Find out who the favorites are heading into Columbus
By Team FLEX
March 2, 2009
The Arnold Classic isn't just for the boys. At this very moment, the ladies of fitness, figure and bodybuilding are busy making their final preparations for this weekend's show in Columbus, Ohio. Below, you'll find the lineups for the Fitness International, Figure International and Ms. International and get to know a few of the competitors. It's all part of FLEX Online's Arnold Week coverage.
Last year, Kim Klein successfully defended her title, becoming the third athlete to win multiple titles (Adela Garcia, Susie Curry) after finishing second in 2006. But this year, with Kim sitting out, another two-time winner could be crowned. Crowd favorite Jen Hendershott is the likely favorite in the crowded field and will be pushed by veterans like Tracey Greenwood, Tanji Johnson and Julie Palmer. Oksana Grishina could be a dark-horse candidate for a top five finish, as could Ragiane Da Silva and Fitness International newcomer Erin Riley.
Nicole Wilkins Lee
Regiane Da Silva
In the wide world of quarter turns, there may be no one hotter than Gina Aliotti. The 24-year-old San Diego native has placed first in four of her last six shows, including a big win at last year's Figure International. She's taken second at the last two Olympias and will be the woman to beat in Columbus. But her toughest competition may come from a crossover competitor, as Adela Garcia - a two-time Fitness International and three-time Figure Olympia winner - will be in this lineup. In her only previous figure outing at the 2007 Houston Figure Pro, Adela finished third. Last year's third place finisher, Amy Fry, will be looking to move up, as will Chastity Sloane (4th) and Sonia Adcock (5th). Monica-Brant-Peckham will be back in the Figure International for the first time since notching her fourth consecutive second place finish in 2006. Erin Stern will be making her pro debut in Columbus after an impressive win at last year's NPC Figure Nationals.
Brenda Marie Smith
Heather Mae French
In 11 previous appearances on the Ms. International stage, Venezuela's Yaxeni Oriquen has won the title four times - including 2008 - and finished second twice. Rival Iris Kyle has won the title three times, her last coming in 2007. The question in Columbus will be whether Iris can get in top form this early in the season and make a serious run at Yaxeni, or whether she'll wait until the fall to get full dialed in. Last year's runner up, Dayana Cadeau, is also back and will certainly be in the mix for the title. Or, can the timeless Betty Pariso, who finished fourth in 2008, come out of nowhere to upstage the ladies at the top?
Iris Floyd Kyle
Mari Carmen Gomez
>> For the latest updates on each of these competitions this weekend - including show galleries - keep your browser glued to www.flexonline.com.