PDA

View Full Version : Maria Segura - Why did she compete at the Arnold Amateur?


Siouxcountry
03-26-2008, 06:25 PM
Thanks to Ruth Silverman I believe I know why. Mexico wanted their very best athletes to represent their country at the Arnold Amateur. Obviously if she would have turned pro she wouldn't have been able to compete at the Arnold Amateur, and may never have gotten the invite to the IFBB Ms International. Your thoughts?

Ruth Silverman's Blog:

ARNOLD AFTERTHOUGHT - The Amateur Contest

By Ruth Silverman

Here’s something that’s been gnawing at my mind since the big weekend in Columbus, Ohio. What exactly is up with the IFBB Amateur Arnold International competition? Not that I’m suggesting there was anything wrong with the event, which was promoted for the second year by Bob Lorimer and Mike Davies as part of the humongous Arnold Sports Festival. As far as I can see it was a whopping success, attracting some 225 physique athletes from around the world, including a spectacular crop of winners. Is it just me, however, or does it seem as if there were two different amateur events taking place on February 29 and March 1?

How I became aware of the dichotomy is one of those tales we pundits like to tell. On a shuttle bus full of competitors and officials (and media members) riding from the Veterans Memorial Auditorium to the Doubletree Hotel, I was chatting with Albert Busek, a distinguished member of the European muscle press and a very-long-time friend of the legendary bodybuilder for whom the weekend in Columbus is named. Albert, who had attended the amateur competition earlier in the day, was enthusiastic about how excellent the international field had been and expressed great surprise that the American athletes had not been stronger. It could be that he was rubbing it in just a bit.

As I hadn’t seen the results yet, we moved on to other things. Still, I was puzzled as to what all the fuss was about. After all, it was just a midlevel contest from the standpoint of NPC competitors, wasn’t it? I had forgotten that I’d asked the same question when I’d heard that the Arnold Amateur was going international in its second year. Why would people want to come all the way to Ohio to get onstage at that show? The answer should have been obvious, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

In practical terms, when the promoters—and IFBB President Rafael Santonja—went worldwide with this event, they effectively jacked up its status far beyond its humble beginnings. Whether that message sank in for the NPC rank and file remains a question mark. The international teams, buoyed by the notion of either competing at the prestigious Arnold Sports Festival, getting their pictures taken with Governor S or simply getting some big-time publicity in the Western Hemisphere, brought their top amateur bodybuilders, including European and World champions. The U.S. entries, on the other hand, included some excellent bodybuilders, but they were not exactly the class winners from last year’s Nationals; so it should have come as no surprise that they got creamed. (The situation was different for fitness and figure, where the U.S. and Canadian athletes ruled, although why that was is a topic for another day.)

Maybe it’s also no surprise that the bodybuilding lines were drawn where they were. Elite-level amateur physique competition on this side of the Atlantic (and the Pacific) seems to be much more pro-card oriented than it is over there (and there). In other countries the top guys and gals keep going back to the European Championships, the Asian Championships, the South American Championships, the World Championships, et al., and many never make it to the professional ranks. In the U.S. a class win at the Nationals gets you the right to apply for a pro card, and for the most advanced warriors and warriorettes it’s all about the path to the flex-for-pay ranks.

One could argue that the former approach is more in keeping with the spirit of sport—well, amateur sport—and the latter is more of that crass commercialism one hears so much about. I suspect that somewhere, somehow politics is at work as well. The question is, Will the highest-ranking homegrown amateur bodybuilders step up to the plate and stop off in Columbus on their way to where destiny leads them next year, or will they leave all the glory to folks like Mari Segura of Mexico, the ’07 North American champ, who won the ’08 Amateur Arnold title in women’s bodybuilding, and two-time World Amateur champ Robert Piotrkowicz of Poland, who came in second in the Arnold men’s superheavyweight class?

What if anything could the promoters do to sweeten the pot? I’m making no predictions, but it’s definitely a story to keep your eye on.

Shelly
03-26-2008, 06:32 PM
hmmm. Definitely food for thought....

I mean international athletes definitely have more motivation to enter the arnold ameteur than our American competitors thats for sure.

scottnva
03-26-2008, 07:23 PM
hmmm. Definitely food for thought....

I mean international athletes definitely have more motivation to enter the arnold ameteur than our American competitors thats for sure.

for the most part if your international athlete the best way boost your career is to come to the States. This Summer at the Olympics many of foreign medal winners will have trained, colleged, or have some kind of US tie in its been that way the last several olympics.

Femphysiquefan
03-26-2008, 08:18 PM
Interesting analysis on the part of Silverman concerning the Arnold Amateur: I think she's right on the money. Her comments reminded me of something that happened earlier on another forum board. When I brought up the news over on MD.com that the IFBB was getting involved with the Arnold show and that it was now international in scope, the #1 question on the part of American competitors was: will they be handing out pro cards?? This seems to confirm Silverman's suspicions as to the motivation of American competitors versus foreign competitors. The answer to her question, therefore, is obvious to me. What would sweeten the pot, and attract the very best American competitors to this show?? AWARDING PRO CARDS. As I said in an earlier thread, if the IFBB and NPC in their collective wisdom decided to award pro cards at this show, you might as well name it the Amateur Olympia rather than the Arnold Amateur. That show would hands-down no BS become the largest and best amateur physique competition in the WORLD.

CQ!
03-27-2008, 12:18 PM
Speaking from an international perspective, alot of our motivation is financial.

Take the Polish guy Robert, they referenced who came second. He recently won the New Zealand Amateur - which had a prize purse of $10,000. He as an amateur, has already won more money than many pros will ever see.

Look at the prize money for the next 2 female shows; $6,000 and $9,000. I mean no disrespect, but plently of amateurs worldwide win more than that. Plus, we get free trips and many other things. One nation, I forget which one [an Asian nation] has paid out over $100,000 to a single person for an amateur win.

There are plenty of amateurs who qualified but choose not to apply for their pro card, as for some of us worldwide, unless we are going to be a top notch winners it would be a financial hardship as we lose present benefits.

So Americans of course tend to favour the pro qualifiers more, whereas for some international they may not really be looking to go pro anyway. Would also explain the stronger presence at the Arnold amateur of the international folks.

Femphysiquefan
03-27-2008, 12:47 PM
Speaking from an international perspective, alot of our motivation is financial.

Take the Polish guy Robert, they referenced who came second. He recently won the New Zealand Amateur - which had a prize purse of $10,000. He as an amateur, has already won more money than many pros will ever see.

Look at the prize money for the next 2 female shows; $6,000 and $9,000. I mean no disrespect, but plently of amateurs worldwide win more than that. Plus, we get free trips and many other things. One nation, I forget which one [an Asian nation] has paid out over $100,000 to a single person for an amateur win.

There are plenty of amateurs who qualified but choose not to apply for their pro card, as for some of us worldwide, unless we are going to be a top notch winners it would be a financial hardship as we lose present benefits.

So Americans of course tend to favour the pro qualifiers more, whereas for some international they may not really be looking to go pro anyway. Would also explain the stronger presence at the Arnold amateur of the international folks.

No disrespect intended, CQ, but isn't that attitude of international competitors ultimately detrimental to the essential sport as a whole?? I mean, if what you say is true, granted you may be better off financially, but in terms of principle it's as though competitors in other countries are being rewarded for pursuing mediocrity, and punished for achieving excellence. Doesn't that seem contrary to what the whole point of the sport is supposed to be about?? Part of the positive benefits of any competition, be it athletic, academic or otherwise, is that it compels those who compete to strive for excellence, to be the VERY best. Earning a pro card is how one achieves that type of recognition as being the VERY best in physique competition. The way I see it, this attitude says "Why should one strive to be the best they can be, when that person can be more substantially rewarded for being just mediocre??" If I applied that same attitude to academics, the phrases Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Cum Laude would become titles that students would try to AVOID rather than achieve. Doesn't that seem detrimental to you in the end??

Kiwijo
03-29-2008, 07:43 AM
Speaking from an international perspective, alot of our motivation is financial.

Take the Polish guy Robert, they referenced who came second. He recently won the New Zealand Amateur - which had a prize purse of $10,000. He as an amateur, has already won more money than many pros will ever see.

Look at the prize money for the next 2 female shows; $6,000 and $9,000. I mean no disrespect, but plently of amateurs worldwide win more than that. Plus, we get free trips and many other things. One nation, I forget which one [an Asian nation] has paid out over $100,000 to a single person for an amateur win.

There are plenty of amateurs who qualified but choose not to apply for their pro card, as for some of us worldwide, unless we are going to be a top notch winners it would be a financial hardship as we lose present benefits.

So Americans of course tend to favour the pro qualifiers more, whereas for some international they may not really be looking to go pro anyway. Would also explain the stronger presence at the Arnold amateur of the international folks.


Hi, Im Jo Stewart. I travelled from NZ to enter the Arnold Amateur. and won the lightweight division. For me there was no thought to even gain a Pro Card - never has been and never will. I am one of those people who are prefectly happy to remain an amateur although it is very different for us here in NZ. Turning Pro would mean moving from NZ and taking family too, or spending a hell of alot more money travelling than we could ever make out of events.. so I am enjoying travelling to amateur events and experiencing events in other countries..... (Ohio rocked by the way - wow the audience support was incredible , the electric atmostphere was indescribable , and the hype of the Expo was just mind blowing - you are so lucky having that in your country).

I won the Masters Worlds months previously and could of had my pro card from that or from winning 5 National titles here in NZ. The reason I went to Ohio to compete was because it was such a prestigious event and it was an absolute honour to be amongst the americans and other international amateurs competing. It was a dream of mine for 12 years to compete in the arnold ever since going to Ohio for the Expo back in '97. We found out that Amateurs were invited in 2007 and I was asked by the IFBB when I won the Masters Worlds if I would participate in the Arnold 2008 . Well it was too good an opportunity to turn down... It was one of the best things I have ever done in my life.. The experience was absolutley incredible and I think I could say that with or without my win....

WE have just had the first Elite/Pro Event here in NZ. We had a few of our Elite competitors pull out simply cos we put the invite out to international competitors to participate (Robert from Poland won this ). For the few it scared away, the most of them are even more inspired. So having the international competitors there definately increased their motivation and gave them the chance to stand up amongst the best.. I think the inclusion of the Amateurs in the Arnold is a huge step forward and I hope that the American competitors know see this as the start of something big as I can see the numbers of international competitors doubling next year - I had numerous emails from competitors from the Masters Worlds asking how I got into the Arnold Amateur. Is this the start of something really big.. what are your views on this ??

luf and muscles from afar
Jo Stewart

Mats E.
03-29-2008, 08:49 AM
I have read so many threads about this subject. And Jo is right on the spot.

95% of the Pro Competitons are in the US. If you are going to be successful as a pro you either have to move to US, or travel on a regular basis!

In Europe there are so many great amateur shows where you can compete against very competitive athletes. Many of the top amateurs are a lot better than the average pros! And just as Jo, many athletes just don´t want to be a pro. Non-US residents have a complete different attitude when it comes to this.

The amateur World Championships is the biggest and widest amateur show in the World. The best of the best are competing from all countries (but US). To compete here is an hounor, and to come back year after year is something many amateurs see as the primary goal. Rather that then compete at some pro shows in the US.

You in the US must understand that there is a complete different way to see on pro/amateur in other countries!

Please send your best athletes to the next World Championships. :)

MoreMuscles1
03-29-2008, 01:12 PM
Lots of great thoughts here.

1) Keeping the Arnold Amateur an amateur contest makes it more like the Olympics, where people compete for just the sport and enjoyment of it. It fits into a more conventional (at least since the Greeks @ 200 B.C. or whenever) notion of sport which has inherent mainstream appeal. The Olympics is probably the "sine qua non" prestige sporting event, and money is not involved (not counting ad contracts, etc). Likewise it is the prestige and honor that attracts people from all over the world to compete in the AA, not the prospect of financial reward, as I think Jo said.

2) That being said, the Jr. USAs is a great show every year, but would there be so many amazing figure competitors if 2 pro cards were not awarded? Maybe not. This is America, a capitalist society, and if you don't win the game, beat everyone, get rich, you are in the "have-nots". That is the way it is here. And like Jeremy perhaps alluded to, that is a motivating factor for Americans. Nothing wrong with that-- it can be a good motivating factor for life, especially if it is a proxy for competing against yourself to be the best you can be.

I guess my point boils down to this: When one says, "Strive for Excellence", the wheels in the American head (mine included) start revolving around what concrete benefits will I derive. Maybe for the rest of the world "Strive for Excellence", means bring glory to my country, compete against the best, be a hero, etc. It is just a different cultural mindset/ way of justifying things, but the end result should be the same.

But in summary I think it is good to have at least ONE bodybuilding show per year where the factor (1) clearly trumps that in (2), i.e., have an "Olympics of bodybuilding"-- if only because there is a whole rest of the world out there that operates differently than America, and it is a great thing to be inclusive.

Femphysiquefan
03-30-2008, 01:43 AM
Interesting thoughts, everyone. In the case of the Arnold Amateur, given the responses so far, the introduction of pro cards at this show would seems to be of benefit to EVERYONE, American and international competitors alike. From what I understand, winning a show that offers pro cards does not in and of itself automatically make you a pro. You still have to apply to the IFBB for pro status after your win, and (if I'm not mistaken) have to pay a $200 fee for the pro card (stupid, isn't it??). That, from what I can tell, is why Maria, who won the IFBB North Americans last year and thus qualified for pro status, is still an amateur: apparently she simply didn't apply for the card, probably for the same reasons given in earlier posts. The main thing that could be done in the case of the Arnold Amateur to make it more appealing to American competitors is to make it a show in which pro cards are handed out. This would attract the majority of American competitors out there who are shooting for that pro card. However, since you have to apply to actually become a pro after winning a pro show, the international competitors would still have a reason to come and compete, due to the reasons given in eariler posts: they just don't have to apply for the pro status should they happen to win. They, just like Maria, would then remain amateurs, and not encounter the difficulties mentioned earlier. In this case, both American and international competitors would be getting what they want; Americans would be achieveing pro status, and international competitors would be achieving the honor and presitige of representing their country on an American stage. What do you think??