These are not easy times for European female bodybuilders. Unless your pal Alina Popa is getting you a guest posing slot at a US pro show and lobbying for you to be awarded your pro card, your options are extremely limited with your division completely removed from amateur IFBB contests such as the World Championships. A handful continue to compete within the NABBA/WFF federations at the few shows where they are welcomed, and then there are the local, national and international shows organised within the IBFA umbrella where they might find themselves competing against - if they're lucky - one or maybe two other women.
It's no surprise then that many have instead chosen to compete within the burgeoning Physique division, and some, as we recently saw on FMS, are enjoying great success, but for others, it's not going quite so well, and I'd definitely count the size-obsessed Greek powerhouse Vasiliki "Vaso" Dimitraki among the less fortunate.
Quite simply she is, like the title of the film says, Too Big for the World.
Or too big the world of Greek Physique competition anyway!
The gorgeous Tereza Pantela, winning for the second consecutive year, was well worth the trophy at the recent Greek Championships - an IFBB affiliated show. I'm not about to argue with the placings, just point out that Vaso despite (in my inexpert opinion anyway) being in by far the best shape of her life, found herself up against more judging-criteria-friendly physiques and consequently didn't make the top 3.
And it's not that she is just stubbornly refusing to fit in. There's no sour grapes from Vaso, nor any self-pity. She said afterwards she had "felt honoured" to be on stage with her Greek muscle sisters, and thanking her coach she spoke of the "spectacular" improvements she felt she had made during this preparation, how she had "bled and sweated". And she remains optimistic about her chances in the future. I don't stop here, she says. I keep working and the next time it will be totally different!
The news that Vaso is so looking forward to her next Physique outing will hardly come as a cause for celebration for those fans for whom size matters though. Here is (yet) another woman reining in her exciting mass potential.
In April, a cammer reported that she looks incredible right now, amazingly thick with muscle, traps and neck are up there with Oana as the best in the sport, I think. Granted, said cammer may have still been "coming down" and perhaps was a little over-excited when he said that... But then again, perhaps he was absolutely spot on!
Point is, he said it. And his effusive praise for Baso is by no means the only example you can find on the forums. A Greek goddess, [she] honestly looks like she just strutted down from the top of Mount Olympus. She could be one of the Great Ones.
Again, perhaps our Vaso fans are getting a bit carried away, but let's say they are right. She's still young, she's got time on her side, let's say she is going to blossom and grow into one of the great FBBs one day. First of all, she's going to have to turn herself into a top Physique competitor, a great one even. It's the only choice those who govern her sport still give her and other would-be European FBBs. In fact, it's no choice at all.
I might be feeling sorry for her, and you might too. But rather than ending today's post on a downer, we'll give the last word to Vaso and a more positive, defiant note, a timely reminder that no matter what anyone else does, ultimately female bodybuilding will continue as long as there are women who want to be female bodybuilders.
A good life is when you smile often, dream big and realize how blessed you are! Don't let anyone belittle your ambitions. Get out there and dominate everything you do. Work hard in silence, then make your f*cking noise through success!
[I'm} Just getting started.
Let's hope that's true.
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