FAMILIAR RESULTS NEW & OLD
All three division winners were also the reigning Olympia champions.
Need I say anything? I imagine the contest was over as a contest the second Iris faced the back and flared her lats. Whether you see 'bumps' (aka 'distortions') on those glutes or not, whether you think Iris was the best ever or a major factor in IFBB pro Female Bodybuilding's demise, it's impossible to deny that she didn't deserve to win. Again.
Meanwhile, in the Fitness division, four-time Fitness Olympia champ and two-time Fitness International winner Adela Garcia returned to the Arnolds after a two-year break to resume normal service and continue a nine-show winning streak that had started at the 2009 Olympia and finished at her final show, the 2013 Olympia.
And then there was Nicole Wilkins. As we saw yesterday, Nicole had given Fitness a crack at the Arnolds in 2009. Here she returned to the division in which her previous best Arnolds finish had been 12th in 2008, but she was returning as the reigning Ms Olympia. Still, I should point out, needing to wear both a one-piece and a two-piece in this division, and clearly not yet needing to show much definition to win over the Figure judges, Nicole took the first of three consecutive Figure International titles.
I imagine the stark contrast between Nicole and Iris may have had something to do with the realisation on the part of the authorities that the women needed another division, intermediate between Figure and Bodybuilding. The creation of the Physique division is a little way down the road yet, and its Arnold bow is even further down the road, but the some of the women who would populate it would often have years of Arnolds experience behind them, and there were more than a few on stage in 2010.
And when the women came into this brand new division, they didn't only come from one direction. Zoa Linsey (top), as I'm sure you know, competed a Bodybuilder - she finished a very creditable 7th here given the competition. In the Amateur show, future Physique stars Heather Grace, Jillian Reville,and Mikaila Soto all competed in the same Figure class at the 2010 Arnolds, while Autumn Swansen (then stlll Edwards) and Minna Pajulahti both appeared in the same Amateur Fitness class.
And in Amateur Bodybuilding, the now obviously built for Physique Sherri Gray, and - though she wasn't quite finished with Bodybuilding yet - Katka Kyptova both made their Arnold debuts here and would later go on to strut their stuff in the WPD.
THE NEW BREED?
It wasn't just a case of plus ça change with Iris winning. The only difference between the 2009 and 2010 Ms International top 6 was that Yaxeni and Debi swapped places.
But down in 8th - yes, one place lower than Zoa Linsey! - Arnold audiences caught their first glimpse of Alina, who would soon join the ranks of the serious challengers to Iris' crowns, and, like Heather Policky before her, would carry the hope of a legion of fans that finally "the sport" could, at last, be about to have a new Queen.
The quality of the Amateur Bodybuilding show, however, was starting to wane. Fewer women competing (just five in each of the three classes) and much less of the quality that had so electrified audiences for its first two years. In not very competitive classes, Lisa Aranda (Lightweight) and Marina Lemenovskaya (Middleweight) were both worthy winners, but hardly looked to be about to turn pro FBBing on its head.
Happily though, Rita Bello was Overall champion. A year too late, perhaps, but at least here was a woman who was entering the pro ranks fully formed and ready to do battle. Where was the next international generation though? It wouldn't be long before the answer to that question was definitively NOT at the Arnold Amateur.
For the first time, YES!!!
Future World's Sexiest Grandmother Sharon Madderson was the first to represent Britain in Bodybuilding at the Arnolds. Sharon finished 4th (out of 5) in the Bello-dominated Heavyweight class, also behind the much bigger Salla Kauranen and Nidia Hermosillo. Enjoyed the experience though, if the pictures don't lie.
And Kizzy Vaines, who, until Emma Paveley came along, carried the pro Fitness flag for Great Britain all by herself, placed 12th after achieving some impossibly deranged body positions that doubtless had fellas in the audience licking their lips.