4th, 2012 Toronto Pro
Gillian was one of FMS' Women of the Year in 2012 on the back of her performance in Toronto (and her blond to brunette transformation, and a Female Muscle Clips preview where all she does is walk!). So, despite her having had some (all too rare but) very strong showings since then, most notably her two 4th places in 2015, when we think of Gillian's best, we can't get beyond her smouldering 2012 pro debut.
And, believe it or not, I'm pretty sure Margie Martin would agree. One and a half years ago, wrote Gillian in 2016, one of the 2014 Toronto Pro athletes approached me near the SkyDome to introduce herself and tell me that she had one of my pictures from 2012 in the album she keeps to help motivate her to perform at HER best! She was, of course, Margie, and some time later on her own Instagram, Margie showed us that picture. It was Gillian's back, on stage in Toronto two years before they met.
I doubt, however, me and Margie were the only ones squirrelling images of Gillian's beef away in our special albums. That year, Lisa Giesbrecht took the title, Kim Buck was 2nd, and Britain's own Wendy McCready a career best 3rd. All great, all looked fantastic on the day, but I've looked back at the pictures and the video available from the show (all in the name of proper research you understand), and honestly I couldn't understand then and I still can't understand now why Gillian didn't win.
She's big. A big girl, noted George Farah on the MD play-by-play during prejudging. She's thick, he noted during her routine. Anyone else get the impression the man had lost a little of his usual eloquence while watching Gillian? Can't blame him if that is the case. That's certainly how she generally affects me, and he's looking at her in the flesh!
For me (and probably Margie too), Gillian was magnificent here. Magnificent width on her shoulders and that back. Big, beefy quads and glutes, and thick, thick hamstrings. She hasn't got the smallest waist but with her shoulders and legs she doesn't need one. She's magnificent (did I say that already?) And those deep, dark, smouldering eyes...
We really like Gillian, said FMS back in 2012. We really like her a lot. And we've continued to do so since then, even when she hasn't been at her best (and gone back to being blond). She's got that thing, whatever it is. Her struggles - financial, mental - eloquently (if only briefly) documented by Gillian on her blog - have only made us admire her more. She spoke back in 2016 of wanting to focus more on the coaching side of things, of wanting to continue her education, and refusing to become just another "Instagram fitness bimbo". She updated the blog once. Then it went quiet. Gillian, so often so good, doesn't seem to be about to return to competition.
I think that is a real shame. And Margie would probably agree.
Watch FMC's Gillian walking preview here.