The 2014 Arnold Sports Festival is underway in Columbus, Ohio and the IFBB pro women kicked things off this morning. The Figure and Fitness International prejudging took place this morning and the finals will be held at 7pm this evening. You can watch the finals LIVE on Bodybuilding.com’s Free webcast.
HARDBODY FIGURE REPORT
The judges have it between defending champion, Candice Keene and last year’s runner-up Heather Dees. Personally, I have Candice Lewis for the win. Candice Keene looked good and since she is the defending champion, I don’t think too many people will baulk at her winning. I’ll be shocked if she’s not crowned the champ for the second year in a row. She presented herself with confidence and had all the details right. Heather Dees came in a bit fuller than last year with a little added size however when she posed she was shaking like a leaf in the Columbus win. I think Heather is a beautiful woman but I wouldn’t have her in the second place spot. Nothing personal, just other physiques that structurally are better and when the little details count, posing should be one.
I am often overly critical of Candice Lewis and it’s because she has so much potential that despite winning numerous shows in 2012 and 2013, it wasn’t until this show that she nailed it. Candice has nice shape, her legs were streamlined and presented a polished look from head to toe. The judges might say her legs are overpowering but I’d disagree on it today. It looks like the judges have her in 4th but it will be close. Camala Rodriquez brought a balance physique and she is strongest from the back. I would have liked to seen her next to Candice Keene for a comparison from behind. It looks like she’ll be in the third place spot. Ann Titone looks good when she stands alone on stage however when you put her next to the other women she starts to fade. She has improved her physique over the years and continues to improve however I think she’ll be in the 5th place spot but could sneak into 4th if the judges favor her to the look Candice Lewis brought.
Gen Strobo brought one of her better physiques to date and I could see her locking in the 6th place spot. She has great delts but her lower body still lacks a bit behind her upper body. Still one of her best showings though and if she snags sixth it would be a score for her.
The rest of the pack. I would have put Elissa Martis a bit higher. I like her look and with a little more stage time she’ll be a contender. Alicia Coates was off her best but will still likely end up in the top ten. Her posing was a bit off, make-up/face didn’t match her physique color and her legs were off from her previous shows. Beautiful girl but not her best showing to date. Ava Cowan will likely be in the 8-10th place range. She’s overcome a lot over the past year and physique wise she was too lean, too muscular and too ripped compared to the other women. It was more of a women’s physique. Look for Allison Frahn, Dana Ambrose and Amanda Doherty to be in the hunt to round out the top ten.
I think the judges will go:
1. Candice Keene
2. Heather Dees
3. Camala Rodriquez
4. Candice Lewis
5. Ann Titone
6. Gen Strobo
I’d have Candice Lewis, Candice Keene and Camala Rodriquez as my top three but it looks like it’s all Candice Keene and then Heather Dees. The tighter race is between Rodiquez, Lewis and Titone for 3-5.
HARDBODY 2-PIECE FITNESS
Bethany Cisternino looks poised to win the two-piece round with Tanji in second. This could flip flop but ultimately it will come down to the routine round. Tanji looks like she’s in the driver’s seat to repeat as the champ if she nails her routine. In the third and fourth place spots you have Trish Warren and Regiane DaSilva. Regiane typically doesn’t end up this high in the two-piece and I was a bit surprised to see her in the first callout. I would have liked to see Danielle Ruban and Oksana Grishina in the mix for the top three. Oksana didn’t come in as hard as previous years and downsized her muscle a bit however the judges didn’t seem to favor it to be in the top four. She could be fifth but also 6 or 7th based on comparisons. I like the shape Danielle Ruban presented she could have been a tad tighter but overall I thought it was a top five look. The judges didn’t see it that but she’ll be one to watch in upcoming shows.
A stand-out to me was Michelle Blank. It’s the best presentation she’s put together from her hair to makeup, presentation and her physique. She wasn’t as conditioned as the other women and faded just a bit but overall it was her best look to date and would have her in the top five. She could sneak in there but likely on the bubble and could end up 6-8th. Whitney Jones might be in the top five and will likely be in the 6-8th spot as well. I’d like to see her work on her posing a bit, especially from the back.
Ryall is scratching to get into that mix as well. Her tan was a little light and yellow looking. She had some issues with her posing suit riding up a bit too high and showed some under boob.
Heading into the routine round I think it looks like this…
1. Bethany Cisternino
2. Tanji Johnson
3. Trish Warren
4. Regiane DaSilva
5. Whitney Jones
6. Oksana Grishina
7. Michelle Blank
8. Ryall Graber
Check out prejudging pics here. Follow on twitter or watch the live webcast tonight!