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Sandy Williamson, NPC and IFBB Pro League Official

Submitted by IFBB Pro League Staff


*Photograph by JM Manion

Date of Birth, Place of Birth:
I was born on February 10, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan.

I attended Wilson High School and, in 1973, obtained my Nursing Degree from the Reading Hospital School of Nursing.

For the past 35 years, I have been employed as an Adult Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse
( ICU RN).

Current City of Residence:
I currently live in Riverside, California, U.S.A.

Athletic Background:
In High School, I lettered in Tennis and played Field Hockey. For the past 25 years, I have enjoyed competing in local 10K, half-marathons and marathons. I also have 18 years experience as an Aerobic Instructor.

IFBBPRO.com – How did you first get started in the "physique" field?
I was diagnosed with anorexia in 1973, which I battled for about 5 years. During that time, my ex-husband, who was a powerlifter, convinced me to start training in a gym with weights. We went to see the first Ms. Olympia in 1980 in Philadelphia. Once I saw Rachel McLish, I was hooked. I then met Candy Csencsits, who was responsible for getting me involved in judging.

IFBBPRO.com – When did you first get involved in the National Physique Committee of the U.S.A., the NPC?
I actually was involved in the American Federation of Women Bodybuilders, the A.F.W.B., in 1982 and then became involved in the NPC when they took over the A.F.W.B. in 1984.

Sandy and John Carl Mese representing the U.S.A.
at the 1987 IFBB International Congress in Madrid, Spain
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – You were the USA delegate, along with John Carl Mese, at the 1987 IFBB International Congress in Madrid, Spain. Was this your first IFBB Congress?
Yes, it was. My first IFBB Women’s World Amateur Bodybuilding Championships was in 1986 in Singapore. Mae Mollica, who was at the time Chairperson of the NPC and IFBB Women’s Committee, couldn’t attend so Jim Manion, then Chairman of the NPC and IFBB Vice President for North America, asked me to attend instead.

IFBBPRO.com – In 1988, at the IFBB International Congress in Brisbane, Australia, you were named to the IFBB Women’s Committee as North American Representative and worked with Chairperson Carol Graham from Australia. How did it feel to play a key role in the pioneering of women’s bodybuilding?
In one word … wonderful! I have always felt that weight training, along with the nutritional aspects of bodybuilding, are the best way for women to maintain their physiques. Being part of this sport and the NPC and IFBB has changed my life in so many ways … from the physical training and healthy eating that is so crucial to a fit lifestyle; to the wonderful friendships that I have made around the world. Because of bodybuilding, I had the rare opportunity to travel far and wide and to see so much more of the world than would have normally been possible.

Sandy, member of the IFBB Women’s Committee,
with Chairwoman Carol Graham (Australia)
at the 1988 IFBB International Congress in Brisbane, Australia
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – In 1989, at the Paris Congress, you were appointed Secretary of the IFBB Judges Committee and began working with Dr. Rafael Santonja, then Chairman, now IFBB President. What impact on the sport did you want to make, or hope to make, as Secretary of the Judges Committee and member of the IFBB Executive Council?
I was very honored that IFBB President Ben Weider, with the full support of IFBB Vice President for North America Jim Manion, appointed me to this position, considering the many thousands of people worldwide that are involved in growing the sport. I have always prided myself on the personal integrity I bring to the judging table and I felt privileged to be in a position to work towards elevating the standard of judging worldwide. Additionally, I strongly believe it was important to have more women involved in the judging. At that time, there weren’t many women on international judging panels. I recall many contests where I was the only female judge. I’m very pleased to see the progress made in this area.

IFBBPRO.com – How have you seen the sport of women’s bodybuilding evolve throughout the ’80s and ’90s? Where does it currently stand?
Obviously the sport has changed tremendously over the years, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. Even though the number of women bodybuilders has decreased over the years, I truly believe there will always be women that want to see how far they can take their physiques. My one regret is that, as judges, we weren’t consistent with our judging.

Sandy (back row, third from left), Secretary of the IFBB Judges Committee
and Member of the IFBB Executive Council
at the 1989 IFBB International Congress in Paris, France
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – Your thoughts on the evolution of Fitness and Figure?
I love Fitness! It’s a sport that involves not only the physique but as well, the athletic ability of the competitor. I was also very pleased when Figure became a sport discipline. I knew of so many women who trained hard but who didn’t want to compete in bodybuilding because of the amount of muscle needed to be competitive. Figure is the perfect avenue for these women. It’s always good to have a goal to train for. I liken the Figure competitor to the hundreds of thousands of people who run. The numerous 10K and marathons give these people a goal to train for and the same can be said for the many thousands of women that go to the gym everyday to make themselves better. The Fitness and Figure competitions give these women a goal to train for.

IFBBPRO.com – At the 1992 Congress in Graz, Austria, you received the IFBB President’s Gold Medal from Ben Weider, given only to a few select people around the world each year for outstanding achievement as an IFBB official. What were your thoughts on receiving such a prestigious award?
It was a distinct honor to be chosen from the many thousands of people around the world who dedicate their lives to promote the IFBB and the sport.

Sandy presenting her annual report to the IFBB Executive Council
at the 1990 IFBB International Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Seated to her right is Dr. Bob Goldman (USA), Chairman IFBB Medical Committee, and
Jim Manion (USA), IFBB Vice-President for North America
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – At the 1999 Congress in Bratislava, Slovakia, Ben Weider presented you with the IFBB’s highest award – the Oscar Statement Memorial Award – given each year to the top official [administrator] in the IFBB. How did it feel to be so honored?
Obviously, wonderful to be recognized for the work that I had done over the years, especially since this is only given to one person each year.

IFBBPRO.com – After 1999, you limited your IFBB travel to the Women’s World Amateur Championships only. What was the reason for cutting back on your trips abroad?
I lost my mom in 2000 and realized that I wasn’t spending enough time with my family due to the amount of travel that I was doing. So, I decided to cut back on some of my travel to have more time with my family. I do miss the international travel and hope to be able to attend some of the congress’s in the future.

Sandy has always been a passionate advocate
for women’s involvement in sport as athletes,
judges, officials, and administrators.  Here she
presents her annual report at the
1991 IFBB International Congress in Katowice, Poland
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – Any sport-related disappointments that you care to share. How do you handle disappointments?
I can honestly say that the sport has given me so much over the years so I really don’t have any disappointments. Having said this, I generally believe that you have to always look for the positive and learn from life’s disappointments. You can’t let the negatives take hold of your life!


Your favorite food? Vanilla ice cream.

Your least favorite food? Tuna.

Your favorite movie? The Harry Potter series.

Your favorite TV show? I like shows that are light-hearted, such as Home Improvement and Sex in the City.

What types of music do you like? Rock and Roll.

Favorite songs? Any Bon Jovi song.

Any hobbies? Hiking, walking & reading.

How do you spend your leisure time?
With my family and 4 dogs.

Do you have any pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t accept responsibility and accountability for their actions and look to blame others
when things aren’t going right.

Sandy (far left) seated at the IFBB Executive Council table
at the 1992 IFBB International Congress in Graz, Austria.  Seated to her immediate left
is Jim Manion, IFBB Vice President for North America, Eric Weider, IFBB General Secretary,
Dr. Rafael Santonja, IFBB Executive Assistant to the President [now IFBB President], and Ben Weider.
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – Your thoughts on the IFBB Professional League?
I think the Pro League gives the athletes a sport that they can be proud of. Over the 25 years that I’ve been involved, the contests have gone from high school gyms to theaters and convention centers and the prize money continually increases. The sport would definitely not be where it is today without Joe and Ben Weider. And the Pro League couldn’t have a better Chairman than Jim Manion because he really cares about the athlete. The Pro League gives the professional athlete a say in how their sport is governed.

IFBBPRO.com – Do you have a mentor? Individuals you looked/look up to? People who supported/support you who you’d like to thank?
Besides my husband Ted, my biggest mentor and supporter is Jim Manion. I don’t think the sport, especially in the USA, would be anything like it is today without him. I have watched Jim evolve with the sport over the years and I can honestly say he really cares about the athletes, promoters and sponsors. Internationally, I would have to say Pam Kagan. She gives endlessly of herself no matter where she is. She is always wonderful to every person that she comes into contact with.

Sandy at the 1993 IFBB International
Congress in Seoul, Korea
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

IFBBPRO.com – Do you have a life motto or "words to live by"? A philosophy of life?
I always say if you have your health nothing else matters. Life is short so take advantage of each day.

IFBBPRO.com – As a Registered Nurse in ICU, you must lead a very hectic life. How do you find time to do all the work you do with the NPC and Pro League … and all the traveling?
It is hard but I love being involved in the sport. I did cut back on some of my traveling in recent years to be able to spend more time with my parents before they passed away and now my in-laws since they are getting up there in age.

IFBBPRO.com – Any final thoughts?
I am grateful to the sport for all it has given me over the years. I have made so many friends throughout the world and was able to see most of the world because of the sport. It has definitely helped make me into the person I am today. It never ceases to amaze me the dedication of the athletes that compete in our sport. I have been overseas with women who were mothers, worked full time, coached Little League and still found time to train, diet and compete on a national and international level. I really think we have some amazing people in our sport.


Throughout my 60-year term as President of the International Federation of BodyBuilders, I have had the privilege of knowing a great many people – athletes, judges, officials, administrators and supporters of our sport and federation.

When I first met Sandy in the late ‘70s, I knew that she was destined to play an important role in the development of women’s bodybuilding. I was pleased when she was elected Secretary of the IFBB Judges Committee in 1989 because I recognized in her a passion for the sport and a keen sense of commitment to the growth of women’s bodybuilding and later, fitness and figure.

Sandy is a pioneer in the true sense of the word. During the early stages of women’s bodybuilding, Sandy played a vital role in all important decisions affecting the sport. As a member of the Judges Committee, Sandy brought a high degree of integrity to her duties and responsibilities. In 1999, I was honored to present her with the Oscar State Memorial Award, given each year to the top IFBB official worldwide.

Sandy is a tireless worker; highly motivated, dedicated, and loyal. Despite a high-stress job, Sandy gave freely of her time and energy and championed increased women’s involvement in our sport and federation, not only as athletes but also, as judges and officials.

Sandy continues to play an invaluable role in the National Physique Committee of the USA and in the IFBB Professional League.

Ben Weider, O.C., C.St.J, C.Q., Ph.D.
IFBB Founder and Honorary Life President
President, IFBB Professional League

Ben Weider presenting Sandy with the
at the 1999 IFBB International Congress in Bratislava, Slovakia
*Photograph courtesy of Weider

As a member of the NPC Board of Governors and an IFBB official, Sandy Williamson serves as our Women’s Representative.  She is an efficient, dedicated official that our sport is proud of.  Her talents span a quarter century and promise to continue into the future.

Sandy spends an inordinate amount of time working with the women athletes.  The positive results can be seen in the enormous growth of women in our sport.

Her dedication extends beyond one gender as she frequently uses her professional talents to assist male bodybuilders with their concerns.  Her efforts are always praised by those that receive her guidance.

Sandy has consistently supported the ideals of the National Physique Committee of the U.S.A., Inc., the IFBB and the IFBB Professional League.

Simply said, Sandy is a great official and wonderful friend to me and my wife Debbie.

Jim Manion
Chairman, National Physique Committee of the U.S.A., Inc
IFBB Vice President for North America

Chairman, IFBB Professional League

Sandy Williamson, NPC/IFBB Pro League Official,
and Jim Manion, Chairman, NPC and IFBB Pro League
at the 2008 California Pro Figure
*Photograph by JM Manion

I have had the distinct honor and pleasure to have known Sandy for almost 30 years and I have attended many IFBB international amateur events where Sandy, as Secretary of the IFBB Judges Committee, lent her invaluable expertise to ensure the judging was conducted to the highest standards.

Sandy is one of the most dedicated, committed and loyal IFBB officials I have ever met. As an ICU Registered Nurse, Sandy works in a high-pressure environment and leads an extremely hectic life. Despite this, she was always available when needed. I enjoyed very much her company and friendly, outgoing personality and, apart from the work that she and I were involved in at IFBB World Championships, we made time to get to know each other and became good friends.

Congratulations Sandy on your success!

Pamela Kagan
IFBB Executive Director

I have known Sandy for 20 years, as colleagues on both the IFBB Executive Council and IFBB Professional League Committee. Additionally, I have attended a number of Women’s World Amateur Championships at which Sandy was Head Judge.

Sandy brings to the judging table and committee boardroom an unparalleled level of dedication, conscientiousness, professionalism and expertise, coupled with uncompromising integrity. Sandy’s outgoing, positive, friendly and helpful nature make her a pleasure to work with. Her knowledge, experience and skill in judging physique competition is unequaled, which is why competitor’s gladly welcome and sincerely appreciate her willingness to candidly discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Over the years, Sandy has been, and continues to be, a very strong advocate for women in sport. Her contributions towards the growth and development of women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure make her a true pioneer.

The fact that Sandy, with a busy career as an ICU nurse, still finds time to lead a very hectic life in sport speaks volumes to her selfless passion for bodybuilding, fitness, figure and the NPC and Pro League.

Tony Blinn
Chairman, IFBB Technical Committee
General Secretary, IFBB Professional League
Webmaster, IFBBPRO.com

I have worked side by side as a head judge with Sandy for the past twenty five years and she is so dedicated and thoughtful doing what she does in her position as the Woman’s Representative in both the NPC and IFBB that I am so thrilled she is being recognized for her accomplishments.

Working as a full time nurse and being able to check hundreds of figure, fitness and women’s bodybuilding entries for all the national shows is no small task! In her capacity as head judge for the women, she goes way out of her way every show to make sure she is able to talk to any athlete that may approach her after a show. She takes numerous notes on each woman she judges and we often confer on this as the show goes on.

It’s one thing to be a great judge. It’s another thing to be both a great judge and a caring one. That is Sandy! She knows what it feels like to be on that stage and she really wants to help each competitor realize as much of their dreams as possible. I consider myself so lucky to call her my friend and I look forward to working with her for many years to come.

Jim Rockell
Head Judge
IFBB Professional League



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