Saturday, June 14, 2014, was a big day for physique sports in Canada and it all took place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. First, there was the SAF Summer Spectacular which ran from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, then the Physique Canada National Classic began at 5:30 pm.

SAF, which stands for Serious About Fitness, is an eight-year-old, all-women’s fitness-modeling organization that I run. Physique Canada, which I’m also involved in, is in its third year of operation and it incorporates men’s and women’s classes with three main competitive levels: Tier 1 Elite, Tier 2, and Tier 3. There are also masters classes, which are outside the tier system and are for competitors over 40 years of age.

Physique Canada’s Tier 3 level is for novice competitors, while Tier 2 is for competitors who have placed in the top three in a Tier 3 competition, or have strong competitive experience in another reputable drug-tested organization. There is always a lot of the enthusiasm in the auditorium in these levels because it’s these competitors whose friends and family members dominate the audience and cheer them on, often for the very first time. But, not surprisingly, the most excitement comes in the Tier 1 Elite competitions, because that’s where the organization’s very best competitors are – and is what this article is focuses on.

The Tier 1 Elite men’s bodybuilding category at the Physique Canada National Classic was light this year, because top-level Physique Canada competitors such as Denis Pedneault, Michael Martinez, Rob DeLuca, and Alexis Brien-Fontaine chose to sit this event out. But that takes nothing away from veteran Simon Proteau’s win, because he looked as good as ever onstage, which our cover shot and accompanying photo in this article illustrate. Furthermore, he’s a class act insofar as stage presentation and professionalism go – he not only put on a good show for the audience, he also joined in with the lower-tier competitors for an impromptu posedown in order to help welcome them to the Physique Canada ranks.

Simon ProteauSimon Proteau

In contrast, the women’s categories were packed and full of the best competitors to ever line up on the Physique Canada stage. In the women’s athletic physique category, all eyes were on Edith Syjuco, since she’d won this class in the two previous Physique Canada events, as well as the SAF Summer Elite Pro Challenge event earlier that day (her second time winning it). Edith came through with a convincing win again and is really the ideal role model for what the judges are looking for in this category. In second place was Jacinthe Amyot, who was appearing on the Tier 1 Elite stage for the first time and showed she has what it takes to win if she competes again at the next Tier 1 Elite event this fall. Initially, Melanie Albert and Michelle Stevens were tied for third place, but a tie-breaking decision landed Melanie in third and Michelle in fourth. Both looked fantastic.

Jacinthe, Edith, MelanieJacinthe Amyot, Edith Syjuco and Melanie Albert

By far and away the biggest showdown occurred in the women’s muscular physique category, which was where past Tier 1 Elite winners Michele Steeves and Janet Gates were competing, and where Nadia Moussa was making her comeback after an absence of 12 years from the competitive stage (I wrote about Nadia’s retirement and comeback last month). Talk about excitement!

Nadia Moussa and Michele SteevesNadia Moussa and Michele Steeves

Janet wasn’t in quite as good shape as she was last year when she won the Physique Canada Canadian Championships, so she slipped to fourth place, while Tier 1 Elite newcomer Maureen O’Neill surprised everyone and placed third. I saw Maureen after the show and she was ecstatic to be in the top three. Michele was as big and muscular as ever, but she wasn’t quite as defined as she’s been in the past, so she had to settle for second place to Nadia, who fulfilled her previous promises and showed up on June 14 in the very best shape of her life, which was an astonishing achievement after being away for so many years. Nadia’s strong showing was not unlike Denis Pedneault’s appearance last fall when he won the Tier 1 Elite men’s bodybuilding category – both competitors showed the kind of polish, refinement, and maturity in their physiques that comes with years of training and plenty of competitive experience. According to Nadia, this comeback was only the beginning as she plans to show an even more impressive physique on the Physique Canada stage this fall. If Nadia accomplishes that – and there’s no reason to think she can’t – she’ll solidify her status as one of the greatest female physique competitors this country has ever seen.

Michelle Steeves, Nadia Moussa and Maureen O'NeillMichelle Steeves, Nadia Moussa and Maureen O'Neill

The high quality of the 2014 Physique Canada National Classic champions was fitting, particularly since this was one of the organization’s best ever events – it featured not only top-shelf Tier 1 Elite winners, but also the highest number of competitors ever in the other levels, as well as the best-looking stage presentation yet. Given that this organization is still relatively young, it speaks well for the kind of growth that it has achieved so far, and what the future holds for what is now Canada’s top physique-sports organization for men and women.

Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher