More than once in the last six months, I wrote that it was not Jess Kanstrup’s physique that kept her out of the top three in Tier 1 Pro women’s athletic physique at last year’s Physique Canada Canadian Championships; instead, it was her posing that caused her placing to slip. It’s not that posing counts directly at these competitions, but it was counting against Jess last year because she wasn’t showing her outstanding physique as well as she could. It was as if she was hiding what was there.
Thankfully, Jess is a competitor who strives to improve and uses feedback from others to help her make her improvements. She arrived at the 2015 Physique Canada National Classic (June 13) in even better shape than last year, and she posed as if she owned the stage. All in all, she looked fantastic, and while I could criticize her last year, I couldn’t this year. Her reward: first place in Tier 1 Pro athletic physique, the $1000 prize that comes with that win, and the distinction of being the frontrunner for this year’s Canadian Championships in October. Way to go, Jess!
But Jess wasn’t the only woman to impress us that day. Janick Charbonneau’s wide shoulders, tiny waist, and full-looking muscles caught my eye, as well as the judges’ eyes, too. Janick took first in Tier 2 muscular physique (aka figure). Although Janick wasn’t quite as conditioned as, say, Physique Canada Tier 1 Pro stars Nadia Moussa or Michele Steeves are when they’re at their best, her overall shape is on par with theirs, so she definitely has the potential to go far with the organization if she stays on track and improves.
Yet Janick’s win didn’t come easily. Only one point behind her was Andrea Chase, who possessed better conditioning than Janick, but did not have quite as good symmetry. Remember, though, that they were one point apart, so pretty much tied. If I had to guess why Janick was first and Andrea was second, and not vice versa, I’d say that the judges slightly preferred Janick’s overall shape over Andrea’s superior conditioning, but that’s just a guess. As a result of the close placing, if both compete in the Canadian Championships this fall, it’s really a toss-up who will come out ahead.
Then there was Carole Wathier, who stormed to two first-place wins with unanimous first-place votes both times – one win was in Tier 2 athletic physique, the other in Masters athletic physique. They say it’s never polite to ask a woman her age, but because Carole competed in Masters, what is safe (and not impolite) to say is that she is at least 40 years of age, since you have to be 40 or over to compete in that category. That makes her win in Tier 2 all the more impressive, because it is open to all ages.
Probably the biggest surprise at the event was Julie-Christine Cotton, who didn’t compete in Tier 1 or 2, but Tier 3, which is considered Physique Canada’s “novice” level. She was in the athletic physique category. Julie-Christine looked like anything but a beginner – outstanding shape and symmetry, good overall muscle development, excellent structure, and a level of definition that was spot-on for this category. The result was her winning her class with unanimous first-place votes.
When Julie-Christine competes next, it’ll be Tier 2, and I won’t be surprised if she wins again. Then, if she makes a few improvements, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if she places top three, or perhaps wins, at the Tier 1 Pro level – she’s perfect for athletic physique. Time will tell what will actually happen, but I’ll reiterate here what I said on Facebook a couple of days after her win: If Physique Canada had a Best Newcomer award, Julie-Christine Cotton would have won it at the National Classic.
This summary of some of the top women at the 2015 National Classic should be a good indicator that we’re in for an exciting fall season for the females. Next month, I will have some interesting news about the men’s side.
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