Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (2024)

The Ms. Olympia contest debuted at the Superbowl of bodybuilding — Olympia in 1980. Notably, it took the Olympia owners 15 years to launch the women’s bodybuilding division after they started Mr. Olympia in 1965.

However, it wasn’t the only time the Ms. Olympia contest received a step-motherly treatment. Ms. Olympia was discontinued in 2014. Waning fan interest and plummeting ticket sales were the reasons cited by the Olympia management for bringing down the curtains on the apex women’s bodybuilding contest.

The deserted elite female bodybuilders were taken in by Rising Pheonix, which established itself as the primary women’s bodybuilding show. It wasn’t until the Rising Pheonix promoter, Jake Wook, took over the Olympia brand in 2020that the Ms. Olympia contest returned to the Olympia Weekend.

Intrigued by the show already? We are just scratching the surface. Like the men’s Open bodybuilding circuit, the women’s bodybuilding division has undergone significant changes over the decades.

The first few Ms. Olympia winners looked significantly different than the four-time and reigning Ms. Olympia champ Andrea Shaw. You could compare Rachel McLish (Ms. Olympia 1980 and 1982) to the present Bikini Olympia contestants. Whether it is a good thing or bad is for you to decide.

This article goes over the history of the Ms. Olympia contest, the different eras, and the 12 women who have worn the Ms. O crown over the past four decades.

All Ms. Olympia Winners

NameYear(s)Wins
Rachel McLish1980, 19822
Ritva Elomaa19811
Carla Dunlap19831
Corinna Everson1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 19896
Lenda Murray1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, and 20038
Kim Chizevsky-Nicholls1996, 1997, 1998, and 19994
Andrulla Blanchette20001
Valentina Chepiga20001
Juliette Bergmann20011
Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia20051
Iris Kyle2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 201410
Andrea Shaw2020, 2021, 2022, and 20234

Given below are the annals of the Ms. Olympia contest:

1980-1983: Musical Chairs

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (1)

Bodybuilding fans and promoters had no idea what to expect from the Ms. Olympia contest, which led to the Ms. Olympia crown changing hands five times in the first five years.

1980 was a much-hyped year for the Olympia. Arnold Schwarzenegger was coming out of retirement after four years to stake a claim on his seventh Mr. Olympia title.

Miss. Olympia, as it was initially called, was held in Philadelphia, PA, in 1980 and saw Rachel McLish winning and becoming the first Ms. Olympia. McLish was dethroned by Ritva Elomaa in 1981 but regained her title in 1982 when the show moved to Atlantic City, NJ.

1980: Sheraton Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • First:Rachel McLish
  • Second:Auby Paulick
  • Third:Lynn Conkwright

1981: Sheraton Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • First:Ritva Elomaa
  • Second:Rachel McLish
  • Third:Lynn Conkwright

1982: Atlantic City, New Jersey

  • First:Rachel McLish
  • Second:Carla Dunlap
  • Third:Kike Elomaa

1983: Warminster, Pennsylvania

  • First:Carla Dunlap
  • Second:Candy Csencsits
  • Third:Inger Zetterqvist

Although McLish won the Ms. Olympia title in 1982, things were changing under the hood. George Snyder lost the rights to Ms. Olympia in 1982. Until 1982 contestants were hand-picked to compete at the Olympia. However, this changed in 1983, andthe contestants had to qualify for Ms. Olympia through placings in lesser contests.

The qualifying process made way for more muscular women to book their spot at the Olympia. A more jacked and diced Carla Dunlap won the 1983 Ms. Olympia contest convincingly.

1984-1989: Corinna Everson (The First Reign)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (2)

The Ms. Olympia contest was held outside the United States for the first time in 1984. It was game over for all other contenders as soon as Cory Everson walked on stage at the 1984 Ms. Olympia showdown in Montreal, Canada. Everson was the biggest and the gnarliest female bodybuilder anyone had ever seen until that point.

Returning champion McLish finished runner-up, and the defending champion Dunlap took home a humble fourth place. Everson got the crowd talking after she dominated the Olympia roster on her debut.

Everson won six consecutive Ms. Olympia titles before retiring in 1989. She is the only female pro bodybuilder to have retired undefeated.

The six-time Ms. Olympia champ turned to acting after retirement. Her first major movie appearance was Double Impact (1991) alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme. She also appeared in Natural Born Killers (1994) and Ballistic (1995). Additionally, Everson made several guest appearances in television series, most notably playing Atalanta on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. She appeared in two episodes of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. with her sister, Cameo Kneuer.

1984, Place des Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Rachel McLish
  • Third:Mary Roberts

1985: Felt Forum, New York City, NY

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Mary Roberts
  • Third:Diana Dennis

1986: Felt Forum, New York City, NY

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Clare Furr
  • Third:Ellen Van Maris

1987: New York City, NY

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Ellen Van Maris
  • Third:Bev Francis

1988: New York City, NY

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Anja Langer
  • Third:Bev Francis

1989: New York City, NY

  • First:Cory Everson
  • Second:Sandy Riddell
  • Third:Bev Francis

1990-1995: Lenda Murray (Takes the Baton)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (3)

Everson hung up her posing suit while at the top of the pro bodybuilding circuit. It left the doors open for others to capture the Ms. Olympia throne that had been off-bounds for six long years. Interestingly, it was the first time the Ms. O throne had no defending champ.

Although Bev Francis had been lurking around the Ms. Olympia throne for a while, Lenda Murray surprised everyone and seized the title with her size, conditioning, and posing skills on her debut.

While many bodybuilding fans were expecting Francis and other elite bodybuilders to grab the Ms. O crown from Murray, Murray held onto the title for six consecutive years, matching Everson’s record.

1990: Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Bev Francis
  • Third:Anja Schreiner

1991: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Bev Francis
  • Third:Laura Creavalle

The 1991 Ms. Olympia was the first to be televised live. Murray beat Francis by a single point.

1992: Arie Crown Theater, Chicago, IL

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Laura Creavalle
  • Third:Shelley Beattie

The IFBB believed that Murray and Francis were taking female bodybuilding too far with their size and introduced “femininity” rules to penalize female bodybuilders for being too big.

Nonetheless, Murray met the femininity requirements and managed to retain her title. Murray’s win made the IFBB walk back on the newly introduced “femininity” rules.

1993: Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Denise Rutkowski
  • Third:Laura Creavalle

1993 witnessed a fierce battle between Murray and Rutkowski for the Ms. O throne. Many experts opined that Rutkowski should have been crowned Ms. Olympia that night.

Rutkowski stunned the bodybuilding community by retiring in 1994; many saw her as a future Ms. Olympia champ. Retiring from competitive bodybuilding didn’t fare well for Rutkowski. She was soon diagnosed with bipolar disorder and arrested for drug abuse (hormonal and psychedelics).

Must Read:The Tragic Downfall of Ms. Olympia Runner-Up Denise Rutkowski

1994: Atlanta, Georgia

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Laura Creavalle
  • Third:Debbie Muggli

1995: Atlanta, Georgia

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Kim Chizevsky
  • Third:Natalia Murnikoviene

1996-1999: Kim Chizevsky (The New Queen)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (4)

Just when everyone thought Murray had a vice-like grip on the Ms. O throne, the unthinkable happened in 1996. After placing runner-up in 1995, Kim Chizevsky beat the six-time Ms. O champ in 1996 to win her first Olympia title.

Although Murray returned for a rematch in 1997, Chizevsky held her off, thanks to her impeccable conditioning and muscle symmetry. Her second loss didn’t go down well with Murray as she retired from competitive bodybuilding after the 1997 Ms. O showdown.

Many believe that Chizevsky’shusband (and coach) Chad Nichollswas one of the driving factors behind her wins. Chizevsky held the Ms. O throne for four years before retiring from the division. She competed in the Fitness division from 2001 to 2002 and the Figure division from 2003 to 2004.

1996: Chicago, IL

  • First:Kim Chizevsky
  • Second:Lenda Murray
  • Third:Natalia Murnikoviene

1997: Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY

  • First:Kim Chizevsky
  • Second:Lenda Murray
  • Third:Yolanda Hughes

1998: Prague, Czech Republic

  • First:Kim Chizevsky
  • Second:Yolanda Hughes
  • Third:Vickie Gates

1999: Secaucus, NJ

  • First:Kim Chizevsky
  • Second:Iris Kyle
  • Third:Lesa Lewis

2000: Valentina Chepiga & Andrulla Blanchette (The Year of the Two Champs)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (5)

The year 2000 saw several changes made to the Ms. Olympia contest.

The Ms. and Mr. Olympia contests were held on different dates until 2000. However, in 2000, the IFBB combined the two to form the Olympia Weekend. Additionally, in a first-of-its-kind move, heavyweight and lightweight classes were added to the female bodybuilding division. Lastly, new judging criteria were introduced for the female bodybuilding contest, which asked the judges to assess the contestants on “symmetry, presentation, separations, and muscularity BUT NOT TO THE EXTREME.”

Heavyweight (over 135 pounds)

  • First:Valentina Chepiga
  • Second:Vickie Gates
  • Third:Lesa Lewis

Lightweight (up to 135 pounds)

  • First:Andrulla Blanchette
  • Second:Brenda Raganot
  • Third:Renee Casella

Note:The two divisional winners did not face each other to determine an overall champion, making 2000 the only year with two Ms. Olympia champs.

2001: Juliette Bergmann (The Year of Surprises)

The Ms. Olympia contest maintained two separate divisions for five years (2000-2005). 2001 witnessed two surprise Ms. Olympia winners.

Heavyweight

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Vickie Gates
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

Lightweight

  • First:Juliette Bergmann
  • Second:Andrulla Blanchette
  • Third:Dayana Cadeau

Overall: Juliette Bergmann

After making her Olympia debut in 1990 with a runner-up finish, Kyle had a humbling performance in 2000, as she took home a fifth-place finish. However, she returned with vengeance at the 2001 showdown and took gold in the heavyweight division.

On the other hand, Juliette Bergmann pulled a win in the lightweight division on her return to the Olympia stage after not competing since 1989. Furthermore, she defeated heavyweight winner Kyle for the overall Ms. Olympia title.

In the five years that Ms. Olympia was contested in multiple weight classes, this was the only time that the lightweight winner took the overall title.

2002-2003: Lenda Murray (Strikes Back)

After a five-year hiatus, Murray recognized an opening in the Ms. Olympia roster and decided to make a comeback in 2002. It’d be safe to say that her bet paid off handsomely as she matched Lee Haney’s record for the most Olympia title wins — eight!

Trivia:Ronnie Coleman became the third bodybuilder to win eight Olympia titles in 2005.

2002: Mandalay Bay Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Heavyweight

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Iris Kyle
  • Third:Vickie Gates

Lightweight

  • First:Juliette Bergmann
  • Second:Valentina Chepiga
  • Third:Fannie Barrios

Overall: Lenda Murray

Murray won the heavyweight class by dethroning Kyle. Furthermore, she dealt the reigning champion, Bergmann, an upset to capture the overall Ms. Olympia throne. She repeated the feat in 2003.

2003: Mandalay Bay Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Heavyweight

  • First:Lenda Murray
  • Second:Iris Kyle
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

Lightweight

  • First:Juliette Bergmann
  • Second:Dayana Cadeau
  • Third:Denise Masino

Overall: Lenda Murray

2004: Iris Kyle (An Intro)

After a long and hard-fought battle with Murray, Kyle finally broke through Murray’s defenses to win the heavyweight class. She then beat Dayana Cadeau to win her maiden Ms. Olympia title.

2004: Mandalay Bay Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Heavyweight

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Lenda Murray
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

Lightweight

  • First:Dayana Cadeau
  • Second:Denise Masino
  • Third:Marja Lehtonen

Overall: Iris Kyle

2005: Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia (A New Champ is Crowned)

The weight class system for the Ms. Olympia contest was abandoned in 2005. The IFBB also introduced the ’20 percent rule’ which stated “that female athletes in bodybuilding, fitness, and figure decrease the amount of muscularity by a factor of 20%”.

2005: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia
  • Second:Iris Kyle
  • Third:Dayana Cadeau

The three-time third-place finisher in the heavyweight division Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia outclassed her competition at the 2005 Olympia Weekend to dethrone Kyle and win her first Ms. O title.

2006-2014: Iris Kyle (A Legend is Created & Ms. Olympia Ends)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (6)

Kyle returned to the drawing board after losing her Ms. O throne. She showed up at the 2006 Olympia Weekend in the best shape of her life. What happened next is the stuff of legends. Kyle won for nine consecutive years and retired with 10 Olympia titles — the most by a bodybuilder in any division.

2006: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Dayana Cadeau
  • Third:Annie Rivieccio

2007: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Dayana Cadeau
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

2008: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Betty Viana-Adkins
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

2009: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Heather Armbrust
  • Third:Debi Laszewski

2010: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia
  • Third:Debi Laszewski

2011: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia
  • Third:Brigita Brezovac

2012: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Debi Laszewski
  • Third:Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia

2013: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Alina Popa
  • Third:Debi Laszewski

2014: Orleans Las Vegas, NV

  • First:Iris Kyle
  • Second:Alina Popa
  • Third:Debi Laszewski

In 2014, the Olympia management decided to pull the plug on the Ms. Olympia contest citing lackluster ticket sales, waning fan interest, and a fall in athlete participation.

2020-2023: Andrea Shaw (Ms. Olympia Returns)

Every Ms. Olympia Winner Since 1980 (and History of the Division) (7)

After the Olympia brand changed hands and Jake Wood came at the helm, bodybuilding fans were expecting a return of the Ms. Olympia contest at the Olympia Weekend. The Rising Pheonix promoter did not let the fans down.

The Olympia management did a commendable job organizing the Olympia Weekend amidst COVID-19 in 2020. The Rising Pheonix World Champion Andrea Shaw dominated the competition to win her maiden Ms. Olympia title in 2020. She defended her throne in 2021 to become a two-time Ms. O champion.

2020: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

  • First:Andrea Shaw
  • Second:Margie Martin
  • Third:Helle Trevino

2021: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

  • First:Andrea Shaw
  • Second:Helle Trevino
  • Third:Margie Martin

2022: Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

  • First: Andrea Shaw
  • Second: Angela Yeo
  • Third: Helle Trevino

Shaw completed a three-peat at the 39th edition of the Ms. Olympia contest. She brought her signature size, symmetry, conditioning, and muscle separation to the O stage, which was too much to handle for the other competitors.

Trevino, who went through shoulder surgery in early 2022 and subsequent surgery, managed to secure a third-place finish at the 2022 O, while Angela Yeo took home a runner-up finish in her debut Olympia appearance.

2023: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

  • First:Andrea Shaw
  • Second: Angela Yeo
  • Third: Alcione Barreto

Shaw has had a vice-like grip on the Ms. Olympia title ever since it was reintroduced into the Olympia Weekend in 2020. She is also the five-time and reigning Rising Phoenix champion, regarded as the second most prestigious Women’s Open bodybuilding title. She won the 2023 Ms. Olympia convincingly, tying Kim Chizevsky-Nicholls’s record of four Olympia title victories.

The winners of the other divisions:

  • Every Bikini Olympia Winner Since 2010
  • Every Fitness Olympia Winner Since 1995
  • The Complete List of Every Wellness Olympia Winner
  • Every Wheelchair Olympia Winner Since 2018
  • Every Classic Physique Olympia Winner Since 2016
  • Every Mr. Olympia (Men’s Open Division) Winner Since 1965
  • Every Women’s Physique Olympia Winner Since 2013
  • Every Figure Olympia Winner Since 2003
  • Every 212 Olympia Winner Since 2008 (and History of the Division)
  • Every Men’s Physique Olympia Winner Since 2013

If you have any questions or need further clarification about this article, please leave a comment below, and Vidur will get back to you as soon as possible.

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