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Gillon, Coelho Lead Respective Packs in Arnold Classic Womens Divisions

Branden Liezert

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Figure International

The women’s Figure International has been staged at the Arnold Sports Festival since 2003 when Jenny Lynn won the first of her three consecutive titles. Since two-time defending champ Candace Lewis-Carter isn’t competing, a new champion will be crowned in 2019, with a Canadian in the mix. Here are my predictions of how things will unfold with the 15 competitors.

1. Cydney Gillon

It’s possibly the division deepest with top-tier talent in the IFBB right now, and Figure has explodedin popularity in recent years. This time around, Cydney Gillion is the front-runner, and it’ll take a huge surprise for her to be knocked out of the top spot. She’s a perennial top-callout athlete at the Olympia, but given there’s just a bit of an absence of elite talent at this year’s Arnold in Figure, this is likely her moment to shine.

2. Melissa Bumstead

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some, but at the rate Bumstead is progressing, she has a legitimate shot at finishing closely behind Gillon. The biggest downfall to Bumstead’s physique is her glutes, hams, and an imbalance in her legs in quad development. Her conditioning will match or exceed Gillon’s, though, so it should be an interesting competition. 

3. Natalia Soltero

If you’re keeping up with Soltero’s social-media activity, you know she’s bringing her absolute best to Ohio. Already one of the best in the division, that only means that she’ll be trouble for plenty of women looking to place among the top tier. She doesn’t quite have the shape of Gillon or the condition and muscularity of Bumstead, but out of the rest, she combines the best combo of each.

*Look for Jessica Reyes Padilla and Bojana Vasiljevic to be included in the rest of the top five.

Women’s Physique

A crowded field of 24 competitors, which is without defending champ Shanique Grant, vies for the 2019 Women’s Physique title at the Arnold Sports Festival. That’s fitting because the event, now in its fifth year, has named a new champion every year.

Here’s a fast look at my predictions for the top three.

1. Natalia Abraham Coelho

I think Natalia Abraham Coelho has it locked up here. Last year’s Olympia Physique runner-up, she has the perfect look for the division and never shows up anything less than ready to rock. She combines a very fresh, very feminine, very detailed look with perfect musculature for the division.

2. Sheronica Henton

In second place, I’d have to put Sheronica Henton. She’ll likely have the fullest physique onstage with very bubbly, round muscle bellies from head to toe. Henton struggles with consistency in her conditioning, and that just won’t cut it against the always razor-sharp Coelho.

3. Lauren Rutan

We may see a new star emerge here, as my pick for third place is pocket rocket Lauren Rutan, who stands 4'11" but packs a lot of muscle on her frame. She is clearly on track for her all-time best overall package, and that may simply be enough to catapult her way up to the podium. 

*Image courtesy of Instagram


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