Many individuals grew to become conscious of the identify Stephanie Gibson when she shocked the bodybuilding world by inserting third within the 2021 Determine Olympia, which was her debut on the game’s largest stage. It’s not typically that somebody takes that stage for the primary time and will get in comparison with a legend corresponding to five-time Olympia Champion Cydney Gillon. It even stunned Gibson herself.
“I used to be shocked truthfully. You realize as a rookie, I suppose expectations are fairly low,” stated Gibson. “You simply go to see the place you slot in or the place you rank. That was positively a shocker for me.”
Being below the intense lights and dealing with the stress that comes with competing doesn’t hassle Gibson, although. She’s been in severe conditions far past the stage as a member of the United States Air Pressure. She was impressed to affix by her then boyfriend’s mother and pa.
“My now husband’s dad and mom have been within the navy. His dad was within the Military, and his mother had simply retired from the Navy. That made occupied with going that route as a result of I used to be simply bored with attempting to make ends meet. I wanted extra stability, steerage, and construction.”
Workers Sargeant (quickly to be Technical Sargent) Gibson has additionally been below the new solar of the Center East, having taken half in two deployments abroad since becoming a member of the Air Pressure in 2015. Whereas the placement she was deployed to was thought-about extra Westernized than different components of that area, there was nonetheless instances that weren’t precisely comfy for her.
“Iran was proper throughout the road. So, I used to be positively not put comfy as a result of I knew different teams that didn’t essentially like Individuals have been round,” she admitted. Nevertheless, she identified that there have been positives to that a part of the world as nicely.
“I noticed and discovered extra about their tradition, their meals, and I really loved being immersed of their way of life.”
Apart from her future promotion to Technical Sargeant, Gibson had additionally obtained the Air Pressure Achievement Medal for Excellent Achievement and for Meritorious Service. She is now in her eighth 12 months of serving her nation. She credit her background in health for serving to her be in the perfect place doable to meet her commitments.
“I’ve grow to be dependable, reliable. I’m match and wholesome. So, I’m not falling out and I’m not having to go to the hospital on a regular basis. I’m in a position to go on non permanent assignments or deploy, when crucial,” she stated. Whereas she might have been in search of construction and stability to start with, Gibson, like many others, discovered that there was extra to becoming a member of the Armed Forces than making a profession alternative.
“If you’re within the navy, your perspective begins to develop. You’re right here for the individuals, you’re right here to do a job larger than me and larger than an odd job,” she defined. “That is to guard my nation and shield my household.”
Whereas health might assist her excel in her present function, her connection to that went again far past her choice to affix. It goes again to her childhood, and it was impressed by her personal father.
“My dad was a bodybuilder and began taking me to the health club at 13 years outdated. From then on, I’ve at all times been within the health club,” she shared. She additionally ran observe and danced in highschool, however competing in a bodybuilding present was a matter of “when,” not if. That when got here in 2019 when she and her husband, Asante, each entered the Dennis James Traditional in 2019. Gibson received each Determine Novice and FIgure Class A at that contest. Asante received the Traditional Physique General as nicely.
“We each coached ourselves for that present. So, for us each to win with our personal data, it was very motivating to do one other present.”
That subsequent present was the 2019 Beginner Olympia. Asante received his professional card at that contest, whereas Stephanie positioned second in Determine. Gibson started working with a brand new coach, Justin Horrell, in 2020 and he or she received her professional card on the NPC USA Championships. She then determined to compete within the Lenda Murray Savannah Professional in 2021, and took the victory in her professional debut. She was contemplating doing the Rising Phoenix that very same 12 months, however determined to go all in on the Olympia prep as a substitute because of her win in Georgia.
“It was actually exhausting to do this prep as a result of I had by no means performed an extended prep like that earlier than. It ended up being 20 weeks of prepping,” she recalled. “I used to be so used to feeding my physique after a present. To be at a deficit for 5 extra weeks, I didn’t know if I may do it.”
She made it work, and the remainder is historical past. Gibson made the primary callout on the Olympia, and positioned within the high three on the finish of the weekend in Orlando. That routinely certified her for the 2022 Olympia, which is ready to happen in Las Vegas on Dec. 16-18. Gillon is the heavy favourite to win her sixth title, however Gibson expressed little question that she is going to ultimately obtain the gold medal herself sometime.
“I completely will,” she exclaimed.
Whether or not it’s a mission for the Air Pressure, making ready for the Olympia, or exhibiting help for her followers who face challenges, Gibson goes again to what has helped her attain the purpose she is at right now, her religion, together with the scripture Philippians 4:13, which she stated helped her all through her journey.
“I can do all issues via Christ who strengthens me.”
As one in all America’s best and an elite Olympia competitor, Gibson is aware of there are various eyes on her, together with followers that hope to comply with in footsteps much like hers in addition to these she works with. She doesn’t run from that place, both. As a matter of reality, she embraces it.
“I get to be an instance for the airmen beneath me, and even these above me,” she stated proudly. “Everybody round me, I get to be an instance that this way of life is feasible. It’s only a matter of prioritizing.”
Observe Stephanie on Instagram, Twitter, Fb, YouTube, and on LinkedIn @s.gibson03.