Iris Kyle, Adela Garcia and Nicole Wilkins-Lee make history at the '10 Arnold Classic
March 5, 2010
By Dave Lee
It was a history making night at the 2010 Arnold Classic as Iris Kyle, Adela Garcia and Nicole Wilkins-Lee won in convincing fashion, making this the first time in the history of the IFBB that all three division winners have held both the Arnold and Olympia titles simultaneously. But other records were made at the 22nd edition of the spring classic at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio to make this a memorable night for the women's side of the IFBB Pro League.
With a physique that continues to be head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, Kyle set a new record with her fifth Ms. International title. Kyle, who won here in '04 and again in 2006-07 and '09, continues a four-contest win streak that started after she placed seventh at the '08 Ms. International. That loss seemed to have fueled her to take it to another level and she hasn't looked back since. Her standout shoulders, back and calves combined with her overall lines and bone-dry conditioning made her nearly untouchable from the moment she stepped onstage.
"I'm floating on cloud nine right now. I can't believe it actually happened," Kyle said. "I felt confident at the prejudging, but you are never sure until it happens. I'm a gym-person, so I'll probably take a couple of days off before I start training for the Olympia."
Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia who, until tonight, was tied with Kyle for most Ms. International wins [2002-03, '05, '08] while sporting great size, was just not hard enough to stop the Kyle Express. Debi Laszewski finished in third place, with Lisa Aukland, Betty Pariso and Dayana Cadeau in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Garcia, who captured her third Fitness International crown, is on a tear of her own, winning the last three shows she entered since coming back late in the '09 season from a torn ACL in her right knee the previous year.
"My first big win was the Arnold in '04, and this win tonight made me feel the same way," Garcia said. "It was so special because of the level of competition. The girls are getting better every year, and I have to work harder to keep winning. I just want to enjoy this night before I start focusing on the Olympia later this year."
Garcia's tight, shapely physique and stellar routine gave her the edge over runner-up Julie Palmer, who finished second here last year and third at the '09 Olympia. Tanji Johnson grabbed the third spot, with Trish Warren placing fourth and Oksana Grishina finishing in fifth place with Camala Rodriguez bringing up the sixth position.
Last year, when Wilkins-Lee became the youngest winner of the Figure Olympia, the 25-year old Michigan native stood poised as the sport's newest trendsetter. That distinction may have seemed premature at the time, but now with the '10 Figure International trophy to her name the first figure athlete to wear both crowns concurrently there's no question that Wilkins-Lee is the sport's most dominant, um, figure.
Erin Stern, who placed 10th here last year and sixth at the '09 Olympia, jumped all the way to second. Heather Mae French finished third with newcomer Mindi Smith in fourth, Felicia Romero in fifth and Larissa Reis in sixth.
The top six in each division qualified for the 2010 Olympia.
FULL 2010 ARNOLD CLASSIC COVERAGE
2010 ARNOLD CLASSIC WOMEN'S PREJUDGING GALLERIES
2010 ARNOLD CLASSIC WOMEN'S PREJUDGING REPORT
VIEW PICS FROM THE ARNOLD CLASSIC ATHLETE'S MEETING
2010 IFBB ARNOLD CLASSIC PREVIEW
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