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Muscle Sport Magazine

The Maturation of the IFBB/NPC Bikini Division

In just a period of five short years, the IFBB bikini division has underwent a few transformations, albeit ones of the subtle variety that may have flown under the radar. But when you sit back and do even a visible comparison of the competitors, it is easier to see how their physiques have changed.

It made its inaugural appearance at the professional level in 2010 and the winner of that year’s Bikini Olympia was Sonia Gonzales. Although she looked amazing, her physique lacked muscle and her abs were barely visible.Bikini Ass Hot

A year later, the Arnold Classic added the Bikini International and Nicole Nagrani took first place, as she also did a few months later at the 2011 Olympia. The then-19-year-old had even less muscle tone than her predecessor and – at the time – was said to be setting the trend for the future of the division.

Even when Gonzales bounced back to take the 2012 Bikini International, that look seemed to have stayed as the preferred one. This fueled the criticism that some bodybuilding purists shared that bikini did not belong on the schedule and the competitors did not even lift weights, but rather were ‘cardio bunnies.’

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“Within the bikini division, you have girls who look as though they’ve never worked out, girls who obviously train hard as hell, and then everything in between,” says IFBB pro Kristal Umana, who competed and earned her pro card known by her maiden name Martin. “Bikini competitions are weighed heavily on stage presentation, which often overshadows the athleticism many women have worked so hard to achieve.

“It’s easy to overlook the long hours in the gym and the discipline when the audience is instead entertained by sexy hip shaking and hair tossing,” Umana continues. “I think when done right, bikini competitions should be a perfect balance of muscle definition combined with confidence and class on stage.”bikini2011nypro

Perhaps some of that began to show when Nathalia Melo was crowned the winner of the 2012 Bikini Olympia. The Brazilian bested a deep line-up that included both previous winners Nagrani and Gonzales, who placed second and sixth, respectively. Melo brought an impressive package that included detailed abs and the rest of her physique held much more muscle than what had been rewarded before.

The following March, Melo placed second to India Paulino at the Bikini International. Paulino, who was the previous year’s runner-up to Gonzales, came in a little harder than before but still did not have as much definition as Melo. In third place, Nagrani also put on more muscle and regardless of the placing, may have looked her finest ever.

Ashley Kaltwasser became the fourth winner of the Bikini Olympia in 2013 and since then has been the division’s top competitor. Her physique has improved each time out, showing more definition and muscle at both the 2014 Bikini International and Olympia, two shows she won against stiff competition.

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She became the first two-time winner in Bikini Olympia history and has paved the way for how future shows will be judged, something that Umana feels is for the better for the overall growth of the division.

“I do believe that both the NPC and IFBB should be promoting women who have muscle tone and athleticism over the pageant-type look,” she comments. “At the end of the day, these contests are at bodybuilding shows, not local swimsuit platform stages. So they should be judged based more on the athletic physique and rewarded accordingly.”

With the likes of Nathalia Melo and Ashley Kaltwasser taking home the winner’s check, it appears that is certainly the case.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: "Rigged" Contests, Assault, Extortion, Tax Fraud Lawsuit Filed Against Manion, NPC | Muscle Sport Magazine

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