2000 Arnold Classic – Contest Report
By Chris Johnson:

The 12th annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Weekend besieged Columbus, Ohio February 25-27, 2000. This year’s extravaganza included, The Arnold Fitness Expo, The Ms. International and Fitness International Competition, The Martial Arts Festival, and The Arnold Bodybuilding Classic. “A $ 100,000 check (prize money donated by Joe Weider) and a trophy was presented by Schwarzenegger to Flex Wheeler.”


The competition started on February 26th with seventeen of the best bodybuilders in the world competing for top honors. This years classic had drama built in after Wheeler finished second to Chris Cormier the week prior at the Iron Man Pro. Having traveled this route before, winning the Classic in 1993, 1997, and 1998, Wheeler from Roland Heights, CA was up for the challenge adding a fourth title to his resume.

First round action had competitors doing Comparison Turns, followed by the second round and Single Compulsory Poses. After the prejudging, the evening show went straight into the fourth round with Freestyle Posing.

First Place: ($100,000) Flex Wheeler, he was big, symmetrical, and determined. Not a lot of physical change since the Iron Man Pro, but he came with something to prove.

Second Place: ($45,000) Chris Cormier resides in Culver City, CA and came into this event confident after his Iron Man victory. His use of music and timing on stage is second to none and made this competition a two man race.

Third Place: ($25,000) Kevin Levrone hails from Glenburnie, MD and won this event in 1994 and 1996. A great professional, he was big and detailed. The crowd loved his routine.

Fourth Place: ($15,000) Dennis James from Thailand/USA showed big quality muscle with great showmanship. Another crowd favorite, detailed performance full of robotics and dance movements.

Fifth Place: ($10,000) Dexter Jackson from Jacksonville, FL is an upcoming star in the IFBB. He was third in the Iron Man Pro and displayed great separation in his legs and glutes.

Sixth Place: ($5,000) Günter Schlierkamp from Germany is massive and was in great shape. He will be one to watch with further improvement on his routine.

Other competitors included:
Darrem Charles – Great presentation, exceptional symmetry.
Patrick Lyn – Big but too smooth, looking to improve on last years 11 t h place finish;
JD Dawodu from UK – Massive arms and back with quality size.
Craig Titus – Pro debut last week, presentation was dramatic and well executed. Great performance;
Jimmy Mentus – Presentation was confident and professional. Good condition at 6’ 2” and 260 lbs;
Ahmad Haidar – Great physique with quality muscle. A name to remember for the future;
Jeff Long – Small but complete package. Placed 11th in 1998;
Jason Arntz – Polished performance with great potential. First year at the Classic;
Claude Groulx – Former Mr. Canada with a classical and dramatic routine; Flavio Baccanini – Great shape and his posing stole the show;
Tom Prince – Great hams and not far from the top.

Pose Down
After the stage showdown, the final pose down, led by Levrone, Cormier, and Schlierkamp was entertaining, The crowd went wild as the three ran into the audience to finish off the show.

The Most Muscular Man Award
The award was handed out by Arnold Schwarzenegger and went to Flex Wheeler.


The weekend kicked off at 7pm on Friday with the introduction of fitness competitors. This event consisted of four rounds: Symmetry round, Compulsory fitness round, Freestyle round, and finished with a One-Suit comparison.

Sixth place was taken by Laura Makowski. She had a great year in 1999 and was hungry for more. Her routine was a marvelous gymnastic display.

Fifth place saw Jenny Hendershot making her pro debut. Her routine was fast and crisp with constant movement.

Three consecutive back flips brought roars of approval from the crowd.

Fourth place went to Shena Forkner from the Lone Star State of Texas. In her first Ms. Fitness International, Shena finished this part of the show with a bang. She blasted through a lightening fast round of amazing high kicks and flips. Her finale consisted of a full set of press-ups with legs over her shoulders.

Third place was awarded to Shannon Meteraud. Shannon displayed poise and confidence that was amazing considering this was her first IFBB pro debut. Her gymnastic and dance display conveyed why she will be one to watch in future events.

Second place honors were awarded to Timea Marjorova. This competitor from Slovakia showed an excellent physique and gymnastic ability that empowers fitness training. Truly a feminine bodybuilder with grace.

Crowned overall winner of the Ms. Fitness International was Kelly Ryan. The second place finisher at the Fitness Olympia was clearly the winner on this day. Her ability highlighted the show and brought fans to their feet. Kelly took home the trophy and $20,000 in prize money.


The bodybuilding for women began with the Ms. International, which for the first time was divided into light and heavy weight divisions. Round one, the quarter turns, and round two, the compulsory pose comparisons, were held at the Expo Building with the finals taking place at the Veterans Memorial Center.

Lightweight Division
Brenda Raganot was first out and was ready to compete after her pro debut in 1999. Brenda finished ninth at the Ms. Olympia and runner up to Laura Creavalle at the woman’s Pro Extravaganza. However, Brenda came to the Ms. International with the body of a winner. She had great symmetry, good shoulders, and a small waist. With a hard physique, her routine was slow, deliberate and exsensuated her strengths.

Next out was Cathy Le Francois from Quebec Canada. Following a fifth place finish at the women’s Pro Extravaganza in 1999, Cathy was looking to improve. She showed great physique and was in outstanding condition.

Stepping out third was Denise Masino from Florida. This was her fourth Ms. International with a seventh place finish last year. Denise showed improvement with good size on a small frame. The detail in her back was excellent.

The fourth competitor was Gayle Moher from Ohio. Gayle won the Jan Tana contest in 1999 and was entering her fourth Ms. International. Gayle is very active in bodybuilding and put on another good performance.

Next up was Monica Martin from Brazil. Monica turned pro in 1998 and has placed seventh and eight at other events. Although Monica was lacking mass, she provided a very exotic stage presentation and certainly pleased the crowd.

Finishing off the lightweight division was Andrulla Blanchette from UK. She has finished in the top ten at the Olympia on four different occasions with this being her fourth showing at the Arnold Classic. Once again Andrulla’s back was her biggest asset. Overall great condition.

Lightweight Division Final Standings
First Place and a shot at the overall title went to Brenda Raganot. She received the trophy and collected $7,000 in prize money.

1st Place: Brenda Raganot $7,000
2nd Place: Andrulla Blanchette $5,000
3rd Place: Cathy Le Francois $3000
4th Place: Denise Masino $2500
5th Place:  Gayle Moher $1500
6th Place: Monica Martin $1000

Heavyweight Division
On stage first, from California, was Denise Hosher. Stepping up for her first pro event, Denise had a nice symmetrical physique with great delts. Possessed great condition, hardness and separation.

Defending her title and second on stage was Vickie Gates. With a second place finish at the Olympia, the ultimate professional was big, cut, and had great detail in her chest, back, and legs.

Third out was Lesa Lewis and she possessed a massive amount of muscle. Her arms and legs were impressive and was an imposing competitor.

Tazzie Colomb from Louisiana came out fourth. Her legs were impressive and showed a refined vascular physique. Her routine was deliberate and showcased many power shots.

Stepping out fifth was Dayana Cadeau from Canada. She carried a lot of mass but was lacking in the arms and too smooth for this quality of competition.

Betty Pariso from Texas was the sixth competitor. This is her third Ms International and she possessed a good physique.

In the seventh spot was Amy Pazzo. She was extremely hard and had great detail in the hams, delts, and glutes.

The final competitor was Iris Kyle. She finished fourth in the 1999 Olympia and came here with higher expectations. She had great legs and biceps.

Heavyweight Division Final Standings
1st Place: Vickie Gates $7000
2nd Place: Denise Hosher $5000
3rd Place: Iris Kyle $3000
4th Place: Amy Pazzo $2500
5th Place: Tazzi Colomb $1500
6th Place: Betty Pariso $1000

The heavyweight and lightweight champions, Vickie Gates and Brenda Raganot respectively then competed for the overall championship.
Vickie was the overall winner and picked up another $7000 in prize money.