2008 FITNESS OLYMPIA PREVIEW

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Hendershott, Johnson are ready to tumble and rumble in Vegas

Interviews by Isaac Hinds

September 17, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

Take this to the bank: Fitness Olympia will crown a new champion this year. But we're not happy about it. Not because we won't enjoy seeing one of this year's 14 competitors flip, tumble and rumble her way to the the top; it's because two-time and reigning Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia was forced to withdraw from this year's event with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. We hope to see Garcia back next year, when she will be gunning for history, more specifically Susie Curry, as she attempts to tie Curry's record of four Fitness Olympia wins.

That said, the show must go on. And what a show it is turning out to be, as five of the remaining top-six finishers return from last year. The lineup was injected with a shot of energy - and sarcasm, as you will see below - when larger-than-life performer and 2006 Fitness O winner Jen Hendershott decided to postpone her retirement ... again ... and come back for her ninth straight Olympia. Hendershott, who placed third last year, enters this year's event as one of the favorites.

Joining Hendershott as one of the odds-on favorites to take home her first Fitness Olympia title is Kim Scheideler (formerly Klein). Scheideler has finished as the runner-up in Vegas for the last three years, and judging by her win at the Fitness International in March, she could be primed to take the next step.

After spending a season as gladiator Stealth on NBC's American Gladiators, Tanji Johnson should be more prepared than ever for the rumble at the Orleans. Johnson had a breakout year in 2006, when she finished fourth, and matched the feat at last year's event. The always entertaining Tracey Greenwood, with eight pro wins on her resume, has been on a tear of late. No one in recent memory has been hotter, as Greenwood, who has finished in the top five in Vegas for five straight years, has won the last three professional fitness contests - the Houston Pro, the Europa Super Show and the Atlantic City Pro.

Add the always dangerous Julie Palmer and Julie Lohre to the mix and the battle for a top-six spot will be as competitive as ever.

2008 FITNESS OLYMPIA COMPETITOR LIST
Regiane Da Silva
Nicole Duncan
Heidi Fletcher
Tracey Greenwood
Jen Hendershott
Laticia Jackson
Tanji Johnson
Julie Lohre
Mindi O'Brien
Julie Palmer
Erin Riley
Kim Scheideler
Stacy Simons
Trish Warren

WHAT: 2008 Fitness Olympia
WHEN: Friday, September 26
PREJUDGING: Friday at 11 am, Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall
FINALS: Friday at 7 pm, Orleans Arena

FOR FULL DETAILS OF JOE WEIDER'S 2008 OLYMPIA WEEKEND GO TO MROLYMPIA.COM!!

FLEXONLINE OLYMPIA COUNTDOWN
MONDAY
2008 Olympia Odds and Analysis
TUESDAY
202 Showdown Preview and Figure Olympia Preview
Figure Olympia Preview
TODAY
Ms. Olympia Preview
Fitness Olympia Preview

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH FITNESS' QUEEN OF SARCASM

NAME: Jenny Hendershott
AGE: 36
HEIGHT: 5'3"
WEIGHT: 118 pounds
OLYMPIA HISTORY: 2000, 7th; 2001, 6th; 2002, 5th; 2003, 5th; 2004, 2nd; 2005, 1st; 2006, 3rd; 2007, 3rd

FLEX: Who besides Kim Schneider has a chance at the title? And don't say everyone.
Jen Hendershott: I am thinking its Adela Garcia's show! I love you Chica!

FLEX: Give me three reasons why you'll be the next Fitness Olympia winner.
Hendershott: I am hot! I am cute! And it's my 9th Olympia damn it!

FLEX: You always bring something new for your routines. What inspired this year's theme?
Hendershott: I am doing something cute, popular, and high energy. Nothing inspired it other then I have been wanting to do it. I am bringing a routine that is crammed full of two minutes of moves and entertainment. It will be plenty of bunny fun!

FLEX: Oh boy. Some say you dance too much in your routine and don't have enough strength moves or gymnastics. How do you feel about those comments and do you agree with them?
Hendershott: Honestly, I don't really care what some say. Kelly Ryan used to dance more then me and she won every routine round. Some people tumble to much, Some girls dance and they shouldn't, some girls try and be sexy and they are not. Its all opinions. I am not a gymnast nor do I try to be. I am strong but I don't need a bunch of strength moves to show that I am fit. I have a GREAT ASS, so I want to shake it! I have a dance and cheer background and that is why my routines are the most entertaining. People want to see high energy, aerobics and entertainment. This is fitness, a mixture of strength, dance, gymnastics et cetera ... it is what makes a routine a fitness routine. Isn't that what sells tickets?

FLEX: Well said. Any chance of you retiring if you win the O this year?
Hendershott: I am never retiring, I have decided to stay and compete till I am 50.

GO TO PAGE 2 FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH TANJI JOHNSON!

Hendershott, Johnson are ready to tumble and rumble in Vegas

Interviews by Isaac Hinds

September 17, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM Take this to the bank: The Fitness Olympia will crown a new champion this year. But we're not happy about it. Not because we won't enjoy seeing one of this year's 14 competitors flip, tumble and rumble her way to the the top; it's because two-time and reigning Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia was forced to withdraw from this year's event with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. We hope to see Garcia back next year, when she will be gunning for history, more specifically Susie Curry, as she attempts to tie Curry's record of four Fitness Olympia wins.

That said, the show must go on. And what a show it is turning out to be, as five of the remaining top-six finishers return from last year. The lineup was injected with a shot of energy - and sarcasm, as you will see below - when larger-than-life performer and 2006 Fitness O winner Jen Hendershott decided to postpone her retirement ... again ... and come back for her ninth straight Olympia. Hendershott, who placed third last year, enters this year's event as one of the favorites.

Joining Hendershott as one of the odds-on favorites to take home her first Fitness Olympia title is Kim Scheideler (formerly Klein). Scheideler has finished as the runner-up in Vegas for the last three years, and judging by her win at the Fitness International in March, she could be primed to take the next step.

After spending a season as gladiator Stealth on NBC's American Gladiators, Tanji Johnson should be more prepared than ever for the rumble at the Orleans. Johnson had a breakout year in 2006, when she finished fourth, and matched the feat at last year's event. The always entertaining Tracey Greenwood, with eight pro wins on her resume, has been on a tear of late. No one in recent memory has been hotter, as Greenwood, who has finished in the top five in Vegas for five straight years, has won the last three professional fitness contests - the Houston Pro, the Europa Super Show and the Atlantic City Pro.

Add the always dangerous Julie Palmer and Julie Lohre to the mix and the battle for a top-six spot will be as competitive as ever.

WHAT: 2008 Fitness Olympia
WHEN: Friday, September 26
PREJUDGING: Friday at 11 am, Las Vegas Convention Center South Hall
FINALS: Friday at 7 pm, Orleans Arena
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Go here or call 888.234.2334

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH FITNESS' REIGNING GLADIATOR

NAME: Tanji Johnson
AGE: 33
HEIGHT: 5'3"
WEIGHT: 118 pounds
OLYMPIA HISTORY: 2002, 9th (tie); 2004, 8th; 2005, 10th; 2006, 4th; 2007, 4th

FLEX: Did the injury you sustained on American Gladiators hinder your prep for the Olympia?
Johnson: Hinder? Well, it did not stop me, but it was a process I had to continually evaluate. I was not able to safely work on routine skills (tumbling, jumps, agility moves) until about four weeks ago. There are still a few gymnasitcs moves that I am choosing not to do. I have to ice my knee after every practice and have to be very efficient with my training. I do not have the luxury to overtrain my routine to build conditioning, et cetera. It has been a challenge, but a good challenge. I am doing things smarter and had to give my knee more recovery time before jumping back in, that's why I decided to skip the Houston and Europa Pro. My knee is not 100 percent, but I am giving 100 percent of what I have. That will be enough to make people forget that I was even injured when they see my routines. Again, its been a great challenge and I will encourage my peers, like Adela, to have faith that she will come back stronger and more efficient.

FLEX: How do you get past the mental aspect of an injury and prepare for the biggest show of the year??
Johnson: I am committed to dominating the mental game. I chose to be confident and not fearful. If I get hurt, I get hurt. But I am training to win, and choosing not to worry about my injury. I am taking care of my knee but focused as an athlete. My knee is not an issue for me. I do things I can do, and I've taken out things in my routine that I chose not to do. Everything is a calculated risk. I feel good about my decisions pertaining to the routine and I am moving forward confidently.

FLEX: Give me three reasons why you'll be the next Fitness Olympia.
Johnson: The most important is that I believe I can be. The second reason is I plan to present the best total package. My routines are going to be well rounded, packed with strength, high energy, flow, entertainment, and great execution. My physique is going to be a marketable balance of muscle, shape, conditioning and presentation. And the third reason is if God wills it to be, and that is where my peace lies. I am excited to compete.

FLEX: Who is a better dancer, you or Jen Hendershott and why?
Johnson: Haha! Is this your way of having a mini-press conference Isaac? Nice! Well, Jen and I are both great dancers. We have different dance styles and I am a huge Jenny fan, no doubt. Nothing but respect. I think I am a better hip-hop/thuggish/crunkish style dancer - do you know what any of this means? And I think Jenny is a better cheer/precision/traditional hip-hop dancer. We both excel in our styles.

FLEX: You said you dieted with your team a few weeks before the Olympia. How did that experiment work for you?
Johnson: I was happy with the results. It's amazing what some color and less water can do to a physique! It let me know that I was on track to looking my best for this year's Olympia. Again, excited and grateful for the opportunity to compete with a fine class of women! I hope everyone is at their best, as that is what the IFBB is all about. God Bless and thanks to everyone for supporting Fitness!

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