Sixty years old. Only 5'3." No drugs, no surgery. Just genetics, heavy iron and a lot of food!
NEW! Check out this video clip of Linda's 65th birthday... you won't believe it!
Wood Hoyte: Sixty, Sexy and Strong
The Roseland Ballroom, NYC, 5 Nov 1993:
The commotion begins at the rear of the audience, a throng 1300 strong, jammed in the pitch-black space facing the stage. An awkward arrangement- longer than wide, this room was built for the Swing era, not the static clustering it will see before the century’s end- boxing, big birthday bashes, Prince, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones. But this crowd is patient, perhaps even cowed. This is something different and they know it. Something new: "A Celebration of The Most Awesome Female Muscle in The World," it’s historic -perhaps seminal- and the audience has just witnessed some incredible sights up there onstage. They’ve seen an array of superbly-muscled women, like Paula Suzuki, an Asian powerlifter-cum-bodybuilder whose back is the stuff of legend, and the doe-eyed Christa Bauch, outfitted with a sword and chain-mail, posing in operatic passion to Wagner. They’ve seen one young lady throw three hundred pounds overhead, another yank five hundred off the floor. And unlike the usual gatherings of sinew, this flesh-fest is devoid of competitive tension - this is a performance, not a contest. No narrowed eyes, no tortured faces, no hisses. Everyone’s in this together.
A spotlight picks up a procession through the crowd, accompanied by choral music and a staccato of flashbulbs. The brief glare reveals the head, shoulders and arms of a woman decked out as Cleopatra. The rest of her is hidden by the throne-litter, borne aloft by a quartet of muscular men festooned as slaves. The procession reaches the stage. Cleopatra climbs out to ascend her throne, doffing her robe and we see the rest of her. She’s pretty. Her skin is smooth and glowing. She’s muscular too; if her contours aren’t quite as exaggerated as those of the German girl, she’s got enough happening to earn a din of whistles and applause. Now Mark Antony enters, in the form of an impeccably proportioned and chiseled Adonis named Ron Coleman, shooing off the genuflecting beefcake ("Be gone!") and leading Cleopatra into a steamy tango. The men appraise her hungrily during this mock drama, the women wistfully. When it concludes with the two collapsed together on the floor, the crowd erupts into applause. It’s then the MC drops the bombshell: "Linda Wood-Hoyte, ladies and gentlemen…in two months, she’ll be 51!" There’s an instant of stunned silence…then it really gets loud.
In an irony doubtless missed by most of the throng, the marquee of the theatre next door trumpets Richard Chamberlain in My Fair Lady. As Professor 'enry 'iggins, Chamberlain will raise eyebrows and scorn in his Galatean experiment, transforming a street waif into an upper-crust bombshell. Disdained to divine. Nobody from the press here-Fortune, The New Yorker, Penthouse, Playboy, MS, and The Village Voice- seems to catch this. They attend out of curiosity about this oddity, this outrageous display of female distortion so close to Broadway, the province of High Art and linchpin of New York's international greatness, noting as The New Yorker does in a cartoon featuring husky she-males with men flung over their shoulders, a freak-show, an alternative art-form troubled by a misguided embracement of androgyny. Reverence, always doled out in miserly fashion by the media, isn’t about to be wasted here.
They’ve missed something else as well –not only the press, but most of the audience, the latter seeing themselves as aficionados of something esoteric and incommunicable: this is far more than a mere subculture with no feasible connection to the outside world. There are answers here to big questions our society can’t stop repeating. And no one at the Roseland on this night, no one, holds more alluring promise to those answers than that ebony Cleopatra lady provocatively semi-swathed in white and gold.
It’s not enough to say she doesn’t look her age. Linda Wood-Hoyte doesn’t look her generation. In fact she makes most twenty-somethings look lame. She can walk into most gyms and be the best-built person, of either gender, in it. All this without drugs, without surgery, without gimmicks.
The public’s never heard of Linda. Why? Because the public, their media, and the multi-billion dollar commercial interests which pull the strings have decided that they don’t want to know about Linda. You see, most of them have already accepted all the bad press and dogma about these "women who look like men." They’ve seen the caricatures, the magazine photographs of enormous grimacing gargoyles of tortured contour and veiny skin. As they exist outside the public’s frame of reference, the public has no trouble rejecting them as an aberration.
And for most men, they embody a primal nightmare. The commercial interests know that and will try to steer them elsewhere, assuring them that the women they really want to lure with their discretionary expenditures look like the ones in the men’s and women’s magazines.
So…most women are being robbed of their health, their faces, their figures and their futures- by those same multi-billion dollar commercial interests who feed on their misconceptions. Of course they all want a firm, strong, body with curves in all the right places, enhanced sexuality, more energy and age reversal. Of course they even think there are secrets, contained in some pill or plan, which will transform them into svelte youthful head-turners overnight. An entire industry exists to oblige them in that fallacy, or at least to separate them from their cash, with a bewildering array of diets, books, tapes, pills, surgery, and gimmicks. Over thirty-three billion dollars worth annually. You think they want anyone to know about women like Linda?
The Fitness revolution and Title IX have spawned a whole new breed of heroines, and with them, a serious assault on that final bastion of male physical predominance. Most of these icons, like the Williams sisters and the daughters of boxing legends, are new arrivals, emerging on cue, just as the world is ready to accept them. They’ll inspire countless little girls, no doubt. But not a whole lot of adult women, huffing away in their aerobics or spinning classes, aspire to Wimbledon or the bloody canvas. Most don’t want to pump iron either. But there’s been a trickle-down from the Olympian heights that they can’t ignore. Weight-training, once shunned even by male athletes, has so pervaded the sports world that Newsweek featured a dumbbell-wielding Olympic figure-skater named Michelle Kwan. By that time, dumbbells were even appearing in aerobics classes, and no longer were terms like "reps," "triceps extensions" and "squats" the exclusive domain of the muscle-head community. Neither were the dietary practices of numerous small high-protein meals throughout the day, quarts of water, creatine, and thermogenics. The tenets of bodybuilding, always a decade or so ahead of public acceptance, eventually become de rigueur for athletes.
Linda learned those principles early on in the sport’s history. Women’s bodybuilding, as we know it today, was barely three years old when she came aboard. And Linda was barely thirty-nine.
Linda just before turning 51
5, 2003; Bev Francis’ Gold’s Gym, Syosset, NY:
Snow whirled outside, and the Sunday afternoon
crowd was light. But the important people were there: Bev and Steve Weinberger
(who seldom visit their gym on Sundays), bodybuilding stars like Andrulla Blanchette, Heather Foster, Colette Nelson,
and two big Palumbos named Joe and Dave, a couple of women who
competed in the McLish era, and a host of other friends hoisting cameras with
best wishes for one of female bodybuilding’s unheralded legends. The
ever-youthful, yet ever-proper Linda Wood-Hoyte was sixty this day, and she
chose to celebrate in characteristic style – jamming some no-nonsense iron
with her pals. And jam she did, joining in for a few sets with anyone who wanted
to train with her. The camaraderie and ambiance on this afternoon recalled those
classic black-and-white gym-fest photos from the PUMPING IRON days. And
afterward, everyone went over to Linda’s house to pig out on steak, chicken,
and home-made carrot-cake, and watch Jill Mills win the Strongwoman Competition
in Malaysia, then scream at the TV as the Giants got a cram course in
comeuppance at the hands of the Forty-Niners.
Regard Linda, and regard her closely: this is women’s
bodybuilding at its best. This is what the world needs to see, once it
gets over its reactive twitching about such things. For those who aren’t
familiar with Linda, know that she started competing in 1983 (at the age of 39!)
and still competes, her contest record long enough to fill an entire page. Know
that she’s always competed for the love of it, rather than any anticipated
financial rewards; she’s forever a natural competitor, eschewing the
pharmaceutical help which might have taken her one-in-a-million genetics to the
very top. Know that she’s both an NPC and IFBB judge, whose tough,
uncompromising, tell-it-like-it-is objectivity should do those organizations
proud. Know that she’s a grandmom, who for decades managed to balance
single-mom-hood, competing, and judging with a demanding 12-hour-a-day,
upper-level management career. Know that as a teen, growing up in an era
repressive for both women and minorities, she once ran against soon-to-be
Olympic legend Wilma Rudolf and declined herself an invite to the 1960 Olympic
trials. Know that like (7-time Ms. Olympia) Lenda Murray, she’s been
photographed by Annie Liebovitz, and when you’ve been photographed by Annie,
you have arrived!
Know that if anyone has the potential to translate
our endeavors to an importance the “real” world will embrace -especially
when obesity is epidemic, thirty-three billion is spent annually on weight-loss
products and services, and the over-50 boomers are doing most of the spending-
it’s going to be someone like this who makes it happen.
and International Bodybuilding champion with 20 years experience. Qualified
personal trainer with demonstrated success delivering nutritional seminars and
training techniques at sports conventions and shows. Currently serving as a
National (NPC) and International (IFBB) judge and have been selected as a US
delegate and judge to the World Universe Championship well respected
professional in bodybuilding with the historical significance of still being
competitive and strong at 60. A
corporate executive with extensive management experience.
MAJOR PUBLICATIONS FEATURES TV APPEARANCES
Channel 2 -Nellie Gallant Show
Art Carey Show, Philadelphia TV
Women Physique Magazine
Video -Women Physique
Photo shoot with Annie Liebowitz
for Women's Fitness & Bodybuilding
Valley Forge Health & Fitness Show
International -No Nonsense Newsletter
Bill Cosby Show
National Judge -1992 -present
Medicine - Certificate
Personal Trainer Certification
BUILDING EXPERIENCE AND SPECIAL JUDGING ASSIGNMENTS
Bev Francis Gold's Gym Syosset
Date of Birth:
Judge, Night of Champions, and Jan Tana
World Juniors &Master Championship-Czech
World Universe Championship,Warsaw, Poland
USA Judge/ Delegate
Team Universe, NYC
1998 3rd Heavyweight
1997 6th Middleweight
World Juniors & Masters Championship, Katowice, Poland 1996 2nd
North America Championship, Quebec, Canada
Team Universe Championship
World Universe Championship, Brugge, Belgium
1995 l0th Heavyweight
Productions - Evolution "F"
Team Universe Championship
World Universe Championship, Borlange, Sweden
1994 5th Heavyweight
Team Universe Championship
World Juniors & Masters Championship, Torrevieja, Spain
2nd Place Open
Productions, "The Most Awesome Women" 1993
North America Championship
Women ' s Extravaganza
1991 Guest Poser
1991 Top 10
North America Championship
1991 Top 15
Arnold's Classic - Ms. International
1989 3rd Heavyweight
USA Masters, Teen & Collegiate National
1st Heavyweight & Overall
NYC Metro District
Female Athletic of the Year
2nd Medium class
1986 Top 15
1985 1st Medium & Overall
1985 Top 15
1984 1st Medium class
New York State Gold's Classic
1984 1st Heavyweight & Overall
1984 Top 15
Ms. North East Atlantic States
Heavyweight & Overall AFWB - Ms.
Dan Lurie Classic
1983 1st Heavyweight
Ms. New York City
Medium & Overall
Medium & Overall
1983 1st Heavyweight & Overall AFWB -Ms. North East
Heavyweight & Overall
for Guest Posing and Seminars through
firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: (631) 858-1184