Kill your idols, as the punk rockers say. Lenda Murray was Iris Kyle’s idol. When Murray retired after the 1997 Ms. Olympia with a record-tying six Ms. O titles, Kyle was still in the NPC. It seemed the amateur’s dream of posing with the legend would remain just that. But be careful what you wish for. In 2002, when Kyle was the favorite to take the top Ms. Olympia prize (she had won the heavyweight class the year prior), Murray, at 40, returned to relegate Kyle to second. When those places repeated the following year, Murray pushed her Ms. O title record to eight. Finally, in 2004, Kyle beat her idol. Murray then re-retired.
In 2006, Kyle began her title run, winning nine O’s in a row and topping Murray’s record with 10 Ms. Olympia victories before announcing her retirement last September. In the final tally, Kyle has two more Ms. Olympia wins, but Murray has a better win percentage and head-to-head score. Kyle’s calves were far superior, but Murray maintained a greater V-taper. Kyle achieved freakier conditioning, but Murray sported more pleasing aesthetics. Four years ago, the eight-timer opined that the now-10-timer had “sacrificed her look as a woman,” fueling a debate that continues to burn. Lenda Murray is no longer Iris Kyle’s idol, so in that respect Kyle “killed” her. But did she truly surpass her? What do you think?