Brant. Her physique was impressive as always, and Lynn looked
a bit softer than her. Of course in figure, that can be a negative at
times, and it may just have been the case this year and Lynn was successful
in edging Brant again.
Wallis looked amazing, but didn't seem to get the deserved callouts, and
could have pushed Brant and Lynn but she ended up in fifth behind Franklin.
Curry ended up in third, and Mari Kudla-Donnelly placed sixth. Kudla was
just a shade off her late 2003 season form, where she was making strong
advances on the top five.
Jan Tana champion, Dina Al-Sabah also didn't place the same at this competition
with the tiny-waisted Al-Sabah placed seventh which of course is an impressive
finish in such strong company, and fan favorite Elaine Goodlad trailed
her in eigth.
Kouvarais again was lean and very tight, but maybe too much so for the
judges as she didn't crack the top six.
Expo and beyond...
year the Expo seems to get bigger and there are more and more tertiary
events and this year saw fencing and table tennis added to the roster
of physically demanding events. Luckily, this reporter came in shape for
the table tennis competition and may choose to compete next year.
the serious side, there were many powerlifters and some records were challenged
and some other impressive performances were made. In the World Powerlifting
Association's event, Julie Scanlon benched over 400 pounds (429.7 lbs)
but broke her arm completing the lift (successfully too) and along with
her 600.7 lb. squat, had a strong combination before the deadlift, but
with a broken arm, it didn't look like she'd be able to do the three lifts,
but Scanlon lifted the bar with one arm along with a couple of fingers
from her broken arm. Additionally, Becca Swanson had an admittedly good
day although we were not able to see her lifts.
about the expo were many celebrities within the sport and many more future
stars. Look for more information in the full
Expo report, but look out for more on such incredible athletes as
Lisa Aranda and Natalie Barnett.
1) Dayana Cadeau
2) Sophie Duquette
3) Denise Masino
4) Fannie Barrios
5) Angela Debatin
1) Iris Kyle
2) Yaxeni Oriquen
3) Betty Pariso
4) Annie Rivieccio
5) Brenda Raganot
7 tie) Bonny Priest
2) Kelly Ryan
4) Julie Palmer
10) Stacy Simons
tie) Amber Littlejohn
updated: 3/11/2004 @ 10:56 a.m. PT