Born November 30, 1958, in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands
The ultimate late bloomer in bodybuilding, Juliette Bergmann actually had two careers in the IFBB. In the Ms. Olympia, between 1985 and 1988, her best showing was sixth in ‘86, and between 2001 and 2003, she stunningly came out of retirement to win the lightweight and overall in ‘01, followed by lightweight victories in 2002 and 2003. Her 2001 triumph at age 42, backed up by her having one of the most symmetrical female physiques of all time, more than secured her Hall of Fame status.
Born the last day of November in 1958 in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, to an Indonesian father and a Dutch mother, Bergmann learned early about the pain of loss - an older brother died when she was four, and a younger brother when she was 12. She found it necessary to grow up faster than usual by helping care for her younger siblings. Her studies were in journalism, financial management and fitness training. In 1975, she began a decade-long marriage to Jan Meijer, which explains the early references to her last name as "Meyer".
At age 23, Bergmann felt the need to drop some bodyweight and, impressed with how some women looked at a contest, began to bodybuild. She competed twice, winning both shows. In 1984 and 1985, she won the Dutch National Championships, which earned her a spot at the European Championships in Madrid, Spain. There, she won the lightweight division.
A third Dutch Nationals win gained her admission into the World Championships in Brussels, Belgium, where victory relayed her into the Ms. Olympia in New York City. By then, her marriage was vaporizing and the too-rigorous competition pace combined to allow here only 15th place - a sour gift on her 27th birthday. Divorced in 1985, she returned to her maiden name and moved to Middelharnis, where she still lives with her daughter, Roxanne.
On March 1, 1986, Bergmann and Berry DeMey guest posed in California, where Jim Lorimer spotted her and invited her to compete the following week at the Ms. International in Columbus, Ohio. She finished second, a placing she would duplicate the following week at the Los Angeles Pro Championships. Beginning in May 1986, she would compete only in the World Pro and the Olympia for the remainder of her dais days. In the former, she won in 1986, placed seventh in 1987 and 15th in 1989.
She then stayed away from competition for 12 years, until heeding the call of the Ms. Olympia stage again in 2001, where she won the title. After her defeat at the hands of Lenda Murray in 2003, Bergmann decided to retire again.
Throughout her career, she personified what many fans see as the ideal female form - just the right combination of curves and muscle, a stunning example of what can be achieved in female bodybuilding when artistry takes precedence over the relentless pursuit of size.
Similar Bodybuilding Threads: