Changing of the guard?
September 25, 2009
Things are looking very interesting at the conclusion of prejudging for the 2009 Figure Olympia. The six competitors in the first and last callouts of the afternoon were not past champions or perennial top place finishers at multiple Figure Olympia's (with one minor exception). Instead, it was the next generation of athletes that grabbed the spotlight at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Friday, September 25.
Gina Aliotti, who placed second here in 2007-08 and took runner-up at the Figure International this past March, is a strong candidate for a top spot. Nicole Wilkins-Lee, who placed ninth in her Olympia debut last year is definitely on track to improve on that, especially with her victory last week at the New York Pro figure, which she added to her win at the Europa Show of Champions earlier this year.
"It couldn't have gone any better, "Wilkins-Lee said of making the first callout. "I worked hard all year, as we all do, and I think I made the improvements I needed to make." As for heading into the finals as a frontrunner for top three or better, Wilkins-Lee said, "I would be thrilled with top three. Anything more would be icing on the cake."
Heather Mae French, joining Wilkins-Lee as the only other competitor with two wins this season - the California Pro and Houston Pro - is also in the running to break through in the sport's biggest event.
Kristal Richardson, Amy Fry and Erin Stern - in her Olympia debut - seem to be in position for top six. Check back with flexonline.com Saturday, September 26 at 7:00 PM as the Figure Olympia concludes at the Orleans Arena.