September 30, 2005 - by genex hwang
Charlotte, NC, USA - Promoter Mike McCandless along with his impressive support team put on one of the best Pro shows to come onto the scene (and helping to fill the gap left by the GNC Supershow).
Although the audience numbers may not have been as high as the had wanted due to ticketing glitches that were out of the teams' control, the enthusiasm and professionalism shown the athletes was impressive. For some first time competitors, they may be spoiled as many other shows don't go to the same lengths to treat the athletes like the professionals they are.
With separate dressing rooms with electricity outlets and mirrors for each and every athlete as well as limo pickups and dropoffs at the airport, it was first class all the way around. Tres Bennett and Shannon Meteraud also lent their expertise and 2006 promises to be an even better year. It would be great if more fans could make the trek out to Charlotte to support this show next year, as from the athetes perspective, many
have already expressed interest in competing again.
Of course all of that is is just pretext to what the show was really about.
As the final Olympia qualifier, there were many anxious athletes as well as many first timers.
In the lightweight bodybuilding class, there were seven competitors but once again, it was Jeannie Paparone who many thought would take the class, but she once again missed out on the Olympia qualification. Tonie Norman this time took the class edging Paparone out.
Norman was almost lamenting the fact she had to hold her diet another two weeks but of course was elated at the chance to compete at the sports premiere showcase event. Vicki Nixon took the third place spot and continues to do well as a pro beating out stalwart Angela Debatin.
It was already evident that the judges were going to continue making 2005 a year where a very definite line was being drawn in the sand, although exactly where that line is is still up for debate. Nevertheless, the heavyweight class was really where the biggest bombshells were going to be dropped.
The first of course was the fact that Jitka Harazimova was back competing. The last time she was competing, she was considered a future flag bearer for women's bodybuilding and a potential Ms. Olympia. This time out she was now a mother but her structure was still undeniable. However, her conditioning was a bit off and she definitely was carrying softness throughout her frame.
The two best conditioned athletes in the class were Sarah Dunlap and Betty Pariso. Two women on opposite ends of the age spectrum, but both looking magnificent. Pariso brought her legs up some this year and was chiseled while Dunlap came in the best ever for herself as well.
The judging panel though made an emphatic exclamation with awarding Harazimova with not just the class title, but also the overall. It was a shocker to everyone in the Charlotte Convention Center as well as the hundreds tuned into the free webcast.
The fourth and final competitor in the tough HWs was Slovakian Aurelia Grozajova who was coming fresh off the Worlds the previous weekend and looked improved from her third place showing there.
So there it was. Jitka Harazimova would be returning to the Olympia stage. The judges even said in response to their controversial decision that they judged on shape. Now it'll be interesting to see how the Olympia and Nationals shakes out and what direction women's bodybuilding will continue to go in...
Fitness at the competition showcased 14 athletes and this time it was Julie Palmer beating out Tracey Greenwood to take the inaugural title. Canadian Mindi O'Brien took third and because the top three were all Olympia qualified, that let fourth place finisher Angela Semsch get a trip to Vegas.
Semsch nailed her routine and was deserving of the extra Olympia spo as she's continued to improve each time out this year.
Another constantly improving athlete is Amy Hadded who this time was fifth. She beat out Summer Montabone and freshman Katie Szep impressed and finished seventh.
Two new faces to the competition were England's Kizzy Vaines who will have to be considered the most flexible fitness athlete and Bermuda's Sally Wombwell. Wombell had the best legs on stage with some impressive quad development and as it was also her debut competing professionally in the states, she was a bit overlooked.
In Figure, Devana Medina was actually competing two weeks before the O, so people got a chance to see how she'd look and it actually seemed that Amber Littlejohn would defeat the reigning Olympia champ just as Gunter did to Ronnie at the GNC a few years back - but it was not to be.
Latisha Wilder finished right behind those two and looked incredible with her amazing genetics. Her conditioning was just like the judges wanted and she nabbed the last Olympia spot.
Chastity Sloan and Tara Scotti finished in fourth and fifth respectively while Milamar Sarcev may have been in her best shape ever and finished a deserving sixth.
Michelle Adams followed Sarcev and continues to get good looks in the callouts.
On the other end of the spectrum, two notable athletes that were overlooked were also foreign: Inga Neverauskaite who is Lithuanian born but now from England, and Canada's Lucie Bergeron.
It's doubtful that anyone in the audience or judging panel could have missed Bergeron's calves as they were the best in the show and that's including all the fitness athletes and bodybuilders. The former fitness and bodybuilding champ also caught the eye of Ironman's Lonnie Teper in the hotel lobby and he too was amazed that she was overlooked.
Look for both athletes to get better looks from the judges who surely can't keep overlooking these two although the level of competition in professional fitness can be quite tough at the top of the classes.
Check out our new message boards for updates and post your thoughts on the competition. Check out the official site for more information on the show too.
Overall: Jitka Harazimova*
1) Tonie Norman*
2) Jeannie Paparone
3) Vicki Nixon
4) Angela Debatin
5) Mary Ellen Jerumbo
6) Elizabeth Gomez
DNF) Gayle Moher
1) Jitka Harazimova*
2) Betty Pariso
3) Sarah Dunlap
4) Aurelia Grozajova
1) Julie Palmer*
2) Tracey Greenwood*
3) Mindi O'Brien*
4) Angela Semsch*
5) Amy Haddad
6) Summer Stevenhagen-Montabone
7) Katie Szep
8) Sabrina Gibson
9) Amy Huber
10) Donna Louise Jones
11) Karen Walcott
12) Kizzy Vaines
13) Shannon Dey
14) Sally Wombwell
* qualifies for Olympia
1) Davana Medina*
2) Amber Littlejohn*
3) Latisha Wilder*
4) Chastity Sloan
5) Tara Scotti
6) Milamar Sarcev
7) Michelle Adams
8) Elaine Goodlad
9) Zena Collins
10) Julie Lohre
11) Debbie Leung
12) Trish Mayberry
13) Sherie Salvadori
14) Inga Neverauskaite
15) Lynsey Beattie-Ahearne
16) Amy Peters
17) Barbara Engelsmann
18) June Munroe
18) Vlasta Gruberova
18) Lucie Bergeron
18) Alejandra Abdala
* qualifies for Olympia
Last updated: 10/2/2005 @ 7:41 p.m. PT