The United States has only one official language, and while there are regional variations of English in different parts of the country, there are no actual dialects, which are languages in their own right. But Canada has two official languages, English and French. Plus, it has several dialects: English, French, First Nation and Indigenous. Quebec is a French-speaking area of Canada; however, you do not have to speak French to get by. But you will find throwing in an occasional “Merci,” or “Bon Jour” will get you a better response from the local Quebecois. But if you are looking for language to describe the beautiful French Canadian bodybuilder Cathy LeFrancois, the only term you will need is…

Oh là là!

Cathy LeFrancois2-Dobbins copy
Bill Dobbins

Back in the day, it was common for very beautiful athletic women to avoid a commitment to bodybuilding for fear of stepping outside the bounds of what was considered attractive. Two successful female bodybuilders, who did not adopt this attitude were Anja Langer and Cory Everson. Cathy LeFrancois was inspired by these women and started bodybuilding and went on to become a successful pro. Cathy says, “Cory was a serious track and field athlete who had no qualms about developing big, strong muscles, and Anja was so dedicated to working out that, against her parents’ wishes, she would sneak out at night and train in her boyfriend’s garage. So, these fantastic women, and a number of other beautiful champions, inspired me to dedicate myself to bodybuilding with no reservations.”

Anja Langer-Dobbins copy
Beautiful champions like Anja Langer inspired Cathy to dedicate herself to bodybuilding. Bill Dobbins

When she was 14 years old, Cathy noticed that a classmate, Steve Beaulieu, had big veiny forearms. She asked him how he got them. He said he was training at home with some dumbbells. After noticing her interest, he brought her a magazine with Cory Everson on the cover. She immediately told him that she wanted to be like her. Later on, she saw a guy, Rick Voyer, with huge legs and calves. She asked him how he got them. He said it was from speed skating, so she started speed skating and competed for many years.

At her first speed skating competition she won three gold medals.

Moving on to bodybuilding, Cathy won five medals in the Quebec provincial championships, an accomplishment that has not been equaled since. She earned her pro card in 1995 when she won the overall title at the CBBF Canada Cup.

Cathy LeFrancois3-Dobbins copy
Bill Dobbins

Until 2016, Cathy competed many times, sometimes winning titles. As a smaller bodybuilder, she welcomed the period in which the IFBB included a lightweight class in bodybuilding for women. At one point she was persuaded to try figure competition, but that rarely works for those with real bodybuilding physiques. So she did not continue down that path. As it was, over a nearly 20-year competitive career, Cathy LeFrancois made an important contribution to the history of the sport and earned herself a huge fan base. She eventually relocated to Southern California, where she created a very successful personal training service.

Cathy’s best achievement as a professional was winning the lightweight class at the 2003 Ms. International.

Cathy was an excellent, competitive female bodybuilder. But with a beautiful face and a highly aesthetic physique, she was able to attract the attention of fans who like female muscle but are put off by the mass of some of the modern pros – a situation that also exists in pro bodybuilding for men.

Cathy LeFrancois4-Dobbins copy
Bill Dobbins

When bodybuilders are on stage in a contest they are judged by the very exacting standards of the sport. It is common that the audience is less interested in these technicalities but measures the competitors by their own aesthetic standards. So, their favorites and those of the officials are frequently not the same.

As time goes by and events recede into history, we tend to see them with greater perspective. (Check out the movies that won Academy Awards and the historically important films they beat out.)

But when history records the most beautiful female bodybuilders, of course, women like Cory Everson and Anja Langer will be included.

But so will Cathy LeFrancois.

Cathy LeFrancois5-Dobbins copy
Women with true Bodybuilding physiques rarely benefit by switching to Figure. Bill Dobbins
Cathy LeFrancois6-Dobbins copy
Bill Dobbins

Contest history

  • 2016 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – 3rd
  • 2013 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 10th
  • 2013 IFBB Ms. International – 5th
  • 2012 IFBB Toronto Pro Supershow – 7th
  • 2012 IFBB Ms. International – 4th
  • 2011 IFBB Olympia- 13th
  • 2011 IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships – 1st
  • 2011 IFBB Toronto Pro Super Show – 4th
  • 2011 IFBB FIBO Power Pro Germany
  • 2011 IFBB Ms. International – 6th
  • 2010 IFBB Olympia – 7th
  • 2010 IFBB Europa Battle of Champions – 3rd
  • 2010 IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships – 3rd
  • 2010 NPC Nevada State Championships
  • 2010 IFBB New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships – 1st
  • 2009 IFBB New York Women’s Pro – 1st
  • 2009 IFBB Ms. International – 8th
  • 2008 IFBB Olympia – 6th
  • 2008 New York Pro – 1st · 2008 Ms. International – 6th
  • 2007 Sacramento Pro – 2nd (LW) · 2007 Ms. International – 10th
  • 2006 IFBB Atlantic City Pro Women’s Bodybuilding – 9th
  • 2003 IFBB Ms. Olympia- 4th (LW) · 2003 Ms. International – 1st (LW)
  • 2002 GNC Show of Strength – 2nd (LW) · 2002 Ms. International – 4th (LW) · 2001 Ms. International – 4th (LW) · 2000 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 4th (LW) · 2000 Ms. International – 3rd (LW)
  • 1999 IFBB Women’s Extravaganza – 5th
  • 1999 Jan Tana Classic – 8th · 1999 Ms. International – 19th
  • 1996 Jan Tana Classic – 8th
  • 1996 Ms. International – 14th
  • 1995 CBBF Canada Cup III amateur bodybuilding championship – 1st (MW & overall)
  • 1995 Jan Tana Classic – 12th
  • 1994 CBBF Canadian amateur bodybuilding championship – 2nd (MW)
  • 1993 CBBF Canadian amateur bodybuilding championship – 2nd (LW)
  • 1991 CBBF Easter Canadian amateur bodybuilding championship – 1st (LW)
  • 1990 Québec Métropolitain regional amateur bodybuilding – 2nd