2012 NPC Wheelchair USA Championships

The 2012 NPC USA Wheelchair Championships were held on Saturday, June 23 in Metaire, Louisiana. Kyle Roberts and Cindi Johnson each won their respective divisions, with Roberts earning the contest’s lone IFBB Pro card. Check out the profiles of the two overall winners below.

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Age: 27
Residence: Lacombe New Orleans
NPC Contest History: 2007: USA Wheelchair Championships, 1st Novice and 1st Lightweight; 2008: USA Wheelchair Championships, 1st Lightweight; 2010: USA Wheelchair Championships, 1st Middlweight; 2012 Wheelchair Championships, 1st Middleweight and Overall*

*Earned IFBB Pro card


BACKGROUND “I was always involved with sports at an early age, always involved with lifting weights. In high school I played pretty much every sport there was, football, basketball, baseball, and track. I But it wasn’t until after I got paralyzed when I actually decided to compete. I got paralyzed at 19 and diagnosed with a brain tumor at 20. I had always wanted to be a professional athlete, it was always a dream of mine. I saw wheelchair bodybuilding as a way to get back involved in a competitive sport, something that I would really have to work hard for.”

MOTIVATION “In April of 2004, I was at a fishing camp in Mississippi. I was upstairs, leaning against a railing. It turned out that the wood was rotten, and the railing collapsed. I flipped off backwards and fell 12 feet to the ground, crushing my spinal cord at the T-10 level. I was paralyzed from the waist down. The first year was really rough. I really didn’t know anything except just try to get out of bed, try to do more than I did the day before. In rehab, they had a cable station and I would just stay on that for hours – one thing that always kept me motivated and somewhat sane was the weights. That actually saved me – weight training and training in general. I got out of rehab on August 18, 2004 and got my gym membership that day. I started training for my first contest that winter.

PRO DREAMS “When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor (in 2009) they really couldn’t get me any information on if it was cancer or not. It was actually the lowest point of my life. I was already involved with bodybuilding and needed something to refocus. I told myself ‘Bran tumor or not, I’m gonna keep going. I don’t care if it kills me or not, I will turn pro’. I had surgery in October of 2010, and they were a

ADAPT AND GROW “I have to get creative mainly with back training. I can’t do barbell bent over rows, so I had to learn how to use an incline bench – put myself at a certain level so I can still breathe and strap myself in with a belt. On days off from training I still go to the gym and mess around with equipment, different styles and try to adapt to exercises I did before I got paralizyed that I still try to do now. You have to adapt and improvise with certain exercises.”

COMPLIMENTS “When people approach me and tell me I’m an inspiration and that I motivate them, I always give them a smile and a compliment becauae a lot of people don’t know anything more than what we are. One thing I always remember and go back to was when I was in the hospital dealing with inpatient rehab. I was the one all the other kids wanted to be. I was independent, I didn’t have brain damage,I wasn’t a quadriplegic . These kids, they look at you and you could see in those eyes, ‘I want to be like you’. From that point on i told myself I’m going to be a role model and don’t want sympathy. Even though we are physically disabled, it doesn’t mean we’re any different than anybody else.”




Age: 42
Residence: Rockford, Illinois
Contest weight:140-145
NPC History/Highlights:2012: USA Wheelchair Championships Overall winner; Grand Prix Natural Championships Overall winner; 2004 (Women’s Bodybuilding): Caveman Classic 3rd Open Middlweight/3rd Novice Heavyweight/2nd Mixed Pairs; 2003 (Women’s Bodybuilding): Caveman Classic, 4th Open Middlweight/3rd Novice Heavyweight; 2001 (Women’s Bodybuilding): Mid-States Muscle Classic, Overall winner

FROM 225 POUNDS TO 110 “I used to be really overweight – I was about 210, 225 pounds. I was trying to quit smoking and made myself a little deal – for all the money I saved from not buying cigarettes, I decided to save enough to join a gym. I trained very hard for one sold year and competed in my first show at 110 pounds. I wanted it bad.”

ON LOSING THE ABILITY TO WALK “I suffered a Grand Mal seizure in December of 2009. It was so severe, I basically broke my back to the point where my sciatic nerve was trapped between two vertebrae – it basically severed and I lost the use of my left leg. I also suffer from one of the rarest forms of multiple sclerosis, called malignant MS – and now the that is starting to take the use of my right leg. The neuropathy that i suffer from is such severe pain – pain is something we suffer from and lie with every second, every minute of every day.”

INSPIRATION “I get on Facebook now more than ever. Since that first show I get more friend requests than I ever did before. I would get on there in the MS groups and would always see that somebody else had it a little worse than I did. That would get me up and into the gym – to do something for myself but also for them. I want to show people, ‘See – you can get out there and do this yourself.’ I want them to know there is a life outside.”

GYM THERAPY “Once i did get in that gym, I would feel normal for once. The guys in the gym would make me forget that this existed for me. I didn’t feel like I was in a wheelchair, I forgot about the pain. I was happy once again – it all melted away for me and I was extremely elated to live in that moment. Being in the gym, it’s a complete and utter rush. I would rather have that kind of muscular pain any day.”

ON COMPETING “Competing is something that is pretty emotional for me. I’ve hated my wheelchair from second it was introduced to my life. But when I went on stage for the firest time and then came off – I felt like not only could i fly, but like I could actually get up and walk. In my night show I took a chance and stood up to do my ab shot, kind of for my MS friends – just to to kind of say ‘MS can kiss my ass’.”