Nadine Williams (Young)Traditionally, physique competitions have been dominated by men. But since about the year 2000, the number of women competing has consistently being creeping up by so many that, today, women competing usually outnumber the men by two to one! As a result, we thought it fitting to dedicate more coverage to these iron women, since they certainly deserve as much exposure as the men. This article highlights some of the women who competed successfully at the recent Physique Canada National Classic held on June 16 at the beautiful Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

One of the most popular Canadian women competing today is Nadine Williams (formerly Young, shown right), who is featured on our cover this month and in our "Hot Shots" gallery, and also in the current issue of Oxygen. Nadine is not only very popular with the public – she's also a highly accomplished competitor. Most recently, Nadine took the runner-up spot in the Tier 1 Elite muscular physique category at the Physique Canada National Classic (Physique Canada's women's muscular physique discipline is what other organizations typically call figure). Nadine was also the second runner-up in the Elite Pro division at the SAF Summer Spectacular, which was held the same day in the same location. SAF is a fitness-modeling organization, while Physique Canada concerns itself mostly with muscle-building, so Nadine's strong performance in both proves that even very muscular women like Nadine can compete successfully in a variety of competitions and organizations if they have the right overall look.

Michele Steeves, who I wrote about last month, also deserves heaps of praise. She went into the National Classic with no real expectations and emerged the winner of the Tier 1 Elite women's muscular physique category – a real triumph when you're up against topnotch competitors such as Nadine. Obviously, Michele was thrilled with the result and can be justifiably proud of her accomplishment. What's more, she also goes down in the history books as Physique Canada's first ever Tier 1 Elite women's muscular physique winner. Emily MichelussiMichele will be returning to the Physique Canada stage in the fall for the Canadian Championships, which will be held on October 20, once again at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Another top competitor who really made an impact this year is Emily Michelussi (shown left). Emily turned heads when she competed in the Elite Pro division at the SAF Summer Spectacular, where she achieved a very respectable fourth-place finish. Afterwards, she went on to win the Tier 2-level muscular physique tall-class title in the National Classic. Emily is only 23 years of age, but she is bursting with potential and we feel she has a very bright future ahead of her. Another big Tier 2 winner at the National Classic was Tammy Carter – she was the women's muscular physique short-class winner. What's remarkable about Tammy is that she's over 40 years of age. Emily's and Tammy's wins qualified them for Physique Tier 1 Elite status, which allows them to compete against Michele, Nadine, and the other Physique Canada Tier 1 Elite athletes in the fall and in future years.

Physique Canada's women's athletic physique discipline is brand new, so there were no Tier 1 Elite winners at the National Classic. (In this discipline, the judges look for an athletic physique, but with less muscle than is necessary in the women's muscular physique discipline.) Michelle ManollBut the tremendous success of women's athletic physique in the Tier 2 and 3 levels at the National Classic guarantees that it will be incredibly popular at future Physique Canada events. Michelle MacDonald and Michelle Manoll (shown right) were the respective winners in the short and tall categories of the Tier 2 competitions and are now qualified for Tier 1 Elite status (along with the second- and third-place finishers in each height class). The first ever Tier 1 Elite women's athletic physique competition will be held at the Physique Canada Canadian Championships.

If 20 years ago someone had said that women would outnumber men at physique competitions, people would probably have laughed at them. But that's precisely what's happened – and we couldn't be happier about it. Our congratulations go out not only to the women we featured in this article, but also to every woman who competed at the Physique Canada National Classic. Look for more great coverage of Canada's best female physique competitors as we now start to move into the fall.

. . . Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher