Bev Francis was born on 15 February 1955 in Geelong, Australia. She started doing ballet which she did for 15 years. After school she went on to study at the University of Melbourne where she did a degree in physical education and then became a Physical Education teacher.
She then stopped doing ballet and started powerlifting and found herself getting stronger so she started competing in athletics where she won a national shot put contest beating the women’s Australian distance for throwing a shot put. She later went on to break over 40 different powerlifting records as well as winning six powerlifting world championships.
She then decided to start bodybuilding and was welcomed into the community as a judge when she moved to New York where she continued to compete as a power-lifter. She got a lot of publicity when she became the first women to bench-press over 300 pounds.
The result was that she got her picture in all major bodybuilding and powerlifting magazines doing the most muscular pose or "the crab" wearing a bikini. She did not have an extremely low body-fat at the time so bodybuilders all over the world started asking what she would look like in a bodybuilding show.
It was Bev Francis as the strongest women in the world who started the debate about the difference between femininity and female muscularity. Because Bev had a naturally massive size as well as the addition of a lot of muscular development she immediately challenged any preconceived notions on the limits of female bodybuilding.
Bev was a born fighter and despite her not winning on her debut in bodybuilding in 1983 she continued to try and anticipate what the judges would require in making the connection between femininity and muscularity. She even had a nose job and dyed her hair to look more feminine.
She spent years figuring out exactly how to make her body more symmetrical and still maintain the size she had built up from doing powerlifting. Her persistence paid off finally when she won the World Championship in 1987. She continued to always make improvements to her physique.
However she came in second place to Lenda Murry in 1990 Ms Olympia as her physique was criticized for not showing the fullness or muscularity that was required. This only made Bev more motivated and she decided to get as massive as symmetrically possible in order to compete again at the 1991 Olympia where she came in 2nd again.
Bev finally decided to retire from female bodybuilding and live near her gym, which she managed and owned in Syosset, New York and the gym became very successful which is what she did after she retired and she still lives there. She was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2000 and is married with 2 daughters.
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