Why I Love This Subjective Sport

Subjective Judging

There is a saying in the boxing and MMA world — never let the fight go to the judges. The feeling is that when a fight is allowed to go to the judges there are times when the better fighter does not win. I have to agree with this in principle. Many times the decision of the judges does not match the fight I witness.

Bodybuilding is 100% subjective. People go to shows and observe the athletes. In their mind they know who should place where. Many times the judges disagree and place the athletes differently than expected. They have their reasons for doing so. Whatever the reasons, it is sometimes a passionate outcry that will result from the crowd. I witnessed this during my show this past weekend.

First, let me say that I am totally clear on the fact that different judges look for different things. Some judges will put a conditioned athlete who is smaller as the winner while others will always go for size. This weekend it was clear that the judges were into size. I will look at this from the perspective of the women’s bodybuilding division.

Two women were paired against each other. One was doing her first show and had obviously put in the work required. She was very well conditioned. She had nicely symmetrical muscles. Her body looked great. The opponent was also in good shape, but not as conditioned. She was definitely larger than the first woman. This woman took first over the smaller woman and the crowd booed.

In my division I placed behind a guy who was obviously not as conditioned as I was. I heard this from 3 other competitors–my conditioning was better. However, I placed behind him due to his size.

Some would get frustrated by this, but this is why I love the sport. Now I konw that I need to be bigger to move up in placing. It is obvious after doing two shows. If I pay attention to size as well as conditioning, I am going to do well. It is really that simple. Now on to the hard work!

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