Bikini Competition Politics - Why You Didn't Win

If you didn’t place how you wanted in a show, and have heard something like “it’s all politics”… this post is for you. We’ll be sharing REAL FEEDBACK from the head judges of the NPC and IFBB to give you the real story of what’s going on.


You’ve worked SO hard to step on stage, you thought you had it in the bag, and then the unthinkable happens… you don’t place how you KNEW you would. A quick response is to “blame it on politics” and find reasons outside ourselves for why things went the way they did is an easy response, but the truth is not what you may have heard.

I’ve been the victim of this thinking too. Thoughts like “well of course that girl beat me… she trains with Coach insert “big name” coach of the day here”. The reality is that the judges literally don’t have time to think about who your coach is, how many times you’ve been in front of them, what designer’s suit you’re wearing, or any other excuse that gets put into the “politics” bucket.

Sorry for the tough love. I had to learn this too. Here are some KEY words from NPC / IFBB Head Judge Becky Clawson :

“… I can tell you I don’t even have time to think about who’s up there.”

Now that’s not Becky saying she’s not doing her job as a judge, that’s her saying she’s focusing on what IS her job as a judge… to critique the athletes on stage for their physique and presentation, and that’s it. If you’ve been on stage you know how quickly things move. You’re literally out there for seconds, MAYBE minutes and that’s all the time the judges have to decide where to put you in call outs. On top of that, it’s important to remember that the top and bottom score for each athlete is thrown out. SO, even if a judge was participating in funny business and trying to score an athlete higher than she deserved, that score would be THROWN OUT. Read that again… IT WONT EVEN IMPACT THE TOTAL.

The moral is, throwing around words like “politics” is poor sportsmanship. You are entering a competition to be judged ON THE WAY YOU LOOK. This is subjective, not objective. It all depends on who shows up that day, and what those judges tend to focus in on. If you want some seriously valuable info, I highly recommend following Becky on Instagram @fitprobecky . She is constantly uploading really authentic advice to her stories, specifically the highlight reel called “Judging Insights.”

So what SHOULD you do?

Ok, so now that I’ve burst your bubble, let’s put things back together. If you didn’t place how you wanted, the MOST important thing to do is get feedback from the judges. And here’s where we are going to get REALLY HONEST WITH YOU… This sport is not about how YOU want to look, it’s about how the JUDGES want you to look. So many times I’ll see athletes saying how much they love their “package” for a show, and then say they got feedback to bring down their glutes but they love their glutes so they’re not gonna do that… then be PISSED when they dont win. UH HELLO?! They told you EXACTLY what to do and you didn’t do it.

Take the judges feedback to heart, and if what they’re asking for isn’t how you want to look in your life, then maybe it’s time to reconsider competing. This happened for me. I placed first regionally and immediately thought “time to go to Nationals!!!!” But then I looked around my team at the women who were going to the national shows and doing well, and their bodies were not something I wanted to actually LIVE with. That wasn’t a look I wanted personally. I mean, they looked absolutely incredible for what they were going for, but that’s just not me. So, I quit. I hung up my heels and dedicated the time I used to spend on prep with my clients and my family. Not saying I won’t ever dust off the ol’ stripper shoes, but I’m very honest with my expectations of a show, how I need to look, and how I’d likely do on stage.

My other piece of advice is to make sure you’re working with a coach who understands all of this and isn't putting the “politics” BS in your head. Nothing makes me more upset than watching a coach throw a fit backstage when their client didn’t place well and say it’s because they’re not the “big team in town.” REALLY? What message are you sending to your athlete. UGH.

I hope this somewhat negative post doesn't bring you down, but clears up your thoughts around how judging goes and how you can improve your scores. I know Becky is happy to answer DM’s personally about all things judging so I highly recommend reaching out to her. I will answer the questions I can, but I’ll ALWAYS turn you over the experts and not try and assume my own answers.

Sending all the love and epic vibes…

Amanda Freick