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You've seen her dominate the Figure category on stage. Now get an exclusive look what it's like to compete as four-time Olympia winner Nicole Wilkins.
When Nicole Wilkins graced the stage at the 2014 Olympia, she came in as a seasoned pro. As she stood under the hot, beaming lights-eager to make history with her fourth Figure and first back-to-back Olympia win-she heard nothing. The roar of the crowd fell silent, and the audience's cheers were put on mute. For that single moment, everything came together for the returning champ. Focus was key.
"I thought, 'Walk slow, don't trip, hit your poses the way you need to hold them, make sure you're twisting enough, make sure your chest is lifted enough, make sure you're smiling,'" Nicole says. "I think you're so focused on what you're doing in that moment. Everything else is sort of silent. Even when they announce your name as the winner, it's all you hear. It's just you and the lights."
Nicole Wilkins spoke with Bodybuilding.com about what it was like to compete at the 2014 Olympia, and shared her thoughts on the role figure competition has played in her life.
TWO DAYS BEFORE FINALS
For Figure competitors-or any Olympia competitor for that matter-the competition is about presenting a perfect package on stage, even if things behind the scenes are a little more complicated. "Winning my first Olympia was amazing, but to then lose it and have the motivation to keep going after a divorce was difficult," Nicole says. "I mean, those are extreme highs and lows, but every one of those steps and every one of those moments has led up to this."
The week before the Olympia may be taxing for some but, despite the occasional bout of butterflies-to be expected when defending a title and standing in front of the world in a posing suit-Nicole says it was like the calm before the storm. "With the hard work behind me, it's just about enjoying the moment and having fun."
Part of that fun happened during the first night of the O at "Meet The Olympians," where competitors met fans and signed autographs. It was a place where the size of the crowd at your booth was a sign of your popularity and recognition in the field. "I remember the first year I was there," Nicole says. "I didn't have any line at all. I thought, 'Wouldn't it be awesome to have a line of people who actually knew who I was?'" This year, she had just that.
"It's exciting to know you have that big [of] an impact on people that you never even met before" she says. "I deal with women who've lost 100 pounds or guys who have lost 100 pounds or quit smoking, and they want to tell you about all the positive changes they've made in their life. That's when the reality sets in that you have a huge impact and affect people more than you realize."
It's a level of notoriety Nicole still hasn't gotten used to, and something she never takes for granted. "I'm always hoping people will still want to see me," she says. "I'm hoping that people want to talk to me and come up to my booth. I don't think I'll ever get to a point where I'll expect that. To me, it's very humbling. I'm just doing what I love."
"I went into this sport originally because I wanted it to help my career," she says. "As a personal trainer, I thought it would help my business. I could show people that I could get in good shape too. I still have that mindset."
Nicole won't be quitting figure competition anytime soon. "When you're number one at this, you want to stay number one," she says. "When I feel like I'm not getting that excitement anymore, that's when I'll know it's time to hang up the heels. I don't think I've necessarily reached my full potential yet. I still have room for growth."
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