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Through the summer, 2015 and 2016 Figure Olympia champion Latorya Watts looked to be on track for this year’s title tilt on Sept. 14 and 15. Then, on Sept. 1, a troubling post hit
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M&F: What was the health issue that forced you to drop out of the O?
Watts: I have benign uterine tumors many know as fibroids. I was diagnosed with this condition in 2008. I took most of the year off to give my body the rest it needed, so I was going after this prep like never before. During prep, my symptoms—abnormal bleeding and sometimes pressure in my pelvis—weren’t going away like they usually do, so I knew something was off. I was mentally thrown off my game. I will be moving forward and having surgery to have them removed.
You’ve said that you plan on being back to competition next year. Are you cleared now to train and diet?
Well, I am planning for surgery, and it will be somewhat invasive. I’m hoping for a speedy recovery to train and be at my full potential to compete next season. No confirmed shows as of now. Just focusing on overall health and happiness.
Are there important lessons on health that you’d like to share with other aspiring athletes from this experience?
Yes—listen to your body. Nothing should ever come before your health. It’s OK to slow down the process. It’s OK to take a step back. You’ll come back stronger.
Beyond the stage, what are your hopes and plans heading into 2019?
Aspire to inspire. If I can continue to motivate and be a role model for anyone with hopes and dreams to be the best at their craft, it makes all the hard work and sacrifice worth it.