Ellen van Maris missed winning a major professional title during her illustrious competitive career, but the dynamic blonde’s presence in six straight Ms. Olympia contests from 1984 to 1989 helped redefine what women could achieve muscularly.
As an amateur, van Maris qualified for the pro ranks – after winning the Dutch Championships in 1983 – by winning the 1984 IFBB World Amateur Championships as a lightweight.
Van Maris then spent six years in an all-out effort to become one of the sport’s best competitors. She reached that goal in 1987 when she finished second to Cory Everson at the Ms. Olympia. A year earlier, she had finished third and was being touted as a legitimate challenger to Everson’s dominance at the world’s most prestigious women’s bodybuilding event.
As fate would have it, during these early years, van Maris found herself enveloped in what was a roller coaster of changing aesthetics and judging guidelines. After fifth-place finishes in the 1988 and ’89 Ms. Olympia events – results van Maris considered failures in her quest to reach the top – she retired from the sport entirely.
Ellen van Maris was always consistent in her training beliefs and philosophy of the sport. She once said "bodybuilding is about building muscle and building your physique to its maximum capability."
Hall of Fame Inductees for 2004