On June 11, the first event of Physique Canada’s 2016 season will be upon us – the National Classic. The National Classic is special because it was the very first competition that Physique Canada staged.
Physique Canada was formed in late 2011. At that time, the group had to determine when its first contest would be and where it would be held. It was decided that the ideal date would be June 23, 2012, which gave them just over six months to organize it and allowed plenty of time for competitors to prepare. They also decided that the perfect place would be in the National Capital Region, which comprises Canada’s national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, and its neighboring city, Gatineau, Québec. After that, naming the event proved easy -- National Classic.
Immediately after Physique Canada announced that the first-ever National Classic would be held in the main theater at the Canadian Museum of History, the leaders of another organization showed how fearful they were of what Physique Canada could become by positioning a competition of their own in the same area on the same date! They could have picked any other date, but they picked that one. Obviously, they were thinking they could destroy the fledgling organization before it got much of a chance to start. Their strategy didn’t work -- Physique Canada’s inaugural competition was a success and set the stage for what was to come in the years that have followed.
Rob DeLuca, 2012 National Classic
The contest structure back then mirrors what’s in place today insofar as the competitive categories and levels go, though there was one difference in 2012 with regards to the women’s athletic physique discipline. Before Physique Canada, athletic physique didn’t exist (the organization created it to appeal to women who didn’t fit into typical figure or bikini categories), so there wasn’t yet a pool of talent to choose from. As a result, there was no Tier 1 Pro event at that first competition because the ranks leading to that top level had to be built up. In comparison, men’s bodybuilding and women’s muscular physique (aka figure) had been around so long in other organizations, there was already a strong pool of competitors. So, in 2012, only men’s bodybuilding and women’s muscular physique were held at the Tier 1 Pro level. The respective winners of those categories at the 2012 National Classic were Rob DeLuca and Michele Steeves, who went on to win again at subsequent Physique Canada events.
Michele Steeves, 2012 National Classic
Now that Physique Canada is in its fifth year, things are much different. The National Classic has built up its ranks in women’s athletic physique, which can be seen in our “Iron Shots” image this month – it shows the Tier 1 lineup from last year’s National Classic, which was a topnotch group. This year the Tier 1 class should be just as good.
As for individual athletic physique competitors, it’s still too early to know exactly who is going to compete, but I know that Jess Kanstrup isn’t – she was last year’s National Classic Tier 1 Pro winner. Neither is Julie-Christine Cotton, last year’s Canadian Championships Tier 1 Pro champ. But Carole Wathier will compete and is definitely a favorite. (Carole is featured on our cover this month). At last year’s National Classic, Carole won the Tier 2 and Masters (over 40) athletic physique categories, then took the runner-up spot behind Jess Kanstrup in the Tier 1 Pro level (the second Tier 1 Pro runner-up was Catia Pavoni). Carole told me that her successes last year have made her channel all her energy this year into the 2016 National Classic. Will she succeed with a win?
2015 Physique Canada National Classic: Carole Wathier, Jess Kanstrup, Catia Pavoni
Of course, we’re going to see many more strong competitors who are just as determined as Carole Wathier, not only in athletic physique, but in the other disciplines as well. I can’t wait to find out who they are. As always, we will be there covering the event, and in this space next month, we’ll tell you exactly how the fifth Physique Canada National Classic went down. See you then!
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