by Christian Duque
Just 8 days ago, I wrote an article for Iron Magazine asking for Iris Kyle’s return. In this article, I found that the event would simply not be the same without the legendary female bodybuilding champion. While there were other Olympias women, no woman won more titles than Kyle. In fact, none of the men won as much as they did. Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman are both bound for eight Sandows each, two less than Kyle.
What is crazy, however, is that Kyle could potentially win her eleventh title and will dominate the most prestigious stage in women’s bodybuilding for three calendar decades in December this year. Fans of muscular women had hoped that this day would come for a long time, and when the announcement to bring the Ms. Olympia back came last year’s Olympic weekend, questions about Iris sprang up like wildfire on the message boards. Surely the GOAT would be a part?
After winning her 10th title, the event was paused and Jake Wood’s Wings of Strength events filled the void. WOS not only filled the gap, but also renamed the department with a far more innovative approach that appealed to a much larger audience. Rising Phoenix events have flourished in the past five years. There was a year in which Kyle considered participating in the World Championships, although this did not happen. Aside from the fact that the WOS World Championships were so great, the only competition that can definitely crown the best of the best in a physique-based division is the Olympics. So it makes sense worldwide that for the first woman Olympia after so many years that the queen herself is in the house. Thanks to the great news, she will not only be in the house, but also take part in competitions !! The question is, can Iris win for women in today’s bodybuilding?
The sport has changed. Nobody can deny that. The reality is that women’s bodybuilding has had periods when size, condition, and craziness have become too much for some, just right for others. We saw a transition in the early 1990s, also in the mid-1990s, and when the IFBB implemented the so-called 20% rule, it might have been too late. The desire to contain the craziness in the division was too little, too late. The new rule caused some confusion and as a result the stars matched Ms. Olympia Yaxeni Oriquen, who pinned her down and dethroned Iris in 2005. Still, rules can be difficult. With as much attention given to a competitor at the top, there may be some hesitation in changing gears completely. I don’t think many of the ladies who went into 2005 thought Ms. O would enforce the rule as strictly as in the first year. Other than that, if the rule should apply to 2006 and beyond, I would have no doubt that Iris would have made the necessary adjustments to her body and defeated everyone in 2006. However, the fact is that the rule was abolished and before anyone knew, the new women’s body department was just around the corner. The reason why the 20% rule is relevant here is that Iris is the type of champion that could adapt then and can definitely adapt now.
When it comes to toughness, it’s a matter of nutrition. When it comes to size, it’s a matter of training. Iris has complete control over everything, and just because the announcement of her return came this week does not mean that this decision has not been seriously considered throughout the year. In fact, this decision could have been considered from the moment Bob Cicherillo – The Voice of Bodybuilding – made the announcement at the Orleans Arena. By this I mean that Iris has long known what is needed and the time was on her side. In contrast to years in which she actively participated in competitions, she was able to eat, exercise and prepare in peace.
It was a very tough year to begin with and some thought the Olympics could not even take place. When it became clear that this was a success, no one thought that Iris wanted to compete and / or would be announced as a competitor. There was a lot of talk, a lot of back-channel discussions. The fact is that Kyle’s return increases production value. There will now be an abundance of marketing opportunities, there will be more ticket sales, and the media will be able to write many great stories from this new, important addition to the list of competitors.
In a very real way, it means that two Olympias women on this stage, Iris Kyle and Yaxeni Oriquen, combine different epochs into one. They have the ladies from the 2000s and 2010s who are moving in 2020 and a new decade. This is exactly what the division needs and a great way to expand it into the future. As a fan of female bodybuilding, I see this message as a big step towards more than a comeback, this will be a game changer. In the same way that Jake Wood and his team brought about a renaissance for muscular women, the return of Iris Kyle will bring a renaissance at the Olympic level.
Fans haven’t seen women bodybuilding in that light. In recent years, it has been little more than a disposable department. I expect fans and new fans of the most muscular women’s section to go crazy in December !! I also think that Ms. Olympia will inspire many women – of all ages – to take part in competitions in this division. So far there has been no WBB in the Arnold or Olympia. If you don’t think this means a significant toll on professional and amateur athletes, you’re crazy. It definitely has! Now female bodybuilding competitors have a reason to fight, they will have their crown jewel back.
However, Iris Kyle will not only come on stage and win her 11th title. If I had to bet, I would bet on them. I won’t even lie; However, there are some very talented competitors, ladies like Helle Trevino, Pauline Nelson, Michaela Aycock and Theresa Ivancik to name a few, and they won’t let Iris or Yaxeni in for an easy win. It will definitely be a battle !! On the other hand, battles are what women like Iris and Yaxeni live for !! And then there’s age, isn’t there? But you’ve all heard of muscle maturity, haven’t you? Well, muscle maturity is truly an issue that is really brought to life in women – especially muscular women. Muscular women like Lisa Aukland fought for top places in the world’s biggest competitions at over 50, and there were many others. It’s also a matter of placing yourself well, but these ladies looked so good that the fans thought they should have won !! But there is also more to age.
Age is not only your years on earth, but in my opinion also the years you have spent on stage. While many of the ladies in the event may be younger than Iris and / or Yaxeni, they have also competed continuously during the years when both Olympias women were resting. You still exercise, of course, but it’s far less strenuous than exercising and eating to compete. Who knows, maybe these rest periods in December will create even more impressive body shapes? Could you imagine that we haven’t seen the best Iris Kyle in her entire career and we can see her fighting for her 11th Sandow? It could be pretty crazy.
How excited are you about Iris Kyle’s return?