Saturday, 5 September 2015

Rising Phoenix 2015: Media Watch


Interestingly, there is a subculture that finds these extreme cases of masculinized women attractive and/or desirable. We tend to label these people "schmoes" - men who sexually fetishize female bodybuilders. I used to look at these men in disgust for their perverse nature, booking private sessions for "posing" and "wrestling" and other general kinkiness. But, in respect to the female bodybuilders out there still intent on pushing the envelope, I'm going to change my mind.

These guys have shown their worth in saving some semblance of the upper echelon of female bodybuilding by putting their money where their whack-off lube is. In 2015, there's a new show for top female pros called Rising Phoenix. Promoted by Tim Gardner and supported financially by the schmoes, this show offers to fatten the bank accounts of the erstwhile disenfranchised female pros with a $50,000 prize plus a Jeep worth $55,000. This beats the top Olympia prize in its heyday.

If such promotions continue and female bodybuilding becomes fan supported, then [...] the women so inclined can just go for it. Power to them.

John Romano, "The Death of Women's Bodybuilding", TNation, August 18th 2015


Just seen the line up for the show. Underwhelming to say the least. There are only about 3 girls that can win this and without the likes of Alina who is injured and the girls who have defected to physique like Anne Freitas [...]

I admire WoS for supporting this show but I'm afraid to say that compared to the O this show looks a poor relation. There seem to be 4 or 5 girls that have been given 'sympathy' spots when they have placed near the back of the field in the other competitions that they did this year. Surely this is supposed to be the best of the best not a 'who can we get to show up' event.

People on [this forum] complain that female bodybuilding is in decline. People like Wings of Strength assist with funding for a contest. People on [this forum] complain about the competition line up anyway. You'd think with all the recent moaning and groaning about the likes of Shannon Courtney walking away, people would support the competitions and competitors we do have. Clearly not.

"Fan" post and response on the forum whose first rule is, August 20th and 22nd 2015


Margie Martin looks amazing in her front shots, great balance of muscularity and conditioning, good lines, arms and delts are great. Conditioning from the back isn't crazy but those are impressive shots for her. She's my front runner so far.

Helle Trevino - wow. Helle brought it! Good muscularity, conditioning looks really good. Nice balance and flow, hams and glutes are pretty good. She could very well have this whole thing.

David Baye, Muscular Development play-by-play, August 22nd 2015

A total of 15 IFBB Pro women took the stage to battle it out for the Jeep and $50,000 and in the end it was a heated battle between Helle Neilsen [sic] and Margie Martin. Both were always in the middle during prejudging.

It was quite intense knowing that first place was a $50,000 cash prize and the custom Jeep, whereas second got $25,000. $25K is nothing to sneeze at but the top prize was quite impressive and with the judges putting the top group through their paces for multiple rounds of comparisons it almost felt like a heavyweight bout with Neilsen and Martin going pose for pose to see who could gain the edge.

Many thought they would be re-judged again at finals and indeed they were.

Gene X Hwang, GeneX Magazine, August 22nd 2015


All of the competitors received a rose after individual posing.

All 15 competitors did the posedown.

The IFBB professional women's bodybuilding cash prize for first place was five times that of the IFBB professional men's bodybuilding first place cash prize.

The first [Rising Phoenix] was held on Iris Kyle's 41st birthday.

Wikipedia, "Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championships, "Notable Events"


The Finals had some nice touches and since this was the first year, you had to expect them to try things out to make an impression. The introductory volcano scene and reveal of all the competitors was pretty cool (see photo above). The volcano perhaps could have been more impressive but hey, the audience was there to see the physiques, not pyrotechnics.

Gene X Hwang, GeneX Magazine, August 22nd 2015

Numbers wise the show as a whole was a bit down but for a first year show in a city that hasn't had professional bodybuilding before that's to be expected. Production wise it was on par for Tim Gardner and first class from stsrt to finish. Despite how well it was ran [sic] I don't see women's bodybuilding as something that could be a stand alone event but it was a nice addition. I think not having Iris and/or Alina hurt a little bit but overall I'd say it was good.

David Baye, Muscular Development play-by-play, August 22nd 2015

I was there. Fantastic event, great turnout, stunning competitors. Helle appeared to be the audience favorite, but Margie definitely brought the best physique package and her win was well deserved.

This event has thrust female bodybuilding into the limelight for ordinary people - as a positive thing. People lined up to get their pictures taken with Margie after the show - including a pair of young twins who each asked her, "Could you pick me up?" Ordinary tourists could be heard at the airport muttering about the "bodybuilding thing" that came to town that weekend, and there were no sneers of contempt.

Not only was Rising Phoenix not a dud, it was a rousing success and a victory for bodybuilding as a whole.

Fan post on the forum whose blah blah etc., August 25th 2015

Right. So that's what other people have been saying - the few who have had something to say about the show, anyway. I've got a few things to say myself, and over the next six days, with the blog's familiar timing and "not quite topical" hallmark, I'll be saying them. And, more importantly, we'll be seeing how the women themselves have reported their own experiences. The phoenix rises (again) all week on FMS.



  1. I read the first article you posted by John Romano and, while he was right about some things that have lead to the downfall of FBB'ing, he was waaay off base on some others. For instance, he talks about how FBB's have a "five o'clock shadow" and directly underneath that is a pic of Alina Popa. Alina Popa who is one of the hottest FBB's every and who doesn't have a "man-ish" face.

    I'm glad the competition got an overall good reception. Hopefully all the competitors will be there next year and even bigger. I disagree that it would have been a great thing if Iris Kyle would have been there. She probably would have won even if she didn't even compete (ugh!).

    It's just sad that former FBB's like Shannon Courtney, who was poised to be the new face of the sport, Brigita Brezovac, who looked stunning in her ramp up to the last Ms. Olympia, and Anne Freitas, who bailed out into Figure, have been discouraged from attaining the most muscle mass and symmetry they can.

  2. I'm glad to see that female bodybuilding is now coming back thanks to Wings Of Strength! That was a great show with beautiful sexy athletes!