IFBB Professional Donna Salib Went From Bodyslams To Bodybuilding

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Donna Salib is a well-accomplished IFBB professional, Olympia certified, bodybuilder dwelling simply outdoors of Louisville, KY, the place, as she says, “we’re identified for our bourbon and horses.”

A glance over her bio will discover gadgets corresponding to: retired paramedic/ firefighter, private coach, prep coach, licensed power and conditioning coach and ambassador to charities corresponding to Lively Heroes (navy veterans and their households) and Hannah’s Care Packages. Clearly that is somebody who’s inquisitive about serving to individuals. To seek out such a selfless individual in a sport devoted to selfishness is kind of refreshing.

Whereas incomes her IFBB professional card on the 2017 North People, and profitable the KY State Open Ladies’s Champion, and incomes a Michael Soong’s all time historic world document in uncooked powerlifting are fairly cool to have in your résumé, Salib can also be a type of Olympia-bound bodybuilders whose profession has spanned the now notorious Ms. Olympia hiatus.

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The practically 4 years that the Ms. Olympia lay restlessly in her grave was a big epoch for a number of of the women whose careers, had been disrupted. To today, it’s unattainable to ge round the truth that they really dropped the highest ladies’s occasion in bodybuilding historical past within the title of greed. Argue all you need, however that’s what it was — greed. It definitely wasn’t out of reverence for the workplace of Ms. O.

It’s onerous to put an precise label on this group of women whose sights had been set on the Olympia previous to its stoppage in 2015, saved the fireplace burning throughout its hiatus, and obtained again within the race when the Ms. O lastly got here again, however suffice it to say that they personified the “Rising Phoenix” competitors that held the spot open whereas the grand dame of ladies’s bodybuilding rested.

In 2019, Jake Wooden and his crew introduced again the Ms. O and put the brass ring again up inside attain. Donna Salib is a type of girls who was reaching for it when the O perished and is reaching for it once more now that Ms. O obtained again up on her toes. That, in and of itself, is a superb story. However, there’s far more to Ms. Salib than her spectacular accomplishments and her return to the battle for the publish hiatus Ms. Olympia. The good of which, and least talked about, is her position as a professional wrestler on TV!

“Coolest” is, in fact, indicative of what I consider wrestling, notably due to the way it created “someplace for bodybuilders to go.” Whilst you might dismiss it as one thing tacky, discovering out that Salib is definitely Ms. Marvelous — spouse and valet to Mr. Marvelous, aka Melvin Maximus — your ears would perk up.

Wings of Energy

How did you get into Professional Wrestling?

It began with Ohio Valley Wrestling.

*[Note: At one point, OVW was one of the incubators of the WWE, launching the careers of several WWE Superstars, including Bautista and John Cena. Later, OVW became the developmental territory for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (or TNA)].

My husband Hany had been wrestling for awhile and he was a bodybuilder too. I all the time wished to be concerned with him. So I’d go along with him to all of the occasions. Folks began telling me I ought to do one thing with him. We began enjoying round with some issues, then I believed, oh my phrase that is enjoyable!

What was your act?

I began as his valet [manager]. He was actually flashy. Referred to as an enormous spender. Ms. Marvelous would come out with him to the ring in a robe, flexing and looking out scary. I ended up within the ring doing tag crew stuff. My profession ended with me doing a tag crew with my husband!

Did the robe and the hair and the jewels come naturally to you?

NO!! I’m the largest tomboy – no hair, nails, footwear… Ugh, it’s simply not me. However Ms. Marvelous must do all this girly stuff. However, I went with it any approach, as a result of my husband was having fun with it and having enjoyable. It went over so effectively too. The followers beloved us. Each time I got here out, Ms. Marvelous was all the time dripping in jewels. I’d all the time take off a bracelet and provides it to one of many women within the viewers. It turned an enormous factor to get one among my bracelets. On the 1,000th episode of OVW, Hany proposed to me after our match!

Aww…That’s a reminiscence you’re not more likely to neglect! What about now? Are you guys nonetheless wrestling?

I assume you could possibly say I’m semi-retired now, for a number of causes. First, we’re beat up. Folks suppose wrestling is all faux, but it surely’s not. It’s positively choreographed, and we’re cautious, however the impacts are actual. It’s very taxing bodily. And, in OVW, it’s a grind. You actually don’t receives a commission except you’re hustling – on the highway. We offered lots of merchandise and it was lots of work.

How is doing contest prep when you’re on the highway wrestling?

Properly, that was one other concern. Throughout prep I’ve to be very regimented. A variety of the locations we go don’t cater to contest prep. It’s an enormous trouble to pack all the pieces you want, convey meals, and there wasn’t all the time a fridge. I needed to decide as a result of bodybuilding is No. 1. I wished to be with my husband, however wrestling takes an excessive amount of away from bodybuilding. And, it was simply time to maneuver on. My husband was so beat up. We’re in our 40s, WWE isn’t choosing us up. They requested me, however not him. There’s no approach I’d try this. That is his factor. I’m simply right here to have enjoyable. We simply get pleasure from going and watching now. It was simply time to go and transfer on. It was not well worth the threat of getting harm and disrupting bodybuilding.”

Did wrestling contribute something constructive to bodybuilding?

I’d say it made me higher at entertaining individuals. It actually helped take the jitters away on stage.

Do you’ve gotten a canine?

Sure!! Two bullies.

Are you cooped up in a apartment or do you reside in a home with a yard?

That is embarrassing, however my husband does actual property and he’s actually good at it. We dwell in, let’s simply say a REALLY good home.

Are these lodging much like the way it was whenever you grew up?

Heck no! I grew up one among six children. My dad labored building. We lived in an previous farmhouse with no indoor rest room. We had a “ringer washer” connected to the kitchen sink. You already know what that’s?

The factor with the crank that rings out the water between two rollers sort of factor?

Sure, that! There was no rest room; we used an outhouse and we pulled water out of a effectively. It was the hickest time you could possibly consider! We had an enormous river behind us and a creek on both aspect of us. When the snow melted, our property would flood. We actually needed to take a ship to the principle highway so we may get to the bus to high school. No cellphone, no TV… We had been all the time outdoors. When it got here dinner time, mother would exit to the automotive and honk the horn a sure variety of occasions. One lengthy honk if it was an emergency.”

Appears like Waltons Mountain. Did you reside off the land or have an enormous backyard? Did you hunt?

“With six children – we had a humongous backyard! My dad hunted. A farmer who lived subsequent to us would give us goat’s milk to assist feed the children. If I used to be good, I obtained a Mr. Goodbar. It was easy nation life.”

So how did you go from being a paramedic/ firefighter to the place you are actually?

“I used to be firefighter and paramedic for 17 years. I noticed an excessive amount of, I assume you could possibly say. I needed to depart due to PTSD. I fell again on private coaching and that saved constructing. I really suffered from the consuming dysfunction bulimia – kicking that obtained me into bodybuilding as a result of I had a purpose to eat.

[Salib’s husband chimes in: “Now she wont stop eating!!”]

The person upstairs places me the place I’m presupposed to be. I really feel like I used to be put right here to assist individuals. If I can’t do it as a primary responder, then I’ll assist individuals get match, drop extra pounds, get stronger… I like seeing individuals completely satisfied and thriving. I take advantage of this platform now to achieve individuals in any respect completely different levels of their journey. I all the time have good issues to say about individuals to elevate them up. I hope individuals keep in mind me as a result of I used to be good to them. Not as a result of I used to be a paramedic, or wrestling on TV, or within the Olympia. I’m quite simple.

Donna Salib posing in the middle of a road wearing a black dress pulling up her hair
Wings of Energy

You might be, however the sport you’ve chosen isn’t. Ladies’s bodybuilding has taken some lumps. How do you see it recovering?

Ladies’s bodybuilding is striving to make the game look good once more. We’re out to dispel the misunderstanding that girls with muscle tissue are manly. I just like the look of lady muscle. Olympic sprinters who’re muscular don’t get known as manly. We’re positively in a distinct period now. The suggestions now could be to make you look extra female. That permits us to really feel lovely and pampered… it permits us to be extra magnificent. The manly stigma has made women step again and reassess what they’re doing and the place they’re going.

I’ve points with guys who coach ladies and get them to make use of medication {that a} man would use. I’ve seen some dangerous issues occur and a few women be ruined bitterly. Who coaches you and the way do you cope with the 8,000-pound pink elephant within the room?

My husband coaches me. We analysis. I discuss to my physician. I take into consideration longevity. I don’t wish to exit to dinner with my son and have him be embarrassed. Furthermore, I wish to be certain that I keep protected. My well being and longevity are primary. Ladies have to decide on their coaches correctly after which hearken to them! Should you don’t hearken to your coach then why do you’ve gotten one? It’s not the coach’s fault in the event you don’t hearken to them.

There appears to be extra of a sisterhood lately. I see lots of you girls actually exhibiting reverence and respect for one another moderately than the old-fashioned overt cutthroat competitors. How do you assist your sisters?

I kill individuals with kindness till they like me. I’m all the time genuinely pleasant and I like bodybuilders! When the competitor’s checklist comes out for the present I’m doing, I make goodie luggage for every of the opponents and provides them out on the finals.

Goodie luggage? Isn’t the phrase “goodie” one other time period for sabotage? You’ll be able to’t inform me there’s no chocolate in that bag.

Sure there’s chocolate! And completely different candies…espresso and truffles too. This 12 months I did soy candles, glass fingernail information, hand lotion and chocolate – all the time candies. I give the luggage on the finals, after it’s throughout. Being a feminine on this sport isn’t simple. If somebody brings me a present, it’s going to place a smile on my face. Perhaps my little goodie bag places a smile on one other lady’s face; it makes me completely satisfied.

The charities you champion are attention-grabbing. Significantly your assist of my fellow veterans. Are you able to inform me a bit about that?

I come from a protracted line of navy members of the family. Deployed in every single place. Even my son served, (he’s out now). I’ve all the time been very lively in supporting vets. The massive factor I’m concerned with now known as Lively Heroes – in Louisville (Shepardsville). It’s a 148-acre ranch with attractive land and wide-open areas with log cabins, pavilions. It’s a Retreat for Vets and their households, the place they’ll come and cut back stressors of on a regular basis life. In the event that they’re having hassle, we attempt to serve them. Suicide is a big concern vets cope with. We lose about 22 a day. That’s virtually one each hour. It’s actually horrible. Occurring the retreat – completely free – with their households places them in a spot the place they’ll fear much less about issues, get away from the world.

What’s your position?

I used to be an occasion coordinator and handled lots of occasions to assist veterans and their households. I’d have meals and different issues introduced in that had been donated by vets who personal companies. They’re very supportive and glad to know that it’s accessible. There are such a lot of charities that sound good, however you don’t know the place the cash goes. With Lively Heroes, it’s apparent the place the cash is. It’s eight years later and I’m nonetheless at it.



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