Women of the 2012 Olympia

With such an elite group of women competing for a win or a top spot at this year’s Olympia, the task of writing a preview of what might happen is nearly impossible. This is the best of the very best and below is the most eloquent way someone in my position could describe what might take place this year with the Women of the O.
The numbers in fitness have declined yet there are a few familiar faces that have remained true to the sport by continuing to support one of the most entertaining divisions of the pro ranks.
The Reign Champion:
Adela Garcia continues to improve her routines year after year and will be returning to defend her title. What’s interesting about Adela is that unlike most of the fitness athletes, she does not have a gymnastic background, yet manages to pull off one of the most high energy and strong routines.  Adela’s physique is also a strong point for her and even if her routine do not appear at its very best, this usually brings her scores up. With this combination, Ms. Garcia will very likely walk away a champion once again.
The Top Challengers:
We can look for Tanji Johnson, Oksana Grishina and Bethany Wagner-Cisternino to also be in the fight for the top spots. In a division that requires strength moves and flexibility, a dynamic and entertaining routine, along with a conditioned and symmetrical physique, it is hard to say which athlete will edge the other when considering any of these.
The Surprise Contenders:
Myriam Capes will surely be the one to watch this year. She will be stepping into the Olympia stage after a fresh 1st place win at the Valenti Cup . Her placings have improved consistently and more notably, so has her physique. Let’s not count out Canadian Jodi Boam, who has made some noise this year with her gymnastic skills and electric routines.
Women’s Bodybuilding
The Reign Champion:
Can any of the women in the line-up come close to the structure and lines of Ms. Iris Kyle? Most don’t think so. Ms. Kyle is very consistent with the way she trains and sticks to what has worked for her over the years. Since she has managed to get a formula that has secured her winning streaks, the likelihood that she will be de-throned are slim to none. There is one top challenger who will surely bring Ms. Kyle a run for her crown.
The Top Challengers:
We should be keeping an eye on Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, this year’s Arnold Classic champ, who has promised to bring an entertaining routine, a feminine and gorgeous physique and great conditioning. If everything comes together for Yaxeni she may very well be our new Ms. Olympia.
If both Debi Laszewski and Alina Popa’s bring in their best and most perfected package, they are guaranteed to secure a top spot. They both had great finishes at this year’s Arnold with Debi coming in  2nd place and Alina in 3rd. Let’s not forget Brigita Brezovac, who continues to gain popularity with the crowds despite a disappointing 6th place finish at this year’s Arnold. She could very well be either a top challenger or one of the below surprise contenders.
The Surprise Contenders:
Sarah Hayes will be coming in from her first IFBB Pro win at the PBW Tampa Pro after not placing where she had hoped at the Europa Supershow in Hartford, where she took 5th place. Ms. Hayes maintains an elegant physique with a feminine look and a good amount of muscle. With a more conditioned physique at the Olympia she will be one to watch for.
Monique Jones and Michelle Cummings are both fast rising stars in the world of female bodybuilding. Jones has the type of structure that can hold muscle but at times lacks the conditioning required to win a show like the Olympia. She is clearly improving and has great potential. Michelle just turned pro last year and has an overall pleasing physique.With a few more pounds of muscle she could very well be on the rise to a win very soon since she has been placing consistently in the top 3 spots in her past pro shows.
The Reign Champion:
Nicole Wilkins, perhaps one of the most controversial Ms. Olympia winners, will be coming back to defend her Figure O title. Even though she’s fallen victim to plenty of criticism due to her lack of muscle maturity and conditioning, her amazing structure alone makes her the standing Figure Olympia. She has, undoubtedly, a near perfect X frame with her wide shoulders and small waist, and looks nearly flawless from the back. I believe time will be on her side and she can only get better.
The Top Challengers:
Erin Stern is possibly one of the most popular Figure Olympians to step back on the stage. After winning in 2010 with what most considered to be the “it” look for figure, Stern lost the title to Wilkins last year. If she brings it all together including her hair, makeup, and presentation, she could very well regain her title.
Candice Keene seems to have found her winning look and will be in one of the top 3 spots. Her physique has greatly improved and so have her placings, which have all been top 3 finishes, including two 1st place wins at the Europa Show of Champions in Orlando and the New York Pro. Candice is destined for a great future as a pro and if speculation might have her crowned with a Figure O title in the near future.
Another Candice moving up the ranks and a top challenger will be Candice Lewis. She is not as conditioned as the rest of the top challengers, but she is able to hold her own in the figure stage with her great presentation, a beautiful frame with a tiny waist, and a gorgeous face with flawless hair and makeup. These are all things judges take into consideration when choosing who will be rewarded. If Lewis brings a tighter and more conditioned lower body, she will be remain in the top spots at the Olympia and beyond.
Lastly we have Teresa Anthony, who will be returning to the O stage looking to move up from last year’s 5th place win. She has consistently maintained a look that the judges reward.
The Surprise Contenders:
Girls, watch out now! Mallory Haldeman and Francine Sablan are on their way to the top! New to the IFBB ranks, these 2 ladies just turned pro this year. Both wasted no time to get on the list of contenders at the remaining qualifying pro shows of the year. It will be interesting to see where they place at the biggest show of the year amongst the best of the best figure physiques in the world.
Ann Titone could very well be one the most improved figure athletes this year. She will be coming into the Olympia from her first win as a pro at the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Tampa Pro Championships. This has been a turning year for Ann and we look forward to seeing her best package yet at the Olympia.
Honorable Mentions:
Larissa Reis, one of the crowd’s favorites, brought a surprisingly smaller and tighter physique at the Europa Dallas Pro, earning her a 2nd place finish, but fell to a 5th place finish at the Tournament of Champions.  
Andrea Cantone is a wild card, someone who has consistently placed in the top 6 spots since turning pro and this will be her first trip to the Olympia. She has a very pleasing physique with a tiny waist to rival that of Candice Lewis.
Heather Dees is one pretty lady who has done exceptionally well this year and has gained more popularity from figure fans who would love to see her snag one of the top spots.
The Reign Champion:
Nicole Nagrani will be returning to defend her Bikini Olympia title. A cute lady with a great personality off and on the stage, Nicole has what it takes to continue to carry on the title of Ms. Bikini O.
Top Challengers:
The ladies who have been consistent with the look they bring to the stage seem to be the most successful in this division. These top challengers have changed very little from the beginning of their journey as amateur competitors to what will possibly at the Olympia.
India Paulino is the name everyone is talking about with the strongest potential to walk away crowned the new Ms. Bikini Olympia. Paulino has remained with one of the most consistent looks since the inception of the bikini division with her signature yellow suit and her little move at the end of her posing. She exudes confidence and sex appeal on the stage. India is coming in with a very solid and strong placing history which includes two back-to-back 1st place wins at the Pittsburgh Pro and the New York Pro this year.
Sonia Gonzales will be looking to redeem herself from a disappointing 5th place finish at last year’s Olympia after holding the Ms. Bikini O title in 2010. Despite heavy criticism by fans, Sonia has proven to have what it takes from the judges’ eyes to be a top challenger. She has done exceptionally well this year with two 1st place wins at the Arnold Classic and the IFBB Pro Musclecontest.com Pro bikini.
Diana Dahlgren is another top challenger this year. With a 3rd place win at last year’s Olympia, and a strong list of placings to back her this year, she will be in the line-up to battle it out for one of the top 3 spots.
Yeshaira Robles aimed to earn her automatic qualification at this year’s Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Tampa Pro Championships in August but due to inclement weather, she was forced to sit the show out. Fortunately she remained on track and earned her spot by winning the Valenti Pro Cup in Sarasota a few weeks later. This will be Robles first trip to the Olympia and if she continues to remain consistent, we can foresee her making a strong mark in the division.
When it comes to consistent placings and showings, we cannot forget Jamie Baird. She earned her pro status back in 2009 and since then has jumped in as many as 10 pro shows, including the 2010 and 2011 Olympia, where she finished 4th at both. Will this be a better year for her with an even bigger list of top contenders and challengers?
Surprise Contenders:
Justine Munro has improved greatly and could very easily steal the judges’ hearts with her charm and beauty. She has gained popularity with her recent win at the IFBB St. Louis Pro with what could be considered one of the best glutes in bikini at the moment.
Pollianna Moss, a young lady with only a handful of shows under her belt, is one of the most remarkable success stories in the bikini division. She managed to earn her pro card at this year’s NPC Junior USAs and jump on to the pro stage at the Toronto Pro, where she won 1st place and earned an automatic qualification to the Olympia. The possibilities of where things will end up for her are endless but either way, her success is nothing to snooze about.
Honorable Mentions:
We haven’t seen much of Vanessa Campbell on the stage this year or otherwise, so it is difficult to assess where she will place. She had a successful 2011 but did not end as strong with a disappointing finish at the Olympia. Will she be looking to redeem herself? The same can be said for Natalia Melo, who, has been missing in action since this year’s 5th place finish at the Arnold Classic. Although many consider Melo’s glutes among the best, her physique as a whole could go either way. If she tries to bring down her lower body and glutes she risks being extremely lean in the upper half, and vice versa, if she tries to remain softer up top, she can be too soft in the glutes. Either way, she remains a fan favorite and it will be exciting to see what package she will bring this year. 
Well, this concludes my little preview and thoughts on what we might see this coming weekend at the Olympia! See you guys soon!

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