For years and years Female Bodybuilders were practically banned from FIBO, this seems like a total comeback of women's muscle, like it used to be in the early years. (Post - on the forum whose first rule is... - by "achilleus", 15th April).
There were enough Bodybuilding girls [at FIBO] in the last few years. But not concentrated on one booth like this! (Reply by "Liesbeth", also 15th April).
Either way, and not being lucky/motivated enough to attend (ever) I'm in no position to judge the validity of either opinion, what's clear to both posters and to anyone who's seen even a fraction of the images that have gone up on social media and the forum boards in the past four or five days, there was some massive female muscle on show at this year's FIBO, and (as usual) we have Wings of Strength to thank for it.
Just before we indulge, what's interesting about the advertised line-up is the mix of the "usual suspects" (Alina, Helle etc.) with those who have, until now, not been so closely associated with WoS events - especially the Russian duo of Natalya Kovalyova and, even more noteworthy, Nataliya Kuznetsova, the Beast from the East herself.
Her appearance at the WoS booth has certainly got my imagination running wild. Is this the preliminary to Nataliya competing at a WoS show this year? Perhaps the Ms Wings International in Chicago, perhaps at one of the slated shows later in Europe in the autumn... As if we needed reminding, the sheer jaw-dropping scale of this woman is all too apparent in these pics from FIBO, whether she's standing next to a pro FBB muscle goddess or one of her many female fans. Now I can't help but imagine her on stage, glammed and tanned to a level we've not seen her at before. It's mind-boggling!
I also can't help but imagine her being taken on by Alina, trained as Alina has trained up Lisa Cross and Elena Oana Hreapca so successfully. Nataliya, glammed and tanned and trained to a level we've never seen her at before, those mighty muscles conditioned to a level where only one-handed typing is possible for all but the most stoic, most disciplined female muscle lovers for weeks after her (potential) show...
And it wasn't just the (bug-eyed) female muscle heads at FIBO who were drawn to her (there are plenty of pics with her dwarfing dudes, but that's not what you're here to see, is it?). Marina Lemenovskaya and last week's FMS Woman of the Week Slava Galagan dropped by and together they made a sort Russian dream triptych with Nataliya as the massive centrepiece. There's a lot of meat right there, with all three (hopefully) potential role models to Female Bodybuilders present and future.
Young and old(er) turned up and flexed for the camera with the WoS team. Jana Linke Sippl (still beefy, and I'd recognise those pokies anywhere!) and Jéssica Sestrem were just two caught flexing off with Lisa. So happy to have met you all - the strongest women on the planet, gushed Jéssica afterwards. Inspirational!
Along with everything else they do, WoS deserve a lot of credit for arranging for the stars of the sport to be at an event where they really get to feel like the stars they are.
And no doubt such get-togethers only enhance their sense of "iron sisterhood" as well.
Two of the newer women to come under WoS's er... wing here were Noelle Rockwell and Kristina Nicole Mendoza, who (if the pictures don't lie) appear to have bonded closer than most, apparently together from the start of the day through all the action at the WoS booth (and quite possibly) beyond, into the Köln night. Imagine running into these two at a restaurant/bar/club, squirming to hide your tentpole and gradually becoming aware every guy in the place is squirming just the same as you are...
What an incredible day today in Köln, said Noelle of her experience on day 1 of the Expo alone. Got to hang out with some seriously impressive Female Bodybuilders, and met thousands of people who came by the booth throughout the day. "Thousands"! See?! Celebrities I tell you! STARS! Everyone was was so nice and supportive! she added. Great to see the love and appreciation from our fans!
This is probably not the kind of feeling Noelle, or any of the other WoS crew, gets off people all the time. Times may have changed in terms of body ideals and the number of women weight training, but Female Bodybuilders capital F capital B are still freaks when they are out in the real world, with all the sniggers, tuts and outright nasty comments that entails. But here at FIBO, they were all able to feel the collective (and mutual) love. A great day with the greatest ladies in the world, as Jay put it.
And there are more great European female muscle days to come in 2018 than there have been in (almost) living memory. In May and at the start of June there is not one but two pro FBB events scheduled in Italy, and during the FIBO weekend, Alina was meeting up with those responsible for the Romania Muscle Fest in November.
Great days ahead, and by the looks of Lisa, great nights too.
I can't decide whether it's hotter if she's about to go out like this or she's about to welcome her first "special fan" for an encounter he (or she) will never ever forget...
Although having said that, encountering any FBB dressed anyhow, anytime, and anywhere is probably a pretty unforgettable experience. Finding nine or ten of the biggest and the best of them all at once must be... well, something like heaven.
So now am I motivated (and feeling lucky), ready to commit to FIBO 2019 and seek out the Wings of Strength booth - to get my little bit of heaven? YES!!! I'm raring to go. Can you book twelve months in advance? I think I'll book a table for four at Reef and Beef too (Nataliya is going to need at least two seats, by then maybe three... Better make it a table for six). But on the other hand, I wonder whether it might all be too much, too heavenly. Such a massive, mouth-watering, groin-activating overload of beef (female, not the beef at Reef and Beef). Could I take it? Could I be the meet in the meet-and-greet and survive with my dignity (and pounding heart) still intact?