NPC USA Championships Preview: Figure & Bikini

July 22, 2011


If you’ve been to a contest in the past couple years, then you likely noticed that the ladies are starting to take over. The figure and bikini divisions combined will feature nearly half of the total competitors at this year’s NPC USA Championships.

Picking favorites out of nearly 300 ladies is no easy task; especially at the ultra-competitive NPC USA. The only thing we know is that some familiar faces will finally reach the top and some new faces will make a lasting impression.

IFBB Professional status will be awarded to the winners of each class in both figure and bikini (6 height classes in each division). Here are 5 ladies from figure and five from bikini that have a good chance to leave Vegas an IFBB Pro.

1. Alicia Rankovic: She placed second at the 2010 NPC USA and third at the 2010 NPC Nationals. The only way she can make 2011 a better year is with a win and a pro-card.

2. Irina Kiselev: She improved on a fourth place finish at last year’s USA with a class win at the 2011 Arnold Amateur. Now she returns to Vegas looking to make it two wins in a row.

3. Michelle Beck: Going back to 2010, Michelle has placed third in three National-level contests, including this year’s Team Universe. In Vegas, she’ll have to move to first if she wants to leave an IFBB Pro.

4. Kalani Barber: She’s placed in the Top-5 at four National-level contests in the past three years. Her best showing to date was at last year’s NPC USA and she’ll look for a new best this time around.

5. Sahsa Brown: She won the 2011 NPC Southern Cal and then grabbed fourth at the NPC Team Universe. Sasha is hoping a return to the west coast will mean a return to first.

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1. Alex Zerega: This familiar face won the 2010 FLEX Bikini Model Search and has since graced the pages of FLEX and M&F Hers. Alex most recently placed fourth at the 2011 NPC Jr. Nationals.

2. Whitney Wiser: She’s had as a good of a season as possible without turning pro; Whitney’s already won her class at both the 2011 NPC Jr. USA and NPC Jr. Nationals. If she can win in Vegas, a pro card is guaranteed!

3. Lee Ann Silva: She came close to winning a pro card at the NPC Team Universe with a third place finish. A few weeks of work in between shows might be just what she needs to leap into first.

4. Michelle Tarjcak: She started off the year with a win a the FLEX Pro Bikini Model Search and went on to win the overall at the NPC West Coast Classic. Now Michelle looks to take her winning ways to the national level.

5. Courtney Prather: She placed a very close second at the FLEX Pro Bikini Model search and went on to place fifth at the NPC Jr. Nationals. Courtney will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing showing at the NPC Team Universe earlier this month.

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Check out FLEXonline all week for the most in-depth coverage of the NPC USA Championships on July 29-30 in Las Vegas! FLEXonline is the only place you’ll see backstage coverage during the entire contest. Stay tuned for the figure & bikini “5 to Watch” tomorrow and the light-heavyweight men on Monday! The previews will continue all week until we are live from Las Vegas (next Thursday) with exclusive weigh-in photos!

WHAT: 2011 NPC USA Championships
WHERE: Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, Las Vegas, NV
WHEN: Friday & Saturday, July 29-30, 2011
TIME: Prejudging at 4:30pm on Friday & 9:00am on Saturday; All Finals at 6:00pm Saturday!!!