Written by Chad Nicholls
05 October 2006

            Certainly, 2004 was a year to remember, with lots of ups, downs and crazy goings-on. I've decided to pick some of the events that made an impression on me and share my "rewind" of 2004. In addition, although MD has gone strictly to hardcore men's coverage, it appears from the barrage of e-mails I received cursing me for not covering the women with my Mr. Olympia report, there are many of you who still enjoy the women's side of the sport. For the women- bodybuilding, fitness or figure- isn't easy and it's downright confusing! That said here's the coverage and the scoop you've been waiting for.


            2004 Figure Olympia

            Actually, I found this portion of the Olympia weekend very interesting. I'm the type of person who calls it like I see it, whether an athlete is a friend or someone I'm seeing compete for the first time. I never sugarcoat anything and a major pet peeve of mine is that very few people in the sport will tell an athlete like it is- whether they're afraid of hurting the athlete's feelings or worried about the athlete getting mad. I have found it is far better in the long run to be up front rather than hype someone up or fill someone's head full of crap. Sometimes this doesn't make me very popular, but hey, I think that's the only way to be fair.

            My reason for that little soapbox is this: While I'm calling it like it was that day, I was extremely positive about people I'm usually very critical of, as they stepped up to the plate and delivered. However, people I'm usually in favor of, I ended up being very critical of, as their performances were a little disappointing. So, those who usually are cursing me under their breath are going to be very happy, while those who usually like what I say are now going to be damning me! Oh well!  


1st - DAVANA MEDINA: Davana has never reached the look or level of conditioning she had when she turned pro at the Team Universe and in my opinion, that's the look Figure needs to be about; she was small, in great condition and had good balance, but has not duplicated this look since. She is very complete and has great genetics  from the waist down, as well as decent structure, nicely shaped legs and a good glute/hamstring tie-in. However, her downfall is from the waist up. I think the most glaring flaw is within her core area. Her abdominals are extremely shallow. This is probably a genetic thing because she's lean and tight in that area, yet doesn't possess a nicely chiseled six-pack. Because of this, her midsection isn't very impressive looking and upon first glance, you really cannot tell whether or not she's in shape, as most people have a tendency to focus on the abdominal region first, then look at the rest of the physique. Though she has a trim waist, it's not what you would call tiny. If she could add a little fullness to her shoulders, arms and lats, this would give her the appearance of a better V-taper.

            All weekend long I heard ridiculous rumors about how much she paid for her suits. Three different people told me three different prices and from the beginning of the weekend to the end, her suits went from $6,000 to $8,000 to a whopping $12,000.  My response: Anything over $1,000- she got f*@#ed! And in actuality, the suits were probably half the problem with her overall look. Her two-piece was very nice and looked good on her and flowed well with her lines; her one-piece, to be blunt, was shit! It didn't look good on her, wasn't cut right for her and the color (cream) is awful for competition no matter how tan you are. If she did pay whatever the rumors purported, I feel sorry for her because for that money Versace or Vera Wang would've made her suits! And Davana, you are the Figure Olympia Champ; you shouldn't be paying for your suits! I don't know of a single suit maker that doesn't give someone of that status their suits, if not at least discount them drastically, just so a Mr. or Ms. Olympia will wear them- it's free advertising! So, for us to believe that is asinine and for someone to think those suits were worth $12,000 is completely ridiculous. Whatever the situation, I'd be looking for a different suit maker!

            In addition to needing different suits, I truly believe she needs a lot of work on presentation and how she carries herself onstage. An Olympia Champion needs to look confident and polished, as well as command the stage. Davana seemed awkward in her presentation and I don't feel she utilized her quarter turns to show off her physique as best she could.

            When she's in shape (Team Universe and 2003 Figure Olympia), Davana has a great look. My favorite was the Team Universe- she was small and lean and looked exactly right for Figure. With all this in mind, at this years' Figure Olympia, Davana Medina in first place would not have been my call. Personally, I would have had her in third. The downsize of 20 percent across the board in the women's side of the sport would put Davana in a good position; bring her back to the look of the Team Universe and I would have no problem with her winning the Olympia.


2nd - JENNY LYNN: Anyone who has read my figure critiques knows I'm probably Jenny Lynn's toughest critic. I don't think she will ever be able to overcome the look of the front of her leg since it's genetic, but she is improving slightly in this area. This is nothing against Jenny as a person- she's very nice. Now that I've said this, I must also say, however, that this was the best Jenny Lynn has ever looked by far and she should have won the figure Olympia 2004 hands down. For me to say this about Jenny is a big statement.

            Jenny showed up at the Figure Olympia very tight and her legs were in the best shape, to date, that I have seen from her. Jenny always has a very small waist; I probably would have guessed it to be around 22 inches at the figure Olympia, which really accentuated her V-taper. She also appeared to have improved her upper body width, which over-exaggerated the look of her waist even more. Jenny was blessed with wide shoulders and although she doesn't have a large amount of muscle on her back, it gets extremely lean, which gives her the illusion of a more muscular back. But for Figure, I don't think it should be about muscle. I think it should be more about conditioning and the shape of the muscle and structure/balance of the physique.  Some of the girls are getting way too big and way too muscular. At this show, I think Jenny had just the right combination of just enough muscle and just enough conditioning. 

            There's one thing I have always complimented Jenny on and that is she always pays attention to her suit cut. She always has the most flattering suits- not just the colors and the way they're embellished, but the cuts. Many girls need to take a cue from Jenny with regard to this. Especially in her one-piece, the cut of her suits always over-emphasizes her upper body width and small waist, making her stand out immediately. A great suit will also take one's eyes away from weaknesses and put the focus on strengths of the physique. Jenny fully utilizes this weapon.

            Jenny is also great at her quarter turns and presenting her physique to its full potential with poise and confidence. When you put all these aspects together and weigh them against Davana, I just don't see how Jenny didn't win the show.


3rd - MONICA BRANT: I have always been a fan of Monica's and like her overall look.  At the Figure Olympia, I thought Monica looked good, but it definitely wasn't the best I've seen of her.  I personally like Monica's physique when she's lean. I think her conditioning and the separation of her physique ties together perfectly from top to bottom when she's ultra lean. With Figure, I think Monica is fighting a catch 22 situation. If she comes in lean, which I feel is the best look for her, the judges don't like that her face gets too lean, as well. However, when she comes in with a full face, her body doesn't look as good. She is also fighting what's hard to figure out in this side of the sport and that is the fact that it's okay for some girls to come to a show soft and others as lean as they can get. 

            Although Monica was a little softer, I still think she looked good and I would have personally had her second behind Jenny. Her suits were much better than in the past. I heard from several people that they didn't like the way her hair looked.  Although I don't think that is enough to place her down for, I know it's about the overall presentation, including hair and makeup. If we're going to go there, I do like her hair when it's longer and more flowing looking- not overdone and over-styled. These are all personal preferences, however, and like I said, I don't think enough to push her into third place. 

So, my picks for the figure Olympia would have been Jenny Lynn first, Monica Brant second and Davana Medina third.


4th - JAIME FRANKLIN: I'm not really a big fan of her look. In addition to that, she doesn't really fit the mold of the other girls placing in the top spots who all have a nice roundness and curviness to their physiques. Jaime is extremely lean- much leaner than the rest of the girls- a little bowlegged and very flat in the glute area. Although she does have a more completed look than some- meaning her conditioning is even and matches from top to bottom and in terms of size, her upper body and lower body are in proportion- she just doesn't seem to fit the mold of what the judges seem to be leaning toward enough to garner a top-five finish, in my opinion. In this lineup she just appeared to be the odd one out. This goes back to my point about how it's okay for some to be very lean and others not. 


5th - AMBER LITTLEJOHN: To me, she's completely off the chart in terms of matching the rest of the girls in the top spots. She literally appears to be twice the size of the rest of the girls in the lineup and as one of the taller girls in Figure, she's always going to appear larger. But aside from her height, she's just twice as muscular as everyone. Her legs are very deeply separated and from what I've been told, the judges don't want this or almost bulky-looking muscle compared to the rest of the girls. Yet, somehow she manages to continue to move up. I remember only a year ago she placed close to last at the Arnold Classic with a look more suited for Figure and now that she's bigger, more muscular and even more out of place, she's in the top five of the Figure Olympia!

            Don't get me wrong, she has built a great physique and it's a nice look, but from what I understand of the criteria for Figure, she's all wrong and much too big.  She may be one of the girls they're speaking of with regard to the 20 percent downsize, who knows. I don't know what she weighed exactly at the Olympia; I would guess around 140. That said, she doesn't have 20 percent to lose, but 20 pounds of muscle to lose, just to match the look of the top girls being placed within the sport. 

            Another surprise and someone I had been very critical of in the past was Mari Kudla. At this show, I thought she had actually improved her overall muscle balance, as well as trimmed her waist down a little with good conditioning. To me, she looked much better than in previous showings and placed a few spots out of the top five, whereas in other shows she didn't look as good and placed much higher. This, along with lower placements of a few other girls who usually are right in the running, is just more evidence that Figure is as confusing as ever!


2004 Fitness Olympia

            With the retirement of Susie Curry and the pre-Olympia buzz, this show was set to be a battle between Kelly Ryan and Adela Friedmansky. With Adela having the dominant physique and Kelly possessing the dominant routine, the outcome should have been close with only points separating the champion. Unfortunately, it didn't come down to this battle. 

            During the Olympia weekend, a friend of ours was in Vegas on vacation. The day/night of the Fitness Olympia, he didn't have set plans, so I gave him a ticket to the show. My reason for this: He is not only a gymnastics instructor, but also a gymnastics and aerobics competition judge, and I wanted to see his take on how he thought the routines should be scored, since both gymnastics and aerobics competitions have set scoring scales with deductions for every single detail, rather than a straight score of first, second, third and so on, like in the NPC/IFBB.

            I found his insight very interesting and valued his comments. Although it's hard to compare a gymnastics routine to fitness, it's very easy to argue the closeness and similarities between the modern aerobics competitions and the fitness routines. He even noted the closeness of many of the strength and flexibility moves to those of aerobics championships and that with the mandatory requirements in the 45 second routine, he was shocked to find out there was no set point and deduction system with regard to the form and execution of the mandatory moves. 

            I asked him how he would have scored the routine rounds and out of the 14 girls competing, he mentioned five girls' routines that stood out to him in both the 45- second and two-minute rounds: Kelly Ryan, Jen Henderschott, Stacy Hylton, Tanji Johnson and Klaudia Kinska- in that order. He likened Kelly's routines to those of a true gymnast and "showman," noting tremendous execution and form, as well as entertainment value. He said she should easily have won both the fitness rounds.  With regard to Jen Henderschott, he liked her energy, leaps and jumps and compared her routines to that of competition dance and cheerleading squads. Concerning Stacy, Tanji and Klaudia's routines, he felt they all had similar skill and gymnastics levels and that their routines were well executed and interesting to watch, but felt that Klaudia had much better potential than she showed in her routines. 

             I asked him about Adela, you know the girl who won the show? He truthfully told me he didn't have her placed in the top five routines and although her routines were "cute" and you could tell she truly worked hard on her presentation, the skill levels and showmanship just weren't on par with the routines of the girls he picked. 

              He explained that it was very difficult to judge the routines the way that the IFBB does. In both gymnastics and aerobics championships, the routines are judged on a point and deduction system and he couldn't believe that's not how the routines were judged. With the point and deduction system, the judge focuses only on how the athlete executes her routine and how she personally performs. For each flaw, a slight deduction is taken from the score and highest overall score wins. 

What made Fitness difficult was that he not only had to score the individual's routine, but score it against other competitors. It was tough trying to weigh routine number one against routines number two, three and so on, all the way through 14.    Although this coach/judge has no bearing on the scores, I just felt his perspective was interesting and shed a little light onto the subject of how many spectators and fellow competitors feel about the scoring system.

            Now that all this routine mumbo jumbo is out of the way, we can focus on what I feel is the primary goal of Fitness and that is creating a flawless physique. To me, the routine is the icing on the cake, but the physique is the meat and potatoes.
            Kelly Ryan made tremendous improvements and changes to her physique during the last year and although she wasn't rewarded for them at the 2004 Ms. International Fitness, I thought maybe this time around, looking even better, she would be rewarded. Instead, she was basically almost penalized in that she placed extremely low in the physique rounds. I was told she was too small by some and now that we have the letter telling all women- Bodybuilding, Figure and Fitness- to trim down 20 percent, I just have to toss my hands up and shake my head, especially when Jen Henderschott, who had a great routine, but is sporting almost a bodybuilding physique, is placing above smaller girls in the physique rounds. No matter what the outcome, this Fitness Olympia was filled with questions and controversy.


1st - Adela Friedmansky - First, Kim and I would like to congratulate Adela. We know she's been working long and hard for this and it's a great accomplishment for her.  Physique-wise, I thought Adela looked good, but I didn't think she was as lean as she had been in the past. Personally, I like her physique a little tighter, but overall with the balance of her physique, she easily wins the rounds. 

            However, this weekend the controversy stems from her placement in the routine rounds. Many people I spoke with were very disappointed that her routines placed third, because there are many other girls who have higher skill and gymnastics levels than Adela that placed behind her in both the 45 second and two- minute routine rounds. However, I feel she has been moving up the ladder because her routines are very clean and she doesn't try to perform stunts she cannot perform without 100 percent precision. Adela always seems to improve her performances, so even though some have higher difficulty levels, Adela is constantly giving better and better performances. As long as there's really no explanation as to how the judges score the routines, with no deduction scale or set criteria other than "I liked this routine better than that one," controversy and questions are always going to surround the Fitness rounds. Bottom line is that in addition to having a fantastic physique that day, the judges liked Adela's routines and this is what won her the title.


2nd - Jen Henderschott: I've always thought Jen was a little too muscular for fitness. However, I think she's done this in order to hide certain physique flaws. Usually, her legs are in balance with her upper body, but this time around, they appeared much smaller in comparison to her upper body and to me, that completely threw off the flow of her physique. This almost gave her a "barrel-chested" look. What I found strange is that although she was very muscular with a balanced look before, she placed very low, and this time around she was very muscular with smaller legs and placed fairly high in the physique rounds. I think the reward in these rounds was with regard to her level of muscularity and conditioning. 

            Jen's routines are always good. Although I don't feel they're as good as Kelly Ryan's, her energy level is off the hook and she is always very creative in her theme.  She did a few things I felt were over the top this time around, but still creative. That said, I still feel she should have placed second in the routine rounds. Second place overall, above Kelly, I felt was questionable, but that's where the scores fell.


3rd - Kelly Ryan: Kelly was the most complete all around in the show. She had a very much improved physique and of course, her routines are always the best. With this in mind, you have to ask the question: Is Kelly's combination of physique and routine good enough to win the show? For me, the answer is a definite yes. I make this statement even being the strong proponent I am of the physique. Although I don't think she had the best physique in the show, I felt it should have placed no lower than second to Adela. It's just hard to argue that Kelly Ryan loses a fitness show when you take into consideration the complete fitness package, which of course is physique and routine. I'm sure Kelly is just as confused as ever as to what she needs to do to win the title.

            I must also mention and congratulations to Tracey Greenwood on her fifth place finish at the Olympia! Not only is a top-five finish a fantastic accomplishment for anyone, but Tracey did a great job and showed just how dedicated an athlete she is to continue her Olympia quest after she suffered a potentially show-stopping shoulder injury only weeks before at the GNC Show of Strength. This is the kind of warrior attitude I like and shows just how great a competitor she is.


Ms. Olympia 2004

            Women's bodybuilding has basically gone crazy. As soon as this year's Overall Ms. Olympia was crowned (Iris Kyle), the Haterade was being poured and toasts were being made all over the Internet!  The words "women's bodybuilding is dead" and "women's bodybuilding was over" were posted everywhere. 

            This year's Olympia was a heavyweight battle between eight-time Ms. Olympia, Lenda Murray, and Iris Kyle. It's always a tough battle with these two, as they are very different physiques, with similar qualities at the same time. They are both structurally good, but Lenda is structurally great in comparison. The only difference is that Iris did what she felt she had to do in order to beat Lenda and that was outmuscle and out- condition Lenda. Obviously, she did such a good job that she did win over Lenda. 

Unfortunately, to the fans and the public, it was a bit over the top and not what they wanted to see from a Ms. Olympia. I worked with Lenda, so obviously I'm going to root for Lenda. However, even if I didn't work with her, I still would feel that Lenda presented a good enough package to win the show- and I don't think a single person would have complained. Lenda just has a great overall look. The judges I spoke to said they felt Lenda lost a little too much size in her legs and that for reason of default, they just felt they couldn't give it to Lenda, so they gave it to Iris. I still felt they could have given the show to Lenda, which would have easily conveyed the message sent in the 20 percent downsize letter. It's just confusing.

            As a side note, I feel badly for Iris. Here she is finally the Overall Ms. Olympia Champion and is made to feel badly about it. As I said, I don't really think Iris wants to be that muscular and that hard, but I think it was a situation of doing whatever it takes to win. 

            Now that this has happened, it will be interesting to see which direction women's bodybuilding will go in during 2005. Will we see a very small Anja Schreiner-type of physique winning shows, leaving the fans crying for more muscle and then three to five years down the road, we're back to this same situation? Or will this really be the end of the female side of the sport? I truly think the women's side of bodybuilding can remain and stay strong. But if a set criteria is made, it has to be followed and more importantly, enforced, every single time. If this message is sent out over and over again, I think the girls will finally understand what's acceptable and what is not in terms of muscularity.    

             That said, I think Iris was the biggest and hardest she's ever been, possibly the biggest and hardest anyone has ever been. Although I have great respect for the amount of work it took to get to that level of muscularity and conditioning and great respect for how awesome that type of detail is to look at, I think it was a little too much for women's bodybuilding- and I can't believe I am actually saying it- but even I have my limits. I guess what I'm trying to say is that some girls can be bone dry and absolutely look like anatomy charts and have it look good; I just don't think Iris needs to be that extreme to win or to be a great bodybuilder. I just felt she needed to be more complete through the back area and she needs to trim her waist; maybe she should go back to that. So, what does Iris do now? It will be interesting to see if she tapers back down or continues on this same path.

            Lenda looked incredible, in my opinion, and I felt she still should have won.  Her legs may have been down a little in size, but I don't think it was enough to lose the class. I'm still scratching my head, especially now that the 20 percent reduction of muscle letter has reared its head. I don't know if Lenda will compete or not next year, but I know she is pretty disappointed with the outcome of the 2004 Olympia.

            With regard to the lightweights, Dayana Cadeau won the class even though she was, in my opinion, very over-dieted. Her muscle just didn't pop like it did when she made her fantastic appearance at the 2004 Ms. International. At this Ms. Olympia, she was very lean, but her muscle didn't look alive or healthy like it did at the International. I truly think Dayana won the class that day as she was really still the best of the lot. There really were no true standouts in the lightweight class. I think it's fair to say there was really no excitement at all in lightweights. Not that there couldn't be, as there are many girls with fantastic potential- Dayana, Nancy Lewis and Joanna Thomas all have fantastic genetics. If these girls were all in great shape, it could be a great battle.

            In reality, the heavyweights still hold the excitement and the prestige in the sport, no matter how you slice it. With this in mind, I think the IFBB should shitcan the whole weight class scenario and go back to one class. There's one class with the men, Fitness and Figure; let's get the women back to this! 

            When you think about it, the weight classes were implemented as a tactic to keep the women from getting too big. It worked for about the first year, as it forced the girls to stay within their "frame" limits as smaller competitors with regard to height and weight. But now, here we are a few years later and the lightweight girls with the exception of a couple here and there aren't in good shape and aren't making the impact they could. These girls are coming to the shows just as big, if not bigger, in comparison to some of the heavyweights, so there goes the size cap. My suggestion: Enforce the downsize request, penalize the girls you feel are too big and too extreme, be consistent with it and the rest will fall into place.

            As you can see, all three of the women's sports are in uproar and confusing.  Hopefully, 2005 will shine a brighter light for all sides and bring some calm to the storm.


Rewind: 2004 in Review

            Everyone thinks the world of bodybuilding is a wild and crazy place, but really it's our world as a whole that's crazy and wild and this point is made evident everyday within our headlines and news. One of my favorite series of happenings during 2004 is the fact that although yes, we did capture the rat in the hole- Saddam Hussein-  we are still unable to find Osama Bin Laden, yet we were able to capture and sentence that notorious criminal and gangster, Martha Stewart! Come on people- with all that's going on in the world we waste time, effort and tax payer money over Martha Stewart when there are so many horrific acts and crimes that are far worse being committed in the world! Here are more notable events that took place during 2004; some wacky, some not and some within our own industry:


  • Kicking off the New Year was the Janet Jackson Shocker. She's been in the spotlight her entire life, but her nipple made its television debut at the Super Bowl, spawning an FCC get-tough crusade against profanity within the television and radio industry! The aftermath of this little stunt affects the careers of Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern and many others.


  • The 2004 BALCO Laboratories scandal is running full force and the backlash stems off into our industry with a spree of DEA investigations, subpoenas at the Arnold Classic weekend and final indictment subpoenas handed out at the Olympia weekend. The cherry on top of this sundae had to be when Victor Conte went on "20/20" basically to say, if I'm going down, I'm taking everyone with me. And how priceless was it when he mentioned that he had created the most sophisticated supplement schedule in the history of sports, yet it was hand-scribbled on a calendar. Now, that's sophistication for you!


  • Dexter Jackson walks away with the Iron at the 2004 Ironman- no surprise here!


  • An extremely trimmed down Jay Cutler enjoys a controversial upset of a very tough and ready Chris Cormier during the 2004 Arnold, driving home his third Hummer. Upset is also probably a good description of how Governor Arnold himself felt knowing the DEA was knocking on doors and handing out subpoenas at the show bearing his namesake!


*John Kerry grabs the Democratic Party nomination and rather than campaigning for the presidency, pretty much begins a yearlong campaign telling the story of what he did in Vietnam and explaining that he truly deserved his three Purple Hearts.


  • 2004 marked the end of an IFBB era: It was the last year for the NOC (Night of Champions)- and Melvin Anthony is the winner of the final NOC ring. Wayne DeMilia is ousted from the IFBB. Jim Manion is named his successor and Weider/AMI takes over the production of the Mr. Olympia competition.


  • Rumors fly soon after Weider/AMI takes over the production of the Mr. Olympia with the announcement of the creation of the "Challenge Round." Within hours the rumor that this round was created to break Ronnie's string of victories was burning up the phone lines and the Internet.


  • 2004 marked the passing of gentle giant and founder of Nuclear Nutrition and "Beyond Failure Training," Trevor Smith. Rest in peace, my friend, you were one of the "genuine" people in our sport!


  • The world is in an uproar over the inhumane treatment and images of Iraqi prisoners being leashed like dogs and formed into naked human pyramids.


  • Al-Qaeda answers back with a series of barbaric, graphic and unforgivable beheadings of not only an American, but other foreigners living within Iraqi borders.


  • Paul Hamm gives the performance of his life to come back from twelfth place in the all-around of the Olympic gymnastics competition, winning the gold medal only to be asked to give it back due to "judging error." Fortunately, after a hearing, Paul was allowed to keep his medal. I must comment, though. Why should Paul give back the medal when he was not the one in error. Even more evident that he deserved the medal was that at the gymnastics exhibition at the end of the games, Paul performed the routine in question flawlessly, while the Korean athlete bobbled and fell. Enough said!


  • The low-carb diet craze. All this diet did was load people up on cholesterol and fat, give them headaches and zap their energy, but most importantly, it destroyed my Krispy Kreme stock! Please go buy Krispy Kreme!


  • Over the last couple of years, the GNC Show of Strength was touted as the show second only to the Arnold Classic. Then, only days after the contracts were signed, the reported $100,000 first prize for the men was basically reduced to nothing, making the GNC just another bodybuilding show.


  • Prize money. This seemed to be a big problem in ‘04- either cutting it or not paying it at all. Hopefully, 2005 will implement new policies and enforcement of promoters with their prize money!


  • Mike Matarazzo undergoes bypass surgery and comes through with flying colors! Here is to a quick and full recovery Mike; take care!


  • I thought the Cardinals were going to rock all the way through to a 2004 World Series Championship, but the Red Sox put a stop to that in incredible fashion and finally lifted the curse of the Bambino!


  • Speaking of baseball and the controversy with Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and others, the world can't believe that baseball players take steroids! Imagine that- pro athletes actually taking something to enhance their potential because that's what the fans want to see- the best athletes in the world performing unattainable feats!


  • Ronnie Coleman shows up to the Mr. Olympia and is 15 pounds heavier than the year before and the infamous "Challenge Round" creates no challenge for Ronnie! The only challenge left is to guess how many Sandows Ronnie wants on his mantle!


  • Lenda Murray is shut down from a ninth and record-breaking Ms. Olympia title in a controversial loss to Iris Kyle. Soon after Iris' victory, the IFBB women are sent a letter stating a 20 percent size reduction for all women to be effective immediately.


  • Four more years of President Bush. I thought the best thing to come out of the presidential race was the "Jib Jab" website parody "This Land" poking fun at President Bush and Senator Kerry! If you haven't seen it, go to http://www.jibjab.com/; it's a classic!


  • A crazy year came to a crazy end with the Pacers and Pistons brawling with the fans in the stands. Four players end up suspended and images of children's heroes are shattered.


  • The horrific tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands ended the year, but began a chain of natural disasters that continues into the New Year. With mudslides, flooding, the recent avalanche in Utah and of course, the series of hurricanes to wreck and ravage Florida in 2004, it makes you wonder if God is trying to get our attention!


              I truly feel for the victims of the tsunami and all the horrible disasters that have happened during the last year. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm sure there are many other happenings I have missed, but these were some of the highlights and happenings that stuck in my mind. Of all of them, the most important was a major milestone within my own family- the first birthday of my son Dominic. At about the same time he began to walk. What a wonder and miracle of life he is and when all this craziness comes down and with all the fighting and complaining within our own industry, let alone our own planet, all I have to do is look to Dominic and it brings me back to the reality that none of that craziness matters. My family is what matters and keeping Dominic safe and on a good path and helping him grow up to be a good person is what matters.

            Thanks to all of you who continue to read my column and who frequent and make http://www.musclemayhem.com/ great! We have a lot of great things planned for you.