Figure Gallery

Fitness Gallery

Women’s Bodybuilding Gallery

Three champions are crowned at the Arnold Weekend women’s fitness, figure and bodybuilding contests

With two repeat and one brand new champion, the Fitness, Figure and Ms. International, held March 2 in Columbus, Ohio, had a little of everything. In the Fitness International, after multiple runner-up finishes between the International and Fitness Olympia, Kim Klein finally broke through and won her first major fitness title. At the Figure Olympia, Mary Elizabeth Lado won her second title in a row on the Veteran’s Memorial stage. And in the Ms. International, Iris Kyle won for the second year in a row, her third International title overall.

For Klein, it was a breakthrough performance a long time coming. Second at the 2005 and 2006 Fitness Olympia, and second at the 2006 Fitness International behind Adela Garcia, she had proven herself as a top contender, but had yet to put together a confident routine befitting of a champ – until now. Ditching the props and going for a streamlined two – minute presentation, she used her energetic tumbling skills and strength to place her claim to the top spot.

Klein was considering not entering the competition this year. “I was actually very frustrated training for this show,” she said backstage. “But I’m glad I did it. I’m not the type of person who gives up so I kept trying.”

In second, Columbus’ own Jen Hendershott, who, as always, entertained with an innovative routine that had her dressed as a girl scout, even handing out boxes of cookies afterward. This was Hendershott’s final competition, and she is walking away from the sport as one of its greatest champions ever. Garcia, meanwhile, in third, had her usual rockin’ body. Honestly, Garcia or Hendershott could have easily been named champion without argument, as the margin between those two and Klein was razor thin.

As far as the Figure International, Lado’s victory was not unexpected, as she does bring a lean and beautiful physique to the stage – she had improved on her 2006 Olympia condition (she was fifth), but wasn’t quite as strong as her 2006 International win. But all in all, for a sport still struggling for an identity and consistent judging criteria, it’s hard to fathom rhyme or reason why one competitor edges another. Case in point: Valerie Waugaman, who finished fifth despite what probably was the strongest total package onstage. However, until a steady and repeatable criteria emerges, it’ll be hard to decipher the results of figure competitions.

Lado, however, doesn’t need to worry herself too much about judging issues and instead can enjoy her rise to the top of the sport. “Winning for the second time was sweeter after what happened at the Olympia,” she said. “I was really disappointed there. If I had lost, I would have been really down considering I was the defending champion.”

In the Ms. International, Iris Kyle was the main story with her repeat victory, as she edged out former champion Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, who was attempting to become the only four-time winner of the contest. In third was rapidly rising star Heather Policky, who won her pro debut the week prior at the Sacramento Pro and has already established herself as someone to watch in the IFBB.

“Each (win) is meaningful, takes a lot of work and dedication, and takes a lot out of your personal life,” she said. “I really appreciate and respect the sport.” When asked how long her streak of wins could continue, she answered, “I’m young, I’m only 31. Most of the women are older than m … I’ve got some time.”

Be sure to tune in tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, as Flex and present the free webcast of the Arnold Classic men’s competition. Dexter Jackson comes in as two-time defending champ, but will face a loaded lineup that includes Victor Martinez, Phil Heath, and last year’s runner up Branch Warren, among a slew of other great athletes. You can log into the webcast by clicking through the “Arnold” banner at

Figure International
Columbus, Ohio
March 2, 2007
15) Zena Collins
14) Corry Matthews
13) Briana Tindall
12) Deborah Leung
11) Jane Awad
10) Inga Neverauskaite
9) Christine Wan
8) Julie Wallis
7) Chastity Slone
6) Gina Aliotti, $1,000
5) Valerie Waugaman, $2,000
4) Latisha Wilder, $3,000
3) Sonia Adcock, $6,000
2) Amanda Savell, $8,000
1) Mary Elizabeth Lado, $12,000

Fitness International
Columbus, Ohio
March 2, 2007
15) Heidi Fletcher (did not finish)
14) Amy Haddad
13) Bethany Gainey
12) Mindi O’Brien
11) Amy Villa Nelson
10) Angela Monteleone Semsch
9) Hollie Stewart
8) Deborah Czempinski
7) Julie Shipley Childs
6) Tracey Greenwood, $2,000
5) Julie Palmer, $3,000
4) Tanji Johnson, $5,000
3) Adela Garcia, $8,000
2) Jen Hendershott, $10,000
1) Kim Klein, $25,000

Ms. International
Columbus, Ohio
March 2, 2007
16) Suzanne Neiderhauser
15) Rosemary Jennings
14) Colette Nelson
13) Kim Perez
12) Denise Masino
11) Lora Ottenad
10) Cathy LeFrancois
9) Antoinette Norman
8) Bonnie Priest
7) Annie Riveccio
6) Dayana Cadeau, $2,000
5) Betty Pariso, $3,000
4) Lisa Aukland, $5,000
3) Heather Policky, $8,000
2) Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, $12,500
1) Iris Kyle, $25,000