View Full Version : Pacific body builders muscle their way to the top

08-17-04, 12:09 PM
Pacific body builders muscle their way to the top

By Dave Ornauer, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Tuesday, August 17, 2004

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — She hadn’t expected to do well in Sunday’s 9th Marine Corps Community Services-Okinawa Far East Bodybuilding Competition.

After all, Monique Gourdine-Shaw had been on Okinawa for only six weeks, having just gone through the rigors of a transfer from Parris Island, S.C., which interrupted her usual workout regimen.

Yet there she was, holding a samurai sword emblematic of winning the women’s overall championship.

“I didn’t think I was going to win,” said the 36-year-old Navy lieutenant assigned to Camp Lester.

Before a standing-room-only crowd of almost 1,000 at Butler Theater, she outflexed and outposed two other women to win the women’s heavyweight (125½ pounds or more) competition, then was voted the women’s overall winner by a panel of eight judges.

Gourdine-Shaw credited a former Parris Island colleague, Chief Warrant Officer Third Class John Meyers, for inspiring her.

“He’d e-mail me with photographs and he’d talk to me on the phone,” Gourdine-Shaw said. “I kept whining to him, ‘I’m not going to win this!’ But he kept on telling me, ‘You’re going to do well.’ And here I am.”

In all, 28 male and six female competitors drew hoots and hollers from the crowd with their flexes and poses.

While GIs won two of the three women’s weight divisions, Japanese competitors dominated the men’s side; an American won just one of five categories.

Civilian Yuko Nagama won the women’s lightweight, while Japonica Walker of Kadena Air Base took the women’s middleweight unopposed.

On the men’s side, Akira Shiroma of Okinawa was voted overall champion after capturing the middleweight division. Junji Matsu****a won the lightweight title, Akagi Junpei the light-heavyweight, Tsuyoshi Oshiro the bantamweight and American Vidal Smith won at heavyweight.

While their intricate moves were made with apparent ease, their skill, said Smith, the lone American men’s winner, was the result of long weeks and months of watching what they eat, hitting the weight room and practicing poses.

Bridging a showman’s ego with the discipline needed to develop “body beautiful,” Smith said, “is difficult. It takes a lot of preplanning.” Smith, 31, is a Marine Corps first lieutenant assigned to Futenma Air Station.

Meals, he said, must be planned a few days out. “Then, a contest like this takes two or three workouts a day,” he said, including cardiovascular training, getting the percentage of body fat down to anywhere from 3 to 5 percent, then hitting the weights in the evening.

Even showmanship takes work, Smith said. “Most people start six months out, working on posing 30 minutes a day,” he said.

Many of the 34 athletes were taking part in their first competition, including John Wayne Johnson, 28, an Air Force staff sergeant with Kunsan’s 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

With his unit’s permission, Johnson spent more than $600 to fly from Seoul to Okinawa and stay at Kadena Air Base’s Shogun Inn for the privilege of finishing third in the men’s lightweight division.

Was it worth it? “Definitely,” Johnson said. “I consider this a stepping stone for the future.”

One family of competitors, Gene Calvin and his daughters Kyessa and Myette, consider bodybuilding a “lifetime sport.”

“It was my wife’s idea,” said Gene Calvin, 43, a Marine master gunnery sergeant assigned to Camp Foster.

His wife, Karen, wanted to lose weight, he said. “I figured, why not train for the bodybuilding contest? I figured if everybody did this, there’d be support in the household, everybody would be eating the same food, etc.”

By the time of the competition, Karen Calvin had lost 65 pounds. “She just didn’t get her body fat low enough to enter,” her husband said.

But the other three Calvins did enter, with Gene finishing third in the men’s middleweight division. Kyessa, a senior at Kubasaki High, placed third in the women’s heavyweight and Myette, a student at Central Texas College on Camp Foster, took second in the women’s lightweight.

And in a door-prize drawing halfway through the competition, Gene Calvin won a stationary bike.

“It’s been interesting,” he said.


Dave Ornauer / S&S
Women's overall champion Monique Gourdine-Shaw does a side-chest flex pose.