Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Back in June 2013, FMS lent its support to a petition set up by the (then mighty) Real Female Bodybuilding in an attempt to save the Ms International. We urged you all to sign. Now I don't know how many of you eventually did, but on June 20th, five days after I had posted the link (which was a few more days than that since it had gone up), over 800 people had added their names to it. As we now know, it changed nothing.
Jim Lorimer, Arnold Classic promoter, had done what he could. Apparently he'd been accosted for years by fans demanding that the Ms International be replaced by a smaller Men's Bodybuilding class. He stoically put up with the continual harassment. But every man has his breaking point, and by 2013 Jim had finally reached his.
The Arnold Sports Festival was proud to support women’s bodybuilding through the Ms. International for the past quarter century. But in keeping with demands of our fans, the time has come to introduce the Arnold Classic 212 beginning in 2014.
Tripe like that can only come from the mouth of a man who knows he can do whatever he wants. Despite the name and the face on the banner, it was and still is Jim's show.
It wasn't like he was excluding women completely.
Say hello to Beth Mandyck, the 56-year-old Ms Buffalo, centre shot above.
Beth won the Female Bodybuilding class at last year's show. Not the most competitive line-up you will ever see, but at 56, good on her. She's only been at it 3 years, and has thus far competed "exclusively" as a Bodybuilder. Closed fists for double biceps etc.
You may have heard of Beth. Jim Lorimer certainly has. She filed a gender discrimination complaint with the City of Columbus on January 5th in response to being told she couldn't register in a "Female Bodybuilding" class at the Arnolds.
And her husband has got another petition going...
His petition focuses on the fact that the Arnold Amateur is an NPC, not IFBB, event. The IFBB may have crossed Female Bodybuilding off their love list some time ago (even though the Wings of Strength shows are still held under the IFBB umbrella), but there are NPC shows with Female Bodybuilding, quite a few actually, and most of the national level events still include Female Bodybuilding classes, however small.
Cue more Lorimer tripe.
The IFBB discontinued the women's bodybuilding event in their program, he said in response to the "unfair" Mandyck complaint recently. So we felt that it was best to back away from that event. Women were getting so muscular and so into the development of their muscles that it was not at all aspirational for other women.
Apparently, Jim knows what women want.
Women like Aleesha Young, Kristine Mele, Melissa Fanning, and Susanna Hand. Women like Mary Cain, Brittney O'Veal, Pauline Nelson, and Theresa Ivancik. All have competed at NPC national level since the end of the Ms International. None, according to Lorimer, inspired by the competitors of the Ms Internationals past. Not the most recent ones anyway, with women "so into the development of their muscles that it was not at all aspirational". Not them. No way.
After two weeks the Mandyck petition has just reached 100 names. Hardly the most popular "bring back Female Bodybuilding" petition ever. It, and the gender discrimination complaint are, it has been pointed out elsewhere, a good few years too late. And so, if reports are to be believed, is Iris Kyle's support for it.
Jim's still talking like the man who can do whatever he wants.
And that's probably because he is.