Thursday, November 17, 2011

Competition Primer Part VI

Last I left off "between shows", and now I will about "finals" or the "evening show". Remember that all of the comparisons and decisions have been made at the pre-judging; however, if your look changes (and believe me, it can), then the judges can change their minds.

The finals will start with another athlete brief a half hour before the show. This is where they will review the schedule and make changes depending on how smoothly the pre-judging ran.

It is important to attend to hear the changes, and usually they tell you how to contact the head judge if you want feedback on your physique. Here is what the head judge had to say to me in October:

Congratulations on competing in the San Francisco Championships. You looked great!!!!

First of all I just want to say that you have a great physique. You have beautiful muscle, good balance and conditioning and a nice presentation. 

What I think would benefit your placing's would be to bring up your calves and quads. You have these great wide shoulders and they overpower your low body a bit. Bring out the sweep on your outer quad and work on the calve size and you should do better.

Keep up the great work Kristy, you look amazing for any age and phenomenal for over 50!

It is also important to get feedback, if what they tell you is a surprise, then you have some serious reflection to do! We should all be very well aware of what we need to improve on, and if we don't then we have some serious head issues and perhaps need to re-think our coach or trainer. I am quite aware that I need to bring up my quads and calves, I have been for ages. That's why I write about it so much!

At the finals it is quite common in the larger shows to just have the competitors walk out, wave and stand. You really don't get to see much of them, but families and friends tend to go to the finals as they are "glitzier", there is music and an emcee and you get to see the awards being given. 

The judges do want to compare the competitors though, so they will look at them from the front and the back and the sides. It is a lot more relaxed since you just did it hours ago, and you have a feeling where you placed. Everyone looks fabulous huh?

The finals are very similar to the pre-judging but as I mentioned, the expediter will tell you at the briefing what the changes will be and as you stand at the side of the stage, he will explain how you are to come out and pose. If you have only seen finals, you would think there was very little posing or comparison going on, but it really happens at the pre-judging.

One very important award is not yet determined until the finals and that is the "overall". The competitors in this are the 1st place winners in each height category. Not the Masters (although they usually have an overall for the 35 and over), but the "open" or "unlimited". This is all ages, by height.

This is the category you need to place high in to qualify for a National show for the NPC. Placing in the top 5 will qualify you for the Jr. USA's or Team Universe; placing in the top 3 will qualify you for all other National competitions. Qualifications last for one year.

Sometimes you will see a woman go on to Nationals, and then she is back at a local show the following year. There are those who frown upon this and those who don't. One school of thought is if she placed high enough to go to Nationals, then she doesn't belong back at the Locals taking a possible qualification from someone else; or the other thought is she didn't place well enough, so she needs to re-qualify and that is the only way.

I understand the need to re-qualify, but sometimes it can be a bit discouraging.

So this is why many women who compete in an age division such as 35+, 45+ and 50+ will also compete in "unlimited", they want to qualify for Nationals. If you are in a Masters age group, I encourage you to also cross over to the "open". The satisfaction of placing when the other women are half your age is amazing! All of my trophies in the "open" have been much more exciting to me than the Masters trophies. I expect to place in Masters, but not always in Open.

Once you get to the Nationals you can then try to win your pro-card. What does a pro-card get you? You can command a higher price as a trainer or coach, you can compete for cash prizes and you can more easily pick up endorsements. 

At the finals, they will usually call out your group, you all wave and leave very quickly, then they call out the top 5. The top 5 line up and the emcee announces the 5th place, 4th place, 3rd, 2nd and 1st. As each is called out, they move to the appropriate space designated for the place winner, #1 is always in the middle! There is always a pro or previous winner there handing you your trophy and telling you where to stand if you aren't sure. They will place the trophy at your feet, it stays there until a group picture is taken then you can carefully bend down (not over) to pick it up, wave and leave the stage as a group.

The energy backstage during finals is so high, everyone is excited, upbeat and giddy with anticipation. All of the competitors have worked hard for months to get to this point, and the culmination is something not to be missed. 

At my show I had lots of treats for after finals. I finally got to meet two friends whom I had only interacted with on Facebook and this blog! Sakura and Megan! I had actually been in competitions with Megan before but we never met.  Sakura and Megan came to pre-judging and had homemade signs to cheer both me and Maria Adelus on, and they brought us bags and bags of goodies!

Above is S'mores and homemade chocolate dipped pretzels, peanut butter, was overwhelming to meet them and have them bring these special gifts for us! Having them there was special and just the fact that they took time to show their support helps to remind me that I can be an inspiration to others.

My good friend Stacy stopped by prior to my show and had a gift card for Opa!...Everyone knows the way to my heart- food!

After finals, each competitor can stay and watch their friends or leave. I like to sneak out into the audience and scream out their names as loudly as possible. They can hear you! It is very helpful, at least to me to hear people cheering me on, and nothing like the big deep voice shouting "GO MOM!!!" from Cooper.

There is always a famous guest poser at the finals to bring in the muscle heads. This year, and last year at the San Francisco it was Phil Heath. He patiently poses with anyone who asks. Why does he have his hands in a #1??? This is about me, not him!

By the time finals are done it is late, late, late! Some people stay in their hotel, and they may have to if the live far away. Me? I live 45 minutes away from this venue and all I want to do is go home, eat, drink and be clean.....

Champagne, Pinot Noir and a big, juicy, rare cheeseburger on sliced sourdough. Then a very long, hot shower.  

The tanning solution will swirl around your feet, dark and dirty looking and your skin will remain stained for a week or so, not in a bad way, but still tanned a bit. Then into bed, and let me tell you, bed has never felt this good.

The next morning? I was a bit blurry (as you can see so was David I guess) and we enjoy a Ramos Gin Fizz and with the addition of a sparkling wine float it becomes a Diamond Fizz!

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