Thursday, January 5, 2023

Female Bodybuilding, The Early Years :

Female Bodybuilding, The Early Years
Female bodybuilding has been around longer than you might think. According to competitive physical contests female bodybuilders have been competing since the 1960s. Some of the early competitions included the Miss Americana and Miss Physique contests for female bodybuilders. Unfortunately, the early competitions were more in line with beauty contests. Finally, in the late 1970s, the U.S. Women's National Physique Championship highlighted female bodybuilding as the genuine sport it was meant to be.

A few names of recognition in establishing respect for the sport of female bodybuilding include Laura Combes, Rachel McLish, Kike Elomaa and Carla Dunlap. On April, 8th 1980, the National Physique Committee held its first National competition for female bodybuilding women. While seeing Laura Combes win, this event set a precedent for the sport.

Yet another big name female bodybuilding competition was hosted in 19080. The Miss Olympia contest was won by another prominent female bodybuilder by the name of Rachel McLish. The Ms. Olympia contest has grown to become a very prestigious event. Because of the magnitude of the Miss Olympia contest and with Rachal McLish having taken the honors at the National Physique Committee's USA Championship earlier in 1980, she was able to more successfully promote the sport to younger female bodybuilders.

Kike Elomaa was another bright spot in the early years of women's bodybuilding. She stepped up in 1981 to win the Women's Pro World Championship showing that McLish was the only dominant force in female bodybuilding. Although, McLish did stage a comeback and win the Women's Pro World Championship again in 1982.

Although McLish was no longer competing in 1983, the sport found yet another impressive competitor in Carla Dunlap. Dunlap's impressive physical stature raised the bar in training and development for female bodybuilders. Without doubt, Dunlap had more muscle mass than even McLish or Elomaa. The next year saw Cory Everson step into the limelight as she won the NPC Nationals plus,  became the 1984 winner of the Ms. Olympia contest. Proving to be a mainstay in female bodybuilding, Everson went on to win six Ms. Olympia competitions in a row.

Laura Combes, Rachel McLish, Kike Elomaa, Carla Dunlap and Cory Everson were the early pioneers of female bodybuilding. These women should be heralded as the inspiration and continued development of the sport. Each helped toke the sport to a new high. While Combes and McLish popularized it, Dunlap and Everson introduced new levels of training and physical development for female bodybuilders.

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