IFBB Pro Donna Salib Went From Bodyslams To Bodybuilding

Donna Salib is a well-accomplished IFBB pro, Olympia certified, bodybuilder residing 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 akin to: retired paramedic/ firefighter, private coach, prep coach, licensed power and conditioning coach and ambassador to charities akin to Active Heroes (navy veterans and their households) and Hannah’s Care Packages. Clearly that is somebody who’s concerned with serving to individuals. To search 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 report 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.

The practically 4 years that the Ms. Olympia lay restlessly in her grave was a major epoch for a number of of the women whose careers, had been disrupted. To this present day, it’s inconceivable 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 onerous to put an precise label on this group of girls 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” competition that held the spot open whereas the grand dame of ladies’s bodybuilding rested.

In 2019, Jake Wooden and his staff 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 good story. However, there’s far more to Ms. Salib than her spectacular accomplishments and her return to the struggle for the submit hiatus Ms. Olympia. The good of which, and least talked about, is her position as a professional wrestler on TV!

“Coolest” is, after all, indicative of what I consider wrestling, significantly 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 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 all the time wished 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 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. Often known as a giant 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 staff stuff. My profession ended with me doing a tag staff 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 manner, 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 all the time dripping in jewels. I’d all the time take off a bracelet and provides it to one of many ladies within the viewers. It turned a giant factor to get certainly one of 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 assume you would say I’m semi-retired now, for a number of causes. First, we’re beat up. Individuals assume 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 bought numerous merchandise and it was numerous work.

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

Nicely, 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 things you want, carry 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 selecting us up. They requested me, however not him. There’s no manner I’d do this. That is his factor. I’m simply right here to have enjoyable. We simply take pleasure in going and watching now. It was simply time to go and transfer on. It was not well worth the danger 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 got 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 reside in, let’s simply say a REALLY good home.

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

Heck no! I grew up certainly one of six children. My dad labored development. We lived in an previous farmhouse with no indoor toilet. We had a “ringer washer” connected to the kitchen sink. You recognize what that’s?

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

Sure, that! There was no toilet; we used an outhouse and we pulled water out of a effectively. It was the hickest time you would 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 principle street so we may get to the bus to high school. No telephone, no TV… We had been all the time outdoors. When it got here supper time, mother would exit to the automotive and honk the horn a sure variety of instances. One lengthy honk if it was an emergency.”

Feels like Waltons Mountain. Did you reside off the land or have a giant 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 would 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 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 purported 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 some pounds, get stronger… I like seeing individuals completely happy and thriving. I exploit 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 carry 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 muscle groups 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 unique period now. The suggestions now’s 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 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 take care of 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 need to exit to dinner with my son and have him be embarrassed. Furthermore, I need to make sure that I keep secure. My well being and longevity are primary. Ladies have to decide on their coaches properly after which take heed to them! If you happen to don’t take heed to your coach then why do you’ve got one? It’s not the coach’s fault in the event you don’t take heed to them.

There appears to be extra of a sisterhood nowadays. I see numerous you girls actually displaying reverence and respect for one another slightly 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 listing 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 possibly can’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 goodies. 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 woman’s face; it makes me completely happy.

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

I come from a protracted line of navy members of the family. Deployed all over the place. Even my son served, (he’s out now). I’ve all the time been very energetic in supporting vets. The large factor I’m concerned with now is named Energetic 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 will 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 large concern vets take care of. We lose about 22 a day. That’s nearly 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 numerous 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 Energetic Heroes, it’s apparent the place the cash is. It’s eight years later and I’m nonetheless at it.

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