When the first Physique Canada competition was held in 2012, it wasn’t just that a new organization had emerged – the new discipline of women’s athletic physique had been created, and for female competitors, there was a new game in town.
Athletic physique’s judging criteria mirror the name: an athletic-looking woman’s physique. It’s as simple as that – and it works. Although what each person considers an athletic-looking woman is subjective, from the first show onwards, the judging for this discipline has been consistent and without an iota of controversy. I can’t think of one winner over the years who didn’t deserve her first-place trophy.
From the start, all of the Tier 1 Pro winners have been first-rate, with the first Tier 1 Pro women’s athletic physique champion being recognized at the 2012 Canadian Championships – Kim Chartrand. Kim displayed an excellent combination of muscularity, definition, and feminine shape – qualities that made her an ideal inaugural winner who set the stage for the high caliber of winners who came after her. From 2013 to 2015, the women who won Tier 1 Pro athletic physique titles were Edith Werbel, Jacinthe Amyot, Jess Kanstrup, and Julie-Christine Cotton. Of those, the only woman to win multiple times was Edith Werbel – she won at the 2013 National Classic, 2013 Canadian Championships, and 2014 National Classic. Edith wasn’t just a repeat winner, she was a “three-peat” winner.
Edith Werbel receiving the announcement for her third win
Now, in 2016, we have a new competitor ready to challenge Edith’s three wins – Julie-Anne Landry. Julie-Anne competed with Physique Canada for the first time at the 2016 National Classic, held in June. She was initially only enrolled at the National Classic in the Tier 2 level, which is also called Open. However, since Julie-Anne easily won that category with unanimous first-place votes, she was able to move on to Tier 1 Pro, where she won again. That said, her Tier 1 Pro win wasn’t as easy as Tier 2 – she edged out Marie-Odyle Picotte for the win by just two points (Marie-Odyle finished ahead of third-place finisher, Sonia Bradette, by 10 points). So, it was a close call.
Determined to prove she could improve and dominate this category, Julie-Anne came back in even better shape in October for the 2016 Canadian Championships and won the Tier 1 Pro title again. The photos of Julie-Anne for this month’s cover, the “Iron Shots” gallery, and below, were all taken at the 2016 Canadian Championships – she improved over her National Classic win and looked remarkable.
Julie-Anne Landry getting the gold
Obviously, back-to-back wins show that Julie-Anne has what it takes to be a dominant force in this discipline. Furthermore, Julie-Anne proved that she could win those titles cleanly – she was drug tested immediately following both competitions under Physique Canada’s strict anti-doping program and, of course, passed both times. The big question is: Can Julie-Anne win again to match Edith’s three wins, then win again to surpass them?
Julie-Anne already told me that she’s planning to compete again in 2017, so no doubt she’s going to try. From my point of view, Julie-Anne can go on winning, but she needs to improve to guarantee that she does, particularly since the quality of competitors in Physique Canada keeps getting better all the time. From what I’ve seen so far, Julie-Anne has excellent upper-body development and outstanding overall shape – the first time I saw her in athletic physique lineup, I knew she’d be a winner with those attributes. Still, no one is perfect. Julie-Anne is a little weak in the legs in terms of size, shape, and definition. As a result, she has to balance her lower body better with her upper body to create a more complete physique. Can she do that? She improved from the 2016 National Classic to the 2016 Canadian Championships, so I have no doubt that if she gives it the effort, she can improve again.
Will Julie-Anne continue her winning streak in 2017? Right now that’s up in the air. But what is certain is that although women’s athletic physique is only five years old, it’s now one of the most exciting disciplines in all of women’s physique sports – if not the most exciting. It’s also producing champions whom others look up to and wish to emulate. What’s more, Physique Canada is still the only organization in the nation offering this discipline – meaning Physique Canada is the place to be for those who wish to compete in it. I can’t wait to see what next year brings and who comes out on top!
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