Steve and BrianWhen it comes to identifying the best of 2012, there are a number of things I can point out, but I think the very best thing this year was how successful Physique Canada was in its inaugural year. Physique Canada was founded in December 2011, but the first contests weren’t until 2012. It is the nation’s newest men’s and women’s physique organization, created to promote only drug-tested events that adhere to WADA-type testing standards – as far as I know, the only organization in Canada that’s structured this way. Physique Canada's president is Brian Robitaille (right side in photo) and the chief judge is Steve Duperré (left). For competitors who don’t want to go down the dark, destructive path that drug use would take them, and who want to compete on a level playing field with other natural athletes, Physique Canada is a godsend.

Physique Canada’s first competition was on June 16: the National Classic. The second was held on October 20: the Canadian Championships. Both events were wildly successful and both showed the enormous excitement that natural competitions bring, and the potential that this competitive path has. Physique Canada rigorously drug-tested both competitions and no one failed – what it showed is that if you put on a great show and make it well known that strict drug-testing will be employed, then only natural competitors will show up and the cheaters will stay home out of fear of getting caught. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Physique Canada also did something else in 2012 that was important: out-of-competition drug testing. I wrote about this a couple of months ago in an article called “Clean Canadians?” In a nutshell, out-of-competition is done before or after events, and is the best way to catch those who try to “beat the tests” come contest day. This is something that, to the best of my knowledge, no other physique organization in this country does. Again, it’s all about keeping that level playing field.

Kim and MichelleKim Chartrand (left), Jennifer Lambert Foster (center), and Michelle Stevens-Manoll

The first out-of-competition tests were done on September 15 – Michele Steeves, Kim Chartrand, and Michelle Stevens-Manoll were each approached and required to provide samples for immediate testing. They all did. There was another out-of-competition test done at the October 20 competition – well-known bodybuilder Denis Pedneault was not competing that day, but because he’s a Physique Tier 1 Elite competitor, he was approached by the doping control officers and tested. The results of the out-of-competition tests were the same as the in-competition ones – no one failed (Physique Canada publishes all results on their website). Seeing all those fine athletes pass the tests, in turn proving their honesty and commitment to drug-free sport, was another great thing about 2012 and a surefire sign that Physique Canada has a strong future ahead.

Michele SteevesMichele Steeves

I’d be remiss not to mention the best competitors of the year. Most notably, Rob DeLuca and Michele Steeves, who both won their respective Tier 1 Elite classes at the National Classic and the Canadian Championships – two-time winners! Then there’s Kim Chartrand, the winner of the Tier 1 Elite women’s athletic physique competition at the Canadian Championships, which was the first time athletic physique was held for that competitive level. Since the athletic physique discipline is so new (only Physique Canada offers it), Kim didn’t get the opportunity to be a two-time winner like Rob and Michele, but she does get the honor of being the nation’s first-ever winner and will go down in the history books for it. Rob, Michele, and Kim – 100 percent clean athletes – are the best physique competitors in Canada right now in their respective disciplines.

Rob DeLucaRob DeLuca

Another of the best things of the year is Denis Pedneault’s ongoing “Body Sculpting” column that appears on this site. Whereas most columns in publications today feature lightweight, mostly irrelevant information, Denis’s column is jam-packed with some of the most advanced, informative training advice available today. It has been going strong for more than five years now, and there appears to be no sign that it will let up!

Finally, another new thing: As grows, so, too, does the popularity of the people we work with and feature on this site, and we want to do more and more to promote them. So 2012 also marks the start of something else: Top Ten Fitness Models of the Year awards. Right now we’re choosing who the top ten will be, and on December 15 we’ll announce the lucky winners by featuring all of them in a special gallery on this site. Check back to see who the best of the year are! After that, keep checking back as we move into 2013 and continue to provide the best online coverage for Canadian physique competitors and enthusiasts.

Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher