Past winners take a look back on the USA's
July 20, 2009
With the 2009 NPC USA Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships on July 24-25, Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada is about to packed with the nation's best amateur athletes, all on the hunt for a coveted pro card.
Before we toast this year's newest crop of IFBB Pro League athletes, we take a look back with past class and overall winners of the USA Championships.
WHAT: 2009 NPC USA Bodybuilding, Figure & Bikini Championships
WHEN: July 24-25
WHERE: Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada
FOR MORE INFO: Go here
1999 super heavyweight and overall
"When I won my class I felt joy in that I accomplished something difficult and I did it with class. Winning the overall was my birth to greater things to come. What stood out the most was having my friend Dennis James fly all the way from Thailand. It was great having my trainer John Brown, Flex Wheeler, Chris Cormier and my mom there to watch me graduate into the IFBB."
2008 heavyweight and overall
"Winning the USA felt like another mission accomplished towards my ultimate goal. I can not deny how grateful I felt. The expectations were for me to win and now this has come to pass. This was a small milestone for me and what's behind me is behind me. I must continue on. There was uncertainty that others had about me reaching my goal. I never doubted myself or my God given abilities. Faith is all a man has. Even though the odds where against me and the pressure was on, I still held on to my destiny."
2005 heavyweight and overall
"Turning pro winning the overall title was an achievement that I never dreamed of. It was my first try at the card and seeing all of those great competitors backstage made me extremely nervous. The USA weekend was mostly a blur. I remember my wife and I were nervous and I know that it was a great win for both of us, as she was just as committed to me turning pro."
"After I was announced, I didn't enjoy it much because of my friend Marcus Haley falling short of getting the 2nd card. Afterwards, I went backstage, did an interview with Greg Merritt and called my mother. She asked how I did and I couldn't tell her because I was crying so hard so she thought I lost. I told her that I won the entire show and she went crazy, screaming! Now she's my biggest fan next to my wife and the rest is history."
1993 USA heavyweight and overall, winner
It was my second year on the national scene and after getting 4th the "year before, I vowed to come back and win it all - even though my training partner, Flex Wheeler didn't think I could do it. It was the toughest class to go against in the history of the sport. Five of the top eight guys all went pro. When's the last time you've seen that? Beating all those guys was a big feather in my cap. I always knew I could do it, but nobody else did so I was always having to prove myself."
"Mike Francois was the top guy going into the show but he got hurt before so everyone was saying that he wasn't gonna do it. But in my head, I kept thinking that he's gonna do it because I didn't want to get mentally jacked if he showed up at the last minute, which he did. But I was ready for him. It was one of my most memorable wins."
2000 USA super heavyweight and overall, winner
"Winning the USA's was my Olympia. It was the culmination of a 13 year journey and the dream of a 12 year old boy who started lifting weights to look like a superhero. I'm not sure that had I gone on to win the Olympia, that it would have been a bigger moment because of the length of time and mental challenge of overcoming the adversity and beating the odds to realize the dream of being Mr.USA. and a successful IFBB Pro League bodybuilder. Winning the USA solidifies my place in bodybuilding history."
1998 USA super heavyweight and overall
"It was the first year they introduced the super heavyweight class. My goal was to turn pro and I came to America to mess with the big boys. Winning the whole thing coming as a no name from Thailand was amazing. I was up against Melvin Anthony, Aaron Maddron and Orville Burke. I figured Melvin was the high favorite and I beat him in my class - which I never in a million years thought I could do, being a no name from Thailand - so I knew the overall was gonna be a piece of cake."
"For these new guys going in this year, they should focus on conditioning. The USA's aren't about size. Be ready at prejudging, because that's where it counts. In fact, try to make an impression at the weigh-in. It's always good if the judges know who you are, so getting your name out there can't hurt."
1998 USA heavyweight and overall, winner
"The USA's is where it all began. The first word immediately out of my mouth was, damn! I finally did it. In a show that only allows one female bodybuilder to advance into the pros, I was that woman that night. I was floating on clouds for weeks. I had just won the most prestigious event on the amatuer level against the best women in the world."
"When my name was called for the overall winner, and my hand was held up, endless cameras flashing, hearing the audience praise me for a job well done, having the opportunity to stand alone on stage after battling well over thirty plus athletes, it was an honor. Seems like the lights went off very quickly, then returned within seconds, with me thinking, I have just conquered the world."
"After it was all said and done, I was one happy camper, knowing this stage of the game had ended. Now a new game has just begun with bigger fish to fry. That thought sent instant chills surging through my body."
2006 heavyweight and overall
"I just love the USA! It's a great experience that I definitely recommend. It was a wonderful weekend for me and my husband and our friends to celebrate on a long awaited pro card - my greatest accomplishment to date. But I knew I was the best choice on that stage for that show. I was well deserving and proud of it. The year before I won just my class then lost the overall so to come back and get my class again and then be the last one standing - no feeling like it! It validates all the years of pushing myself where most people don't have the determination to go."
2005 Figure class D
"I can not explain the feeling of winning my class at my first national show and turning pro! I was at a loss for words. I went into the show, feeling amazing and knew I had the potential to do very well. I had worked so hard and it definitely paid off! The caliber of girls that were competing was amazing. Of course the size of the show was a stand out but most of all, seeing all the beautiful women and amazing physiques opened my eyes to a whole new level of figure."
2006 Figure class B
"The USA's is a great show. That show was my very first national show and I won my pro card there as well! It was a great experience that I will remember forever. When I won my class I was in absolute shock! It was my very first national show and the 3rd show I ever competed in, so when I won I thought I was going to fall over - and I almost did. I watched the video and I literally lost my step a bit!"
2008 Figure class C
"Winning my class and earning my pro card at the USA's was a dream come true and a huge goal accomplished. This is a big show with lots of competitors but you definitely feel taken care of. From the all day transportation to and from the host hotel to the expediters, Jon Lindsay and his team make sure you feel appreciated and have an enjoyable experience."