IFBB Professional Donna Salib Went From Bodyslams To Bodybuilding

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

A glance over her bio will discover objects reminiscent of: retired paramedic/ firefighter, private coach, prep coach, licensed energy and conditioning coach and ambassador to charities reminiscent of Lively Heroes (navy veterans and their households) and Hannah’s Care Packages. Clearly that is somebody who’s serious about serving to individuals. To seek out such a selfless particular person in a sport devoted to selfishness is sort 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 kind of Olympia-bound bodybuilders whose profession has spanned the now notorious Ms. Olympia hiatus.

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, have been disrupted. To this present day, it’s unattainable to ge round the truth that they really dropped the highest ladies’s occasion in bodybuilding historical past within the identify of greed. Argue all you need, however that’s what it was — greed. It actually wasn’t out of reverence for the workplace of Ms. O.

It’s laborious to put an precise label on this group of women whose sights have been set on the Olympia previous to its stoppage in 2015, saved the hearth burning throughout its hiatus, and bought 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 girls’s bodybuilding rested.

In 2019, Jake Wooden and his workforce introduced again the Ms. O and put the brass ring again up inside attain. Donna Salib is a kind of women who was reaching for it when the O perished and is reaching for it once more now that Ms. O bought again up on her ft. 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 combat for the publish hiatus Ms. Olympia. The best 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, significantly due to the way it created “someplace for bodybuilders to go.” When you could 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.

Donna Salib sitting in a hotel lobby
Wings of Power

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 at all times needed to be concerned with him. So I’d go together with him to all of the occasions. Individuals began telling me I ought to do one thing with him. We began taking part in round with some issues, then I assumed, oh my phrase that is enjoyable!

What was your act?

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

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

NO!! I’m the most important tomboy – no hair, nails, sneakers… Ugh, it’s simply not me. However Ms. Marvelous must do all this girly stuff. However, I went with it any method, as a result of my husband was having fun with it and having enjoyable. It went over so effectively too. The followers liked us. Each time I got here out, Ms. Marvelous was at all times dripping in jewels. I’d at all times take off a bracelet and provides it to one of many ladies within the viewers. It turned a giant 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 prone to overlook! What about now? Are you guys nonetheless wrestling?

I suppose you could possibly say I’m semi-retired now, for a number of causes. First, we’re beat up. Individuals suppose wrestling is all pretend, but it surely’s not. It’s undoubtedly 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 street. We offered a number of merchandise and it was a number of work.

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

Effectively, that was one other problem. Throughout prep I’ve to be very regimented. Lots 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 at all times a fridge. I needed to decide as a result of bodybuilding is No. 1. I needed 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 will not be selecting us up. They requested me, however not him. There’s no method I’d do 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 definitely worth the danger of getting damage 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 have got a canine?

Sure!! Two bullies.

Are you cooped up in a condominium 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 youngsters. My dad labored building. We lived in an outdated farmhouse with no indoor rest room. We had a “ringer washer” hooked up to the kitchen sink. You realize what that’s?

The factor with the crank that rings out the water between two rollers type 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 a giant river behind us and a creek on both facet of us. When the snow melted, our property would flood. We actually needed to take a ship to the primary street so we might get to the bus to high school. No cellphone, no TV… We have been at all times outdoors. When it got here time for supper, mother would exit to the automotive and honk the horn a sure variety of instances. One lengthy honk if it was an emergency.”

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

“With six youngsters – 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 youngsters. If I used to be good, I bought a Mr. Goodbar. It was easy nation life.”

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

“I used to be firefighter and paramedic for 17 years. I noticed an excessive amount of, I suppose you could possibly say. I needed to go away due to PTSD. I fell again on private coaching and that saved constructing. I really suffered from the consuming dysfunction bulimia – kicking that bought 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 alleged 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, shed weight, get stronger… I like seeing individuals pleased and thriving. I exploit this platform now to succeed in individuals in any respect completely different phases of their journey. I at all times have good issues to say about individuals to raise 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 Power

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 ladies with muscular tissues are manly. I just like the look of woman muscle. Olympic sprinters who’re muscular don’t get known as manly. We’re undoubtedly in a special period now. The suggestions now’s to make you look extra female. That permits us to really feel stunning and pampered… it permits us to be extra magnificent. The manly stigma has made ladies 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 medicine {that a} man would use. I’ve seen some dangerous issues occur and a few ladies 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 sure that I keep protected. My well being and longevity are primary. Women have to decide on their coaches correctly after which take heed to them! If you happen to don’t take heed to your coach then why do you have got one? It’s not the coach’s fault for those who don’t take heed to them.

There appears to be extra of a sisterhood as of late. I see a number of you women actually exhibiting reverence and respect for one another moderately than the old-fashioned overt cutthroat competitors. How do you help your sisters?

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

Goodie baggage? 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 – at all times candies. I give the baggage on the finals, after it’s throughout. Being a feminine on this sport will not be 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 woman’s face; it makes me pleased.

The charities you champion are fascinating. Significantly your help of my fellow veterans. Are you able to inform me slightly about that?

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

What’s your position?

I used to be an occasion coordinator and handled a number of occasions to assist veterans and their households. I’d have meals and different issues introduced in that have been donated by vets who personal companies. They’re very supportive and glad to know that it’s obtainable. 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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