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Arnold Expo a Site and Sight to Behold

March 4, 2012 @ No Comments

There is nothing quite like the Arnold Sports Festival. You almost have to be there to understand that observation. Thousands and thousands of men, women and children amass in Columbus, Ohio, for a variety of events and reasons.

Posing with bikini competitor/friend Anjali Antani is somebody's idea of work.

Named for Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose American bodybuilding career began in Columbus), the festival has activities from A to Z (arm wrestling to zumba fitness). There are bodybuilding, figure, fitness and bikini competitions that attract large crowds to the Veterans Memorial. At the Columbus Convention Center, other activities generally involving fitness (not quite sure where table tennis fits in) are held — along with the Expo that Saturday (March 3) was so well-attended that moving down an aisle occasionally became close to impossible.

There among the throng was Nicole Wilkins, who Friday night was the winner of the Figure International competition for the third time. Like others around her, she moved slowly through the crowd with an occasional well-wisher noticing her (of course, it did help that she was wearing a name tag — not that she doesn’t stand out otherwise).

Your humble correspondent had the pleasure of noticing her and wondered whether someone so regal at the very least shouldn’t have a path cleared for her. Nicole was very gracious about being like everyone else (even if she does have exalted status).

Staci Boyer and Sandy Wiedmeyer man the Pride Nutrition booth.Although 'woman' the booth might be more fitting.

During the course of my wandering, I enjoyed the pleasure of seeing some familiar faces. Some of them are featured in today’s videos. Others will be featured. Others have been featured.

Some of the wonderful people encountered (in no specific order) were Anjali Antani, Nicole Moneer Guererro, Nicole Genarella, Kate Lane, Staci Boyer, Sandy Wiedmeyer, Mick Skinner of bodybuilding.com, Therese Janc, Carla Sizemore, Amy Rozier and Monica Brant. For anyone not included, please consider it a case of brain cramp and/or fatigue (and giving me the benefit of the doubt about having a brain to cramp).

I stopped by the Oxygen booth to see if fitness guru/ author Tosca Reno was there. Missed her by a few minutes. Wait till next year has a familiar sound (especially for Chicago Cubs fans — didn’t see any of those at the Arnold, although there were some Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals fan sightings).

Nicole Genarella and Kate Lane take pride in their work.

If some (or many or all) of these names are unfamiliar with you, then you probably don’t have much contact with the fitness world. Little by little, I am learning about that universe, which is quite interesting. After all, the event features an abundance of promotional models in attractive attire. And, yes, I get to call it work.

Sometimes life is good. Even if it can be a bit tiring. In an effort to catch up on some sleep, we now will end this creative word-processing (which may merely resemble typing to the more critical in the audience in cyberspace) and go to some video (with more to come later in the week — at least that’s the plan):

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Judging by the judges’ results, Florida is the state that rates. Certainly as far as the results for the 2012 Bikini International competition at the Arnold Sports Festival 2012 goes. A major exception being the exceptional Sonia Gonzales of Temecula, Calif., who took the title Saturday night.

Contestants were judged on attractiveness and presentation of their curvier, less muscular physiques than figure competitors. That contest was Friday night with Nicole Wilkins capturing her third title.

Other than Sonia, four of the next five spots went to Floridians:

* 2nd place: India Paulino of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
* 3rd place: Nicole Nagrani of Daytona Beach, Fla.
* 4th place: Jaime Baird of Orlando, Fla.
* 5th place: Nathalia Melo of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
* 6th place: Juliana Daniell of Atlanta, Ga.

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