There was yet more on stage action at the start of July.
Bonny Priest became the latest face (and body) from the female muscle past to turn up in the female muscle present, 4th behind Rosanna Harte at the Dallas Europa, and at the NABBA Worlds (where they still have a Female Bodybuilding class, they just call it "Physique"), new Brazilian sensation Flores Neide Souza Campos added to her growing legend. And all in a thongtastic NABBA-style posing suit! Ai-karamba!
But there was more sombre news of FMS fave Marthe Sundby who, we reported, was facing another fight with cancer. One day you feel strong and healthy, next day the cancer is back, wrote Marthe. I won last time in 2007, I will beat this illness again. HAVE FAITH AND BELIEVE. At the time of writing, she's still fighting. Keep the faith.
Summer Break I
FMS closed up the office for a week in the sunshine, but we left you with seven posts, and seven women, to enjoy while we were away hoping the South of France beach where we were sunning ourselves would be female muscle central. (Ce n'était pas).
There was Greek Physique champ Tereza Pantela.
I'm a sucker for those sultry Mediterranean ladies even when they haven't got big bulging muscles, so it's hardly surprisng Tereza sends me into a full swoonspin...
There was NPC Figure competitor Liz Montalbano's ultra-ripped body and, as she put it herself, "insane tan" backstage at the NPC Garden State Championships.
I absolutely love it! said Liz. We found it hard to look away.
We also checked in with Figure pro fave Tina Nguyen - yes, we discovered, she is still making us go NG!!! - and Best of British Lisa Cross, who was slowly but surely turning herself inside out as she prepared to take the stage at the Tampa Pro.
And there were three Brazilians!
Two very different rears - Gracyanne's, all-consuming, ever-expanding - and that of Janaina Pinheiro - "altogether tighter, more sculpted, more honed".
And for the first time on FMS we said olá to Grace Kelly.
Grace Kelly. No really, that appears to be what her name is. Or Grace Kelly Bom Bom. She adds that to it. Or, just plain ol' Gracesex, which is her Instagram moniker. Can't you tell? She's the shy and retiring type is Grace. Not.
The (Crossfit) Games Are Coming
Starting on 19th July, the CrossFit Games, unlike the European Union, shows no signs of getting any smaller. Athletes from 175 different countries participated in qualifying. Now the top 40 will do battle for the title "Fittest on Earth". As has become customary on FMS, our CrossFit correspondent Aiden has been analysing the field so you don't have to and has hand-picked a selection of the finest "Crossfit talent". We'll be meeting all five of his selections this week, along with two FMS picks - though we don't know much about CrossFit, we do know what we like!
We liked, among others (clockwise from top left) Sheila Barden, France's Célia Gabbiani, Brooke Wells (just 20!), and (also French) Jeanne Rossarie.
Obsessions (some old, some new)
One way or another, I've spent a fair bit of time looking back this year on FMS. Must be my age, because it's certainly not a lack of quality in the new female muscle entering my consciousness these days that makes me think of the old days. Maybe I'm just rediscovering (or perhaps chasing) the thrill I felt when I first encountered female muscle. That was my theory when I wrote these posts back in the summer anyway!
New obsessions included the latest woman to be thought of as "The One", Cass Martin (above). Insanely gorgeous and, it turns out, exceptionally strong as well, FMS is not the only one who's fallen heads over heels for her. Even non-heads can't help themselves. I don't like women with muscles, wrote one on Cass's Instagram, but for you I'll make an exception. How nice! She must have been so pleased.
And we also found ourselves drooling over two ladies, one British, one American, with, among their many other charms, absolutely spectacular chests. The lady from the UK turned out to be, after a little digging, Layla Allen (left) - I don't usually obsess about a particular bodypart, I wrote, but sometimes it's unavoidable. It is so exceptional, so swoonworthy on its own, that I can't help myself. And neither can a lot of Layla fans.
With Mica Zumpano Schneider though, the attraction was based as much on the attitude as the body. And Mica made me go really silly. Imagine being poolside as Mica struts in in her bikini with her six-pack and her shoulders and her biceps and that smile and that hair and those aviators, I gushed like some kind of pathetic lovesick schoolboy with a crush on his best friend's super hot muscular Mum. Imagine you're a woman. You might even have been feeling pretty good about yourself as you lay out in your bikini and noticed one or two guys looking your way, but how you feel in the presence of such an obviously superior woman? Look at her, glowing with vitality and confidence and power and animal sexuality and those muscles that you always thought made women look manly but (look at her six-pack!) there's no mistaking she's all woman. And you suddenly feel rather inadequate.
Not too proud of that paragraph. Probably true though.
But it wasn't all new swoons. The return to the stage of Physique dream of Jamie Pinder was a major cause for celebration in the Swell house, not only because she returned, but also because she plain owned the Chicago Pro. For this old Pinderette anyway, her WOW factor was still very much in evidence. Very much.
The conclusion of the week? I'm still totally, hopelessly obsessed...
And in the last week of July there was more of that looking back, as we featured readers' favourite routines of the recent and not so recent past in a joyous celebration. It's an art form, we fear, that is in danger of being forgotten these days, despite one or two notable exceptions, so perhaps this was a timely reminder of "this is how you do it", although the IFBB will have to give the ladies (of both the Physique and Bodybuilding divisions) not just more time, but also fewer restrictions on the content of their performances if the routine is going to make a proper comeback.
And as your collective favourite you lovely readers chose...
Get your breath back. August is coming next.