Open the bodybuilding stage at the Arnold Amateur to all women who want to compete
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My wife, Beth Mandyck, is a 56-year old bodybuilder. Having first stepped onto a competitive stage in October of 2015, she is relatively new to the sport. Last year, on April 1st, she won her first overall title, Ms Buffalo Bodybuilding 2017. Said win qualified her to go to her first national and international events, both of which took place in Pittsburgh last July and August/September.
Having competed well in both of these events, her trainer helped her to set her next goal: to be on the brightest stage that an amateur bodybuilder can be on, the stage at the NPC Arnold Amateur. In returning home, her trainer told her to take a month off, but she was so committed to take her next step that he could only keep her out of the gym for all of 10 days.
For anyone who is not familiar with the event itself, the Arnold Sports Festival is the largest and most diverse celebration of sports in the United States. One of its events is the NPC Arnold Amateur. For a bodybuilder, to compete on the stage at the Arnold Amateur is both a long-trained for goal and the highlight of an amateur career.
The National Physique Committee (NPC) sanctions the Arnold Amateur as well as hundreds of other bodybuilding competitions across the United States. Out of the many certifying bodies that exist, it is the oldest and arguably, the most respected. With bodybuilding events held throughout the country — at the local, regional and national level, the NPC maintains a commitment to growing the sport of bodybuilding inclusive of the women's bodybuilding division.
On September 18th, 2017, I tried to register my wife for the Arnold Amateur — as a bodybuilder — but she was denied admission. Since then, even though she is the reigning title holder in bodybuilding from another NPC event, and the NPC is actively using her images to specifically promote women's bodybuilding at the 2018 NPC Mr/Ms Buffalo Bodybuilding Championships®, she has been told by the promoters that she can only be on the stage at the Arnold Amateur if she changes her division.
The reasons the promoters are denying women access to the bodybuilding stage are their own, and they are in conflict with both the NPC's commitment to growing the sport as well as the common practices of other promoters in the NPC. Perhaps more importantly, it should be stressed that they have never made a request of this nature to any of the men in the competition.
This story was covered by Jeff DiVeronica at the Democrat & Chronicle on Sunday, January 28th. A week prior to that it was first reported in a shorter form by Rick Rouan at The Columbus Dispatch.
Now, after almost 5 months of talking to the promoters, and subsequently to the politicians in Colombus, Ohio, where the Arnold Amateur is held and where a gender discrimination claim has sat since January 5th in the hands of the mayor — there has been no change in their position. And with the competition date of March 1st drawing very near, I am now reaching out to all people who are concerned about Equal Opportunities in Sports for Women to ask for your help.
In doing so, I would also like to note that two of the most respected voices and advocacies for women in sports in America, ChampionWomen.org and the Women's Sports Foundation, both support my wife's fight to be on the bodybuilding stage at the Arnold Amateur.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge Judge Aquilina’s remarks at the sentencing of Larry Nassar: "Inaction is an action. Silence is indifference. Justice requires action and a voice."
If you can lend your voice and your support to open the bodybuilding stage at the Arnold Amateur to all women who want to compete, please sign my petition .
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