Carla Dunlap Gallery

Carla Dunlap
Carla Dunlap

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Carla Dunlap’s life journey is a testament to determination and exceptional talent. Born in 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, she embarked on a remarkable sporting career that spanned different disciplines before achieving legendary status in bodybuilding. As a young athlete, her journey began with gymnastics at the age of 10, where she displayed a natural aptitude for physical activities. Her innate athleticism soon led her to the world of competitive sports.

In addition to gymnastics, Dunlap ventured into swimming, excelling in both speed and synchronized swimming. Her dedication and prowess in the pool were evident when she clinched the gold medal in synchronized swimming at the 1977 Junior National Team Championships. The following year, she continued to make waves in the sports world, securing a bronze medal at the inaugural National Sports Festival in 1978. Her achievements in swimming were a testament to her exceptional athleticism and dedication to excelling in sports.

However, Carla Dunlap’s journey didn’t stop there. Her pursuit of excellence extended beyond the realm of athletics. She attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts on a full scholarship, where she honed her artistic talents and earned a degree in Advertising Design. This experience not only broadened her horizons but also laid the foundation for her future endeavors in bodybuilding.

Carla Dunlap’s foray into the world of bodybuilding came as an unexpected twist in her already multifaceted journey. In 1979, following the suggestion of Steve Wennerstrom, she decided to enter the “Best in the World” bodybuilding contest. Remarkably, she had never trained for bodybuilding before, yet her natural athleticism and unwavering determination shone through. Out of 45 entrants, she secured an impressive fifth place, marking the beginning of her remarkable bodybuilding career.

Recognizing her potential, Carla Dunlap began serious training for bodybuilding in the subsequent year, quickly ascending to compete successfully in top-level amateur contests. Her dedication and hard work paid off when she emerged as the champion at the NPC Nationals in both 1981 and 1982. However, her most triumphant year arrived in 1983, during which she achieved outstanding success in bodybuilding. This remarkable year saw her clinch victory in three prestigious professional competitions, including the coveted Ms. Olympia contest. Notably, she had narrowly missed the Ms. Olympia title to Rachel McLish by a mere two points in 1982, making her 1983 victory all the more impressive.

In addition to her individual accomplishments, Carla Dunlap also showcased her versatility by winning the World Professional Mixed Pairs title alongside Tony Pearson in both 1984 and 1988. What sets her apart in the world of bodybuilding is the unique distinction of being the only female bodybuilder to have competed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, showcasing her enduring dedication and timeless talent.

Carla Dunlap’s contributions to the world of bodybuilding did not go unnoticed. Her significant impact on the sport led to her induction into the IFBB Hall of Fame in January 1999, a well-deserved recognition of her outstanding career. Furthermore, in June 2009, she received the honor of being inducted into the AOBS Hall Of Fame (Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongmen), solidifying her status as a legendary figure in the realm of strength and athleticism.

Beyond the contest stage, Carla Dunlap extended her influence into the world of media and entertainment. She appeared in the bodybuilding documentaries “Women Of Iron” in 1984, alongside fellow competitor Deborah Diana, and “Pumping Iron II: The Women” in 1985. Her participation in these films allowed her to share her experiences and insights with a broader audience.

Dunlap’s exceptional abilities were further acknowledged when she was selected by ABC to represent women’s bodybuilding in the women’s Superstars competition in 1984. In a field of eleven competitors, she finished seventh, demonstrating her versatility as an athlete. Moreover, Carla Dunlap became a familiar face on ESPN’s BodyShaping series from 1990 to 1995, where she continued to inspire and motivate viewers through her fitness expertise.

In the world of bodybuilding and fitness, Dunlap’s insights and knowledge extended to broadcasting, as she served as a color commentator for bodybuilding and fitness telecasts for major networks such as NBC, U.S., and ESPN. Her role as a commentator allowed her to contribute to the coverage and analysis of various sporting events, further solidifying her presence in the sports and fitness world.

As of October 22, 2023, Carla Dunlap remains a prominent figure in the realm of fitness and bodybuilding, and her journey continues to inspire generations of athletes and enthusiasts. Her legacy is a testament to the remarkable achievements that can be realized through talent, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to one’s passions.

Carla Dunlap Bodybuilding Competition History

1979
Best in the World – IFBB, 5th

1980
Ms America – AAU, Overall Winner
American Championships – AFWB, 3rd
Ms Atlantic States – AAU, Winner
Superbowl of Bodybuilding – PBA, Overall Winner
USA Championships – SPA, 9th

1981
American Championships – AFWB, HeavyWeight, 1st
American Championships – AFWB, Overall Winner
Night of Champions – IFBB, Winner
USA Championships – NPC, MiddleWeight, 2nd
World Games, HeavyWeight, 4th
World Pro Championships – IFBB, 4th

1982
Nationals – NPC, HeavyWeight, 1st
Nationals – NPC, Overall Winner
Olympia – IFBB, 2nd
USA Championships – NPC, HeavyWeight, 2nd

1983
Grand Prix Las Vegas – IFBB, Winner
Olympia – IFBB, Winner
World Pro Championships – IFBB, Winner

1984
Grand Prix Las Vegas – IFBB, Winner
Olympia – IFBB, 4th
World Pro Championships – IFBB, 2nd

1985
Olympia – IFBB, 4th

1986
Olympia – IFBB, 9th

1987
Olympia – IFBB, 12th

1988
Olympia – IFBB, 10th
World Pro Championships – IFBB, 10th

1993
Ms International – IFBB, 13th

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