Olympia response...

Dear Ms. Olympia Fan,

Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns about women’s bodybuilding and the Ms. Olympia competition. We share your concern for this sport, and we believe the flagging attendance and participation in women’s bodybuilding is something that can no longer be overlooked.

While female athletes at the professional level train and prepare every bit as hard as their male counterparts, as promoters we cannot ignore the thousands of fans who travel to the host site for the Olympia Weekend, but avoid the Friday night program and it’s centerpiece event, the Ms. Olympia contest. In 2004, for every five fans that attended the sell-out Mr. Olympia contest on Saturday evening, one fan attended the Friday evening program. Without changes to the events scheduled for Friday’s night, it would be unreasonable to expect attendance to grow.

As promoters we are obligated to produce an event that draws and entertains the largest possible audience of physique fans, while investing in a presentation that rewards and brings credit to the athletes and sponsors. The more successful we are at achieving these goals, the more we can continue to invest in the athletes and fans.

Our decision to move the Ms. Olympia competition to the main Expo stage is intended to provide an opportunity to schedule several new events on Friday evening. In addition, the Olympia expo on Saturday has a much more packed and exciting program than has been the case in previous years. One new initiative at Saturday’s expo is an Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) spectacular featuring an octagon with star fighters performing. Saturday’s compelling program of events will drive more traffic and enable the Ms. Olympia finals to grow its audience by virtue of tapping into the 15,000 plus fans we expect to attend the expo. We will also be showing highlights of the Ms. Olympia finals on Saturday night’s PPV broadcast.

We hope the additional expo audience and TV exposure (in tandem with the new IFBB judging criteria) can help the women revitalize their sport and return it to the popularity enjoyed in the mid to late ‘80s. In addition to these changes, we are increasing the prize money for the Ms. Olympia from $61,000 to $71,000 as part of our plan to continue investing in professional physique athletes.

We thank you for your concern and truly feel that the future growth of the sport of bodybuilding, for women as well as men, lies within the hands of its participants. We hope that 2005 will mark a turning point for the Ms. Olympia competition, and that the sport seizes this opportunity to fashion a new and successful future for itself.

The Olympia 2005 Promotion Team

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