Bev Francis

Bev Francis (born February 15, 1955) is a retired powerlifter and female bodybuilder from Australia, where she was a national shot put champion. She is also a writer, body building judge and owns a gym in Syosset, New York, in the United States where she now lives.

Bodybuilding career
Her list of athletic achievements includes breaking more than 40 powerlifting records, and winning six powerlifting world championships. She was the first woman to officially bench press over 300 pounds. After that, a picture of her appeared in several bodybuilding magazines around the world, doing what's called a most muscular pose or "the crab" while wearing a bikini. Her mountainous trapezius muscles, huge arms and bulging pecs beneath her breasts arrested those who saw the photo. While she wasn't ripped, there was enough definition to delianate the muscles and the fact that she possessed far more muscular size than the most muscular female bodybuilders at the time begged the question, "What would she look like on a bodybuilding stage?" In 1982 she won the Australian national shot put championships. She is best known for her career as a professional bodybuilder. In 1985 gained notoriety through her role in the movie Pumping Iron II: The Women directed by George Butler, who was drawn to Francis for her reputation as "history's strongest woman". The film casts her in a controversial role within the ongoing debate over femininity and female muscularity, with her naturally massive size and muscular development challenging preconceived notions about the limits of female bodybuilding.

Body image and judging criteria
Her career is also illustrative of the struggle with engaging in the sport for personal goals as opposed to for the satisfaction of the judges, who were required to judge female bodybuilders on a vague and subjective criteria of femininity. While her 1983 debut in the made-for-the-movie competition, received much attention for pushing the sport in a more muscular direction, when she placed 8th, her loss led her to spend years changing her look in an attempt to meet this subjective criteria.

After years of attempting to meet the femininity standards of the contests, including using such beauty techniques as getting a nose job, lightening her hair, and slimming down her physique, she still failed to win first at the major competitions. However, she soon figured out how to make her physique more symmetrical while maintaining the size built from her powerlifting background (the three powerlifts are basics in bodybuilding training and bodybuilders with backgrounds as champion powerlifters tend to have tremendous size and density for their frames) and won the World Championship in 1987. She continued to tinker with her physique, which led to a disappointing 1990 Ms. Olympia. After her physique was criticized as not having the fullness or muscularity compared to winner Lenda Murray and some other top placers, Francis decided to get as massive as symmetrically possible for the 1991 Olympia. That contest became a fitting close to Francis' bodybuilding career.

Her first contest, the Caesar's World Cup, was created for the movie. Her last contest was altered for television, spread over two days to accommodate ESPN's live telecast. Almost all the women came in considerably larger than the previous year, stunning not just the ESPN viewers who weren't hardcore bodybuilding fans, but some bodybuilding fans. Francis, wide, thick and ripped, built a big lead after the two rounds of prejudging. Normally, the night show is mostly just for that—show. Unless a bodybuilding contest is very close or a competitor completely blows a posing routine, there's not much that changes after the night show routines. But Francis shockingly lost her lead and finished second to Lenda Murray, who was an amazing 11 pounds bigger than the previous year herself.

Personal Info
Birth : February 15, 1955 (1955-02-15)
Professional Career
Best win : 1991 Ms. Olympia runner-up, 1990-1991
Active: Retired 1991

Contest history (bodybuilding)
* 1983 Caesars World Cup - 8th
* 1984 IFBB Grand Prix Las Vegas - 8th
* 1986 LA Pro Championship - 3rd
* 1986 Ms. International - 3rd
* 1986 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 10th
* 1987 Pro World Championship - 1st
* 1987 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 3rd
* 1988 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 3rd
* 1989 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 3rd
* 1990 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 2nd
* 1991 International Federation of BodyBuilders: Ms. Olympia - 2nd

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