1985 ended with Juliette’s first Ms. Olympia contest completed. A 14th place finish left her wondering what had gone wrong. All the hype that had powered her to the stage that day had also left her realising she was far short of the kind of shape and conditioning the best in the entire world were achieving at that time. This was also witnessed by over 5,000 fans (the largest ever) and had a clean sweep of passes for every competitors for all drugs. Cory Everson took the title that year with a perfect blend of muscle, symmetry and flowing lines. 1986 shook off the disappointment of her inaugural Olympia experience though with another 1st place trophy sitting on her mantle by way of a win at the Pro World Championship. This was joined by a succession of 2nd’s, 1 of which was handed to her with a single point separating the winners trophy from her grasp. Now the Olympia was approaching and she was on another good run. This was her year! Right?
Although making massive improvements to her stage package, Juliette was only able to manage a respectable sixth in the Ms. Olympia. She wasn’t fighting for the title yet, but people now knew she was definitely looking for it. A couples title win with the amazing Tony Pearson at the Pro World was a personal highlight.
The ’87 Ms. Olympia was approaching fast and this was Juliette’s time. 9th place told her it wasn’t. Again! Why couldn’t she hold her form at the biggest show, she had to wonder? Everything else she entered she fought until the final pose for the title, here she was competitive. Just not with the top stars.At the 1988 Olympia a crushing 13th followed by a soul destroying 15th at the IFBB Pro World signalled to Juliette that her time to compete with the best had gone. Times were changing, the women’s division was more competitive and muscular than ever.
Striated glutes and wider profiles were creating shadows over the stage that she just wasn’t able to compete with. YET!!
Training was such a big part of Juliette’s life having been bitten by the bug in 1981 that she just couldn’t stop training, even if she wasn’t stepping on stage anytime soon.
Since she wasn’t going to be on stage, she decided in 1991 that although she couldn’t influence what happened on stage from a competitive viewpoint, she could still influence the judges decisions.
As a pro-judge she was able to see firsthand what was looked for now with an objective eye. Becoming secretary/treasurer of the NBBF (Dutch Bodybuilding and Fitness federation) also ate into her time but a determination was burning inside and the time had come to show the bodybuilding world what was missing from the stage since she left..
In 2001, Juliette Bergmann returned to the stage and entered the worlds premier competition after an incredible twelve-year absence, entering the Ms. Olympia contest! Surely this was her time to take her place amongst the elite?
She took first place in the lightweight class and was thrown into a showdown for the overall title with the heavyweight class winner, Iris Kyle!
In order to win the overall title a lightweight would have to defeat a heavyweight! This had never been done before and surely another 2nd place trophy would be her reward?
Indeed a 2nd place trophy was handed out to a future IFBB HALL OF FAME inductee, but it wasn’t Juliette’s name on the plaque!
Juliette Bergmann’s name was called out that night as the winner and became the first Ms.Olympia in history to be crowned when the lightweight class winner has won the overall title. She repeated and defended as the Ms. Olympia lightweight class winner in 2002 and 2003, but unfortunately lost the overall title to Lenda Murray both years.
After the 2003 Ms. Olympia had concluded Juliette Bergamann finally retired from bodybuilding for a final time. Her dreams had been realised, she had become the greatest!
Juliette was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2009!
Currently, Juliette Bergmann is hailed as the most successful Dutch bodybuilder in the world, as the only Dutch bodybuilder to win the Ms. Olympia. Berry De Mey is another Dutch legend of course, but his 3rd place finish at the Mr.Olympia has to stand second to a lady who wore the crown. From October 26, 2001 to February 28, 2003, she was ranked 1st on the IFBB Women’s Bodybuilding Professional Ranking List and was also named as having the “Grecian Ideal” physique. This is a measure of symmetry and muscularity wherein biceps, calf and neck measurements are similar to one another and waist and thigh measurements are also comparative.
In January 2009, Juliette was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame, sealing her place in history as one of the very best. Since then she hasn’t sat still either. Becoming president of the IFBB in the Netherlands (Dutch Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation), director IFBB Thailand, a member of the I.F.B.B. executive council, and chairwoman of the EBFF fitness committee keeps her close enough to the world she helped to create, but not so close as to need a new competition spray tan!
1983 NBBF Gold Cup Lightweight, 2nd
1983 NBBF Grand Prix Holland Lightweight, 3rd
1983 NBBF Holland Iron Maiden Lightweight, 2nd
1983 Holland Nationals Lightweight, 3rd
1984 NBBF Grand Prix Holland Lightweight, 1st
1984 Holland Nationals Lightweight, 2nd
1985 IFBB European Amateur Championships Lightweight, 1st
1985 NBBF Grand Prix Holland Lightweight, 1st
1985 IFBB World Amateur Championships
1986 IFBB Grand Prix Los Angeles 2nd
1986 IFBB Los Angeles Pro Championships 2nd
1986 IFBB Ms. International 2nd
1986 IFBB Ms. Olympia 6th
1986 IFBB World Pro Championships 1st
1987 IFBB Ms. Olympia 9th
1987 IFBB World Pro Championships 7th
1988 IFBB Ms. Olympia 13th
1989 IFBB World Pro Championships 15th
2001 IFBB Ms. Olympia Lightweight & Overall, 1st
2002 IFBB Ms. Olympia Lightweight, 1st
- Can you explain how you first started training and what was key to you deciding you wanted to become a competitive bodybuilder?
I started training in 1982, never thought about being a competitive BB, just competed.
- You have been all over the world, competed at the highest level, graced the cover of magazines and won major championships. Purely in terms of competing, what do you feel was the highest point of your career, subsequently which was the lowest?
Of course winning my first ms. O title as the highest point, lowest (?) I guess my disqualification in Nice 1987.
- Given you have competed at the highest levels in this sport, who would you say was your biggest inspiration out of everyone you competed against and who was the one person you always felt in order to win any competition you would have to beat, should you both enter the same event, regardless of the eventual winner?
I was my only competition, when I lost I was or not motivated enough or made a mistake or the other was simply better.
- How do you feel the state of bodybuilding is nowadays compared to the when you competed and what hurdles have you encountered since you began having to overcome any stigmas surrounding acceptance of your chosen sport?
I never thought about that and excepted all circumstances created.
- Finally, since retiring, what have you been up to and what motivated you to choose that path. Where can fans get hold of you now and what do you see for your short and long term future?
I already was an International and Pro judge since 1991 ad now I am the President of the Dutch Bodybuilding & Fitness federation, EBFF chairwoman Fitness Committee, IFBB executive, secratary Women’s Committee. They can reach me through Facebook message or simply contact the NBBF
Discover Juliette Bergmann
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