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Many people in bodybuilding circles know Dana Linn Bailey as the winner of the first Women’s Physique Olympia competition back in 2013. Her loyal fans know her to be much more than that. Almost a decade after she won that historic contest, she is still one of the most relevant people in fitness. Whether it’s her experiences in other strength sports, her appearance on American Ninja Warrior, or her inspiring presence on social media, Bailey has been doing great things and inspiring people for a long time.
DLB was the guest on this week’s episode of “The Menace Podcast,” and host Dennis James wasted no time in asking about Bailey’s life and career. She revealed that her athletic background goes back way before her days in bodybuilding.
“I was on like, a traveling soccer team, traveling track team, I started swimming. So I swam since I was five years old. I joined the swim team at five, so I was on the under-8 team. I also played soccer, basketball, field hockey, track, and softball. By the time I got to high school, I had to narrow it down. So in high school I chose field hockey for fall, basketball in the winter, and then soccer in the spring.”
Out of all the sports Bailey played, she excelled at soccer the most. Her defensive prowess on the field led her to get recruited to play at the college level.
“I went on after high school, I got recruited to play soccer for West Chester University as a defense (player). So we played two back, me and my best friend. It was a lot of running. It was the sport I loved the most. I was playing soccer year round.”
Something that may come as a surprise to many fans is that she was also very quiet in her younger years. She explained to DJ that she didn’t feel comfortable talking much.
“I was very, very shy as a kid. My parents didn’t like it. I just wouldn’t talk. Unless you asked me a question, I didn’t talk,” she said. “I started opening up definitely once I got in high school, and I had my group of friends. They were all athletes like me. I ran with the ‘jock crew.’”
Obviously times have changed, and her life would change after her college soccer days. This was in part to her first experiences training as well as meeting her future husband, Rob Bailey, during her college years.
“Rob played football for West Chester. I actually met him the first day of preseason. They put all the athletes in the same dorm because we come two weeks before everybody to get ready. So I met Rob really the first day, and I was like, ‘Ooh, he’s interesting.’ We didn’t start dating until a couple of years later.”
The rest as they say, is history. You can relive that history with Bailey and James in this hour long interview. Check out this week’s episode of TMP over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. Episodes air every Sunday at 3 p.m. eastern time every week.