Every once in a while an athlete achieves a level of supremacy that is beyond compare – Muhammed Ali, Wayne Gretsky, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan come to mind – and Patricia Beckman might be in that category after her blowout victory at the IFPA Pro USA Natural Bodybuilding & Figure Championships in Sacramento last weekend. It is, of course, more difficult to achieve that distinction – maybe impossible – in a subjective sport like bodybuilding where the winner is left to the fate of the judges and, after all, Beckman is still a relative newcomer to the sport. But rarely has an athlete put together such an impressive string of victories and so dominated the opposition in every contest – including this one – as Beckman has in her short time in bodybuilding.
This was a formidable group of competitors – each with an impressive resume of titles under her belt – but from the time that they first gathered on stage for the singing of the national anthem, everyone knew who the winner would be. It was that clear. Her incredible symmetry, slim muscularity, and ultra femininity, made the outcome a no-brainer.
Runner-up Cathy Vail, the 2010 IFPA Pro Universe winner, would have likely beaten almost anyone else on the planet on this night. Still in great shape but also recovering from her loss to Beckman at the IFPA Pro Masters Cup the week before in St. Louis, she displayed her usual sharp muscularity that has made her a great champion for several years. Unfortunately, Beckman is in a different world.
Perky Cindi Criss from Wisconsin looked good too and finished a strong third to win showing some fine overall development and a lot of energy on stage.
For the first time in memory, the indomitable Herculiza finished fourth and out of the money. Could this be the legendary champ’s swan song? Probably not because the Herc does not give up easily and would prefer to go out on top. Posing has always been one of her strengths, and her individual posing routine was – once again – popular with the audience. She would be a terrific guest poser on the amateur circuit – a female version of the great Russ Testo, physique artist extraordinaire.
Fifth place Linda Bettencourt is still new in the pro ranks but will continue to improve with each show.
It may be too early to compare the significance of Patricia Beckman’s relatively short career to some of the all-time greats in natural bodybuilding like Nancy Andrews , Cheryl Myers, Brenda Rahe, Stasi Longo, Cathy Vail, Liza Reichenberger, Carol Streeter or Katy Wayman-White , but Beckman already finished a credible fourth in last year’s poll of The 100 Greatest Natural Female Natural Bodybuilders of all time. Moreover, she has already defeated some of these icons of the sport in head-to-head competition.
Rarely has an athlete dominated a contest the way that Beckman dominated this event to capture the $2,000 first prize and win top posing honors. This was simply no contest.
Beckman appears to be in a league of her own, so who among the current pros might challenge her supremacy? My bet would be the great WNBF pro Universe champ Toni West – another good reason to find a way for the natural organizations to work together so that these two great athletes might someday meet head-to-head. Now THAT would be a matchup of classic proportions!