Rachel McLish

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Rachel McLish[1]
— Bodybuilder —
Personal info
Born (1955-06-21) June 21, 1955 (age 59)[1]
Harlingen, Texas, U.S.[1]
Height 5 ft 6.5 in (1.69 m)[2]
Weight 129 lb (59 kg)
Professional career
Pro-debut IFBB Ms. Olympia[3], 1980
Best win IFBB Ms. Olympia champion[3], 1980 and 1982[3]
Predecessor None[3]
Successor Kike Elomaa
Carla Dunlap[3]
Active Retired 1984[3]

Rachel Livia Elizondo McLish (born June 21, 1955) is an American female bodybuilding champion, actress, and author.[4][5][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Rachel McLish was born as Raquel Livia Elizondo in 1955 in Harlingen, Texas, the second-youngest daughter born. Her father Rafael was of Spanish ancestry and her mother is named Raquel Elizondo. She attended the Harlingen High School, where she was a cheerleader and twice-named Cardinal’s Football Sweetheart. She graduating high school in 1973. In 1978, she graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American with a degree in physiology and health and nutrition.[5][2][4]

Bodybuilding career[edit]

Amateur[edit]

While attending college, McLish worked at a health club in McAllen, Texas. The club was six miles from her college and she had 10 minute to get from school to work. When she graduated college, she and the manager of the health club she worked at formed a partnerships and founded the Sport Palace Association in Harlingen. With the success of the Sport Palace Association, she opened two more facilities in Corpus Christi and Brownsville in 1980. She was inspired to compete in bodybuilding thanks to Lisa Lyon and the men's club manager, Javier Gutierrez, who would show her magazines of female bodybuilders and told her to compete. She decided to compete because the opening of her new health club would coincide with a women's bodybuilding contest and bodybuilding would give her a platform to promote fitness to women.[5][6]

Professional[edit]

McLish merits special historical significance in the sport of women’s bodybuilding. In 1980, she won the inaugural United States Championships, as well as beating Auby Paulick to win that year’s first-ever IFBB Ms. Olympia contest. 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. These breakthrough victories, together with her’s visual appeal, brought women’s bodybuilding a further rush of media attention, which had been jump-started into action by Lisa Lyon.[1][3]

In a competitive career that spanned only four years, McLish proved a resilient force, with her never placing lower than third in any contest she entered. In 1981, she lost her Ms. Olympia title to Kike Elomaa, because she wasn't as defined as usual. At the 1982 Ms. Olympia she beat Carla Dunlap to reclaim her title. Both Paulick and Dunlap brought more muscle than McLish in those respective contests. But neither Paulick nor Dunlap could match McLish's overall appeal. Dunlap defeated her in the 1983 Caesar's World Cup contest. She finished a controversial second behind Cory Everson in the 1984 Ms. Olympia. As quoted by several magazines covering the event[citation needed], 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."[1][3]

Retirement[edit]

After finishing third at the 1984 IFBB Ms. Olympia, McLish retired from competitive bodybuilding.[1][3]

Legacy[edit]

McLish was the first winner of the Ms. Olympia title. She is one of bodybuilding’s most recognizable personalities. In January 1999, she was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame.[1]

Contest history[edit]

  • 1980 US Bodybuilding Championship – 1st
  • 1980 Frank Zane Invitational – 2nd
  • 1980 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 1st
  • 1981 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 2nd
  • 1982 Pro World Championship – 1st
  • 1982 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 1st
  • 1983 Caesars World Cup – 3rd
  • 1984 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 2nd[3]

Personal life[edit]

McLish is a Christian and describes herself a compassionate conservative. She has a sister named Sandra Lopez. While attending Pan American University, she met John P. McLish, whom she married on February 3, 1979. They would later divorce. In 1990, she married film producer Ron Samuels. She and her husband lived in Rancho Mirage, California in 1996.[7] In 2008, she sold her house for $3 million to Boston Red Sox player Coco Crisp.[2][8][9]

Motion picture career[edit]

McLish was featured in the 1985 documentary Pumping Iron II: The Women which focused on her participation in the 1983 Caesar’s World Cup. She also 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. She was also a star in Herb Alpert 'Red Hot' music video.[2][10]

Author[edit]

McLish has authored two books on weight training for women that made the New York Times bestseller listFlex Appeal, by Rachel, and Perfect Parts. She is now working on two books that focus on fitness and nutrition.[5][11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g IFBB Rachel McLish
  2. ^ a b c d e Biography
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rachel McLish
  4. ^ a b Hispanic role in America
  5. ^ a b c d PBS project features bodybuilder McLish
  6. ^ Iron Magazine Rachel McLish
  7. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). Palm Springs Celebrity Homes: Little Tuscany, Racquet Club, Racquet Club Estates and Desert Park Estates Neighborhoods (Kindle). Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 429 (Kindle location number). ASIN B00A2PXD1G. 
  8. ^ Former Ms. Olympia Rachel McLish's Rancho Mirage home sold to Boston Red Sox player Coco Crisp
  9. ^ Facebook
  10. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNZBRRYuj3I
  11. ^ Flex Appeal by Rachel
  12. ^ Perfect Parts: A World Champions Guide to Spot Slimming Shaping and Strengthening Your Body

External links[edit]

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