Ms. Olympia Isn’t Worth As Much As Mr. Olympia

I was in Las Vegas for Joe Weider’s Olympia Weekend 2009, and male and female bodybuilders competed for the titles of Mr. and Ms. Olympia. While I can’t understand why any woman would want to tone her body to such an extreme level, I’ll be the first to admit that these women’s bodies looked wicked sick (and I mean that in a favorable way), especially since the female body isn’t supposed to be this muscular. I can’t even fathom how many hours they must spend weightlifting, consuming supplements, and exercising to get their bodies into competitive shape. I was really surprised, however, to learn that despite working as hard as the male competitors (or maybe even harder because the female form isn’t meant to be this built), Ms. Olympia is awarded a significantly less amount of prize money than Mr. Olympia. Although the prize money was increased this year, Iris Kyle (pictured), Ms. Olympia 2009, won $28,000, whereas Mr. Olympia 2009, Jay Cutler, was awarded $200,000. Yes, you read that correctly. The second place contender for Mr. Olympia also gets more money than Ms. Olympia — $100,000 — that’s almost three times more than Ms. Olympia gets for coming in second!? While it’s true this sport doesn’t attract women as much as men, you’d think the playing field would be a little more even. I’m surprised the title isn’t called Miss or Mrs. Olympia since organizers have such an archaic way of thinking when it comes to a woman’s worth. []