The first U.S. Women's National Physique Championship, promoted by Henry McGhee and held in Canton, Ohio in 1978, is generally regarded as the first true female bodybuilding contest—that is, the first contest where the entrants were judged solely on muscularity. In 1980, the first Ms. Olympia (initially known as the "Miss" Olympia), the most prestigious contest for professionals, was held. The first winner was Rachel McLish, who had also won the NPC's USA Championship earlier in the year. The contest was a major turning point for female bodybuilding. McLish inspired many future competitors to start training and competing. In 1985, a movie called Pumping Iron II: The Women was released. It documented the preparation of several women for the 1983 Caesars Palace World Cup Championship. Competitors prominently featured in the film were Kris Alexander, Lori Bowen, Lydia Cheng, Carla Dunlap, Bev Francis, and McLish. At the time, Francis was actually a powerlifter, though she soon made a successful transition to bodybuilding, becoming one of the leading competitors of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In the 1970s, bodybuilding had major publicity thanks to the appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Lou Ferrigno, and others in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron. By this time, the IFBB dominated the competitive bodybuilding landscape and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) took a back seat. The National Physique Committee (NPC) was formed in 1981 by Jim Manion, who had just stepped down as chairman of the AAU Physique Committee. The NPC has gone on to become the most successful bodybuilding organization in America and is the amateur division of the IFBB. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the decline of AAU-sponsored bodybuilding contests. In 1999, the AAU voted to discontinue its bodybuilding events.
What started as an alternative to standard-issue military conditioning quickly grew into a life-changing career as Anthony "Flama Blanca" Fuhrman discovered his knack for lifting heavy and moving fast could catapult him to the top of his sport. Find out how this world-class Strongman and Titan Games competitor uses pop music and a larger-than-life persona to conquer the toughest lifts in competition. July 02, 2019 • 42 min read
Starting May 15th and running through Sept. 1st, teens ages 15-18 can work out TOTALLY FREE. No catches, no commitments. Come in and use tons of cardio and strength equipment on your own, or sign up for our free fitness training classes. Plus, enter for the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship and other prizes! Visit any Planet Fitness on or after May 15th to sign up for your free summer membership. Under 18 must have a parent or guardian present at sign up. More information available here.