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Titles or Popularity?

Titles or Popularity?

IFBB Pro Physique competitors Steve Cook and Dana Linn Bailey recently stated they would not be competing in this year’s Olympia. Steve recently placed as high as 5th at the prestigious event in Las Vegas, and Dana the inaugural champion of the Women’s Physique Division. This prompts the question, why? Both individuals have won shows in the IFBB Professional League and placed very high in other competitions they have entered. Why would two of the very best competitors in the industry suddenly give up competing?

Individuals like Steve Cook and Dana Linn Bailey have very large followings, beyond the stage as well as the organizations in which they compete. Steve for example, was well known before ever turning pro, thanks to his work on Bodybuilding.com. Both Dana and Steve are cover models for an array of fitness magazines, promote various clothing, and travel the world to all of the popular fitness expos; where many people of wait-in-line, often hours, to take a quick picture and pick up merchandise (usually in cash) from their booths.

Steve Cook_Dana Linn Bailey

On the flip-side there are other individuals that take a similar approach, yet very different. Names like Rich Piana, Devin Physique, Joey Swoll, and CT Fletcher have also found commercial success, minus the stress of being a competitor. The only difference between these groups, is one has garnered a following through their placings, the others have gained notoriety with a similar quality following via means such as social media; yet, they don’t compete, and are not required to put their bodies through the same vigor required at the level of athletes such as Dana Linn Bailey and Steve Cook (yes, even MPD has to push the boundaries sometimes.)

Kai Greene_Dana Linn Bailey_Flag Nor Fail_Simone Panda_ulisses

So what’s more important, winning titles or popularity? The tides are changing in our industry, as m0re competitors develop an independent following off the stage, that isn’t dependent on their competing or any organization. They seemingly all maintain a very quality-look, at least for the laymen. They continue to shoot for magazines, develop their brands, and attend fitness expos etc; but do so without the rigorous stress of prepping for competition at the highest level. As much as I hate to see great competitors leave the stage, can you blame them? Would you leave the stage if you could reach the same amount of money and clout, without the stress (both mentally and physically) of prepping for a contest?

That all boils down to one thing, are you in it for titles or popularity? You Decide.


My name is Merton Woolard. Follow me on my journey to obtain my IFBB Pro Card through all my social media outlets.

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