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Women in sports have travelled a long, challenging road. Women’s bodybuilding, in particular, was slowly developed over many years by female pioneers. The sport’s growth has faced many obstacles, including the near elimination of women’s championship shows five years ago.
The decline began in 2013, when the last edition of the Arnold Classic Ms. International was held. For 27 years, that show had been the second most prestigious competition for female bodybuilders, after the world-renowned Ms. Olympia—the sister event to the Mr. Olympia competition, often referred to as the “Super Bowl of bodybuilding”. The demise of the Arnold Classic Ms. International was the first domino to fall in the elimination of women’s bodybuilding shows. The category took another hit with the very last presentation of female bodybuilding and the Ms. Olympia at the 2014 Olympia competition.
But not all hope was lost. Wings of Strength, a bodybuilding promotions company, was passionate about securing competition stages for women. The company began supporting female bodybuilding (WBB) stages in 2009 to promote the inclusion of female athletes at qualifying shows. However, while a few qualifying shows still remained after 2014, the loss of the Ms. Olympia meant the loss of a pinnacle professional goal for female bodybuilders. The athletes of this category aspired to compete at the summit of all bodybuilding—the Olympia. But from the ashes of that show, a new show was destined to be born. In 2015, the new pinnacle of WBB moved from the Olympia stage to the IFBB Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix World Championship.
Wings of Strength helped fill a void left by the disappearance of the Ms. Olympia by offering a world ranking event for women at the Rising Phoenix. The company continues to work with promoters and sponsors to organize qualifying shows that enable all bodybuilders, both male and female, to compete. The Rising Phoenix is currently the only show in the world that features all female athletes across all divisions on stage in a single show. Since its founding, three female World Champions have each won the top prize: a $50,000 check and a brand-new, top of the line iconic American car.
The fifth annual IFBB Wings of Strength Rising Phoenix Women’s World Championship & Arizona Women’s Pro, as well as the inaugural NPC (amateur) addition to this rapidly growing all-female event, will be held on September 7, 2019 in Chandler, Arizona. And, just one week later, the epic Olympia Weekend takes place in nearby Las Vegas. As the 2019 presenting sponsor of the Olympia, Wings of Strength will have a vibrant presence at the event. During the weekend, Wings of Strength will honor their three World Champions, the soon-to-be crowned 2019 champion, and all 12 former Ms. Olympia champions. This historical reunion and celebration of the path female bodybuilders have paved from 1980 to the present is called “Legends & Champions: The Road from Ms. Olympia to the Rising Phoenix.” As the athletes take the Olympia Expo stage, Wings of Strength will be hosting a booth from which to cheer on this legendary assembly of female trailblazers.
This content is sponsored by Wings of Strength.