Rachel McLish

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Rachel McLish
Personal Info
Born(1955-06-21) June 21, 1955 (age 57)
Harlingen, Texas, United States
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight129 lb (59 kg)
Professional Career
Best winMs. Olympia two times, 1980 and 1982
PredecessorNo predecessor
Successor

Kike Elomaa

Carla Dunlap
ActiveRetired 1984
 
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Rachel McLish
Personal Info
Born(1955-06-21) June 21, 1955 (age 57)
Harlingen, Texas, United States
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight129 lb (59 kg)
Professional Career
Best winMs. Olympia two times, 1980 and 1982
PredecessorNo predecessor
Successor

Kike Elomaa

Carla Dunlap
ActiveRetired 1984

Rachel McLish (born June 21, 1955) née Raquel Livia Elizondo is an American female bodybuilding champion, actress and author. She had the greatest mainstream presence of any female bodybuilder in the sport's early years. She also might've been the most influential bodybuilder as far as getting women of her generation, who grew up when girls/young women often were discouraged from athletic activity by cultural mores or lack of opportunity, to compete in contests or just join a gym to build muscle tone.

Contents

Early life and education

McLish was born in 1955 in Harlingen, Texas. She attended Pan American University. Her father was of Spanish ancestry.[1]

Bodybuilding career

McLish's win in the inaugural Ms. Olympia competition in 1980 became a landmark moment for women's bodybuilding. In the year before her win, women's bodybuilding had gained trendy mainstream media notice, including features on the popular television show Real People and the large enterprise story of the Mar. 17, 1980 Sports Illustrated. The sport lacked a galvanizing icon, however. Lisa Lyon and Stacey Bentley (motto: "Power not at the expense of grace") had lithe, well-toned bodies, but too little muscle for many hardcore fans. Laura Combs, the first women considered to have big arms, and Claudia Wilbourn (motto: "no smiles, no wiles, just muscle") were too muscular for all but the most extreme women's bodybuilding fans of the day. Combs, Wilbourn, thirtysomething athletes who took up bodybuilding such as Cammie Lusko and Kay Baxter (1979 version) often projected more an adult tomboy aura.

Then came Rachel. Her physique satisfied the hardcore fans with mid-bell-curve size in her upper body, above average size in her lower body and above average definition. Her frame, described as an "A-type" by Flex Magazine in 1984, more than hinted at a traditional "hourglass" with medium shoulder width, a small waist and hips slightly broad compared to the rest of her frame. McLish possessed curvaceous thighs and calves, but her look combined everything. Well-tanned with long black hair and the dark-eyed beauty often identified with those of Spanish descent, McLish exuded heat. She moved dynamically onstage. Whatever anyone thought of her physique, no one could deny this was a sexy, confident, charismatic woman. She was what many women want to be, and many men like to see. She satisfied all factions tractable to women's bodybuilding.

That package served her well in beating second-place Auby Paulick at the 1980 Olympia and edging Carla Dunlap in the 1982 Olympia. Both Paulick and Dunlap brought more muscle than McLish in those respective contests. McLish had a structural advantage on Paulick, whose eight-pack of abs and broad shoulders couldn't hide her thick waist, that she didn't have on Dunlap. In fact, other female bodybuilders solidly voted Dunlap as the world's best female bodybuilder in a late 1982 Women's Physique Publication poll. But neither Paulick nor Dunlap could match McLish's overall appeal. McLish finished second in the 1981 Olympia to Finland's Kike Elomaa when McLish wasn't as defined as usual.

After her 1980 Olympia win, no woman appeared on more magazine covers for the next five years. She got sponsored by Dynamics Health Equipment Manufacturing Corporation. Dunlap defeated her in the 1983 Ceasar's World Cup contest created for the movie Pumping Iron II: the Women. She finished a controversial second behind Cory Everson in the 1984 Ms. Olympia. As quoted by several magazines covering the event, some competitors expressed surprise at McLish's placement because she didn't carry the muscle mass carried by many of the top women. Though Dunlap, who finished fifth, was the defending Ms. Olympia, the cover of the March 1985 Strength Training for Beauty's March 1985 cover declared "Cory dethrones Rachel." In a sense, they were right. Everson assumed McLish's place as the total package role model for the next generation of bodybuilders. McLish continued to be the face of female bodybuilding outside the fitness industry into the late 1980s.

In January 1999, McLish was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame.

Contest history

Motion picture career

She was featured in the 1985 documentary Pumping Iron II: The Women, and acted in the movies Getting Physical (1984), Aces: Iron Eagle III (1992) and Raven Hawk (1996). These involved her acting the part of a physically strong woman. She was one of the first women to take such a role, and was followed successfully in this by fellow Ms Olympian, Cory Everson. Rachel McLish was also a star in Herb Alpert 'Red Hot' music video.[2]

Author

McLish has authored two books on weight training for women that made the New York Times bestseller list - Flex Appeal, by Rachel (1984, ISBN 0-446-38105-5), and Perfect Parts (1987, hardcover ISBN 0-446-77815-X, softcover ISBN 0-446-38534-4).

Personal life

While attending Pan American University, she met John McLish; they were married in March 1979. Rachel McLish currently lives in Rancho Mirage, California, and is now married to film producer Ron Samuels. She recently sold her house for $3.0 million to Boston Red Sox player Coco Crisp [1].

References

  • Todd, Jan, "Rachel McLish", St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture, Gale Group, 1999

External links

Ms. Olympia
Preceded by:
-
First (1980)Succeeded by:
Kike Elomaa
Preceded by:
Kike Elomaa
Second (1982)Succeeded by:
Carla Dunlap