Hello again, and a belated Happy New Year to all of you lovely readers.
FMS is back, refreshed and this year beginning the week on Monday and ending it on Sunday, like "normal people", as opposed to our customary Saturday to Friday run. No reason, just felt like the right thing to do. And we've also decided, after a brief experiment, to disallow anonymous comments again, not because there were any negative or offensive ones, but because it opened the door to online marketeers, and we have, quite frankly, been inundated with shite we had to moderate away. So if you want to comment, you'll need some kind of Google etc. ID. Apologies if that's a problem, but there are ways you can get in touch apart from the comment box like the old email firstname.lastname@example.org, and the new(ish) Twitter @6ft1swell for starters.
Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
And to kick off 2016 on FMS, we've decided to spend a week with some enhanced Russian athletes. Not the type who were so vilified in the media after the IAAF's drug-testing procedures were called into question, but those enhanced with muscle.
Today, a Russian Physique competitor whose notable legs we met briefly on the blog last year (see Rolling Thunder 089-100), and who gained some unexpected publicity in the UK around the same time that the IAAF story was breaking, Sasha Rudenko.
The story appeared at the end of November courtesy of the Mail Online, the internet arm of the Daily Mail newspaper, not a publication I go anywhere near in the normal course of things - think Trump's point of view then go a bit tot he right an you're about where the Mail stands on most things. However, as we've noted in the past here, the Mail Online has a penchant for picking up female muscle stories from the UK and elsewhere. And they are, pretty much all, positive. Though not, sadly, this time.
I am, of course, using the term "story" lightly, because if ever there was a non-story, it's here. Woman bodybuilder, 24, posts photos taken just one year apart showing her transformation but fans claim her shock of grey hair is a sign she's destroying her body, read the (rather long) headline. Apparently, "snaps of Aleksandra Rudenko shocked followers in social media". Those followers then "hit out, saying she had 'ruined' her body by over-training and looked 'unrecognisable' after just a year of competing".
The shocking pics in question were Sasha's own and showed her at her absolute driest just before her appearance at the IFBB Worlds. As we all know, the conditioned to within an inch of her life pre-contest feed female bodybuilder doesn't always look her best, but according to the Mail, this was too much for the "haters who descended onto her social media". After much horror andhand-wringing, the article moves on to how Sasha herself "gracefully" replied. And she pretty much said what I have just said.
How it got there, I cannot even imagine, she said in reference to the article afterwards. Well, Sasha, I imagine things went along something like this...
There's a journo, a journo who knows female muscle stories get bought by the Mail, maybe they've sold the Mail a few even. And perhaps a bit of extra income wouldn't go amiss as Christmas approaches. Time to find another of those money-spinning female muscle stories. Now, at this point I like to imagine that the journo went to their favourite resource for female muscle related knowledge, that well-regarded blog Female Muscle Slave. Just as easily it could have been the FMS quoting (and I mean in FULL) Body of Evidence (see Mr Evidence, I credit you, why don't you credit me?) But anyway, for whatever reason, our journo ends up visiting your VK page.
This must have been soon after November 20th when you posted your progress pics. Journo uses Google translate to decipher the comments (or is fluent in Russian), culls a few pics from when you looked "normal", and the story basically makes up itself after that. Got a new female bodybuilder shocker for you, says the journo to the Mail's editor. And as soon as the cheque is cashed, the kids' Xmas prezzies are upgraded.
Some of the images the journalist ignored are here in our post today. Sasha looks far from drawn, doesn't seem to be prematurely ageing - she turned 24 in December - and hardly displayed a "ruined" body at the Russian Championships (5th), the Worlds (8th), or the Arnold Europe, in a quite successful first year of international competition.
At least I could see myself in comparison with the world's strongest athletes, she said of her contest season. The real indication of your form can only be made standing in line with the best. I could see my mistakes in posing, style and carb loading.
I'm just looking at her legs, mostly.
And I'm pleased to report that Sasha was by no means upset by the publicity, bad being better than no, she reckoned. She [author Phoebe Jackson-Edwards] even read and translated comments! Sasha noted with delight as she linked the article. Made my day!
I hope she enjoys this even more. Bad publicity may be better than none, but good publicity is better than bad. Maybe there's a journo reading this right now and wondering what positive Sasha Rudenko story they can cook up - "Ruined 25-year-old Russian female bodybuilder is back to her gorgeous best after premature ageing scare" for example. Or maybe they're reading this post tomorrow on Body of Evidence...
In our only previous Sasha post we claimed she was Norwegian. We were wrong. Russian by birth and nationality, she's only at university in Norway. Apologies, it's what we believed to be true at the time. She's obviously Russian. She's on VK.
Celebrating prime enhanced Russian beef all week. Enjoy!