IFBB Professional Donna Salib Went From Bodyslams To Bodybuilding

Donna Salib is a well-accomplished IFBB professional, Olympia certified, bodybuilder dwelling 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 akin to: retired paramedic/firefighter, private coach, prep coach, licensed energy and conditioning coach and ambassador to charities akin to Lively Heroes (army veterans and their households) and Hannah’s Care Packages. Clearly that is somebody who’s keen on 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 Individuals, and successful the KY State Open Girls’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 kind of Olympia -bound bodybuilders whose profession has spanned the now notorious Ms. Olympia hiatus.

The almost 4 years that Ms. Olympia lay restlessly in her grave was a major epoch for a number of of the women whose careers, had been disrupted. To today, it is inconceivable to get 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 is what it was — greed. It definitely wasn’t out of reverence for the workplace of Ms. O.

It is 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, stored the fireplace burning throughout its hiatus, and acquired 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 staff 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. She acquired 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 combat for the publish hiatus Ms. Olympia. The best of which, and least talked about, is her function 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 some time and he was a bodybuilder too. I at all times wished to be concerned with him. So I might 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. Often known as an enormous spender. Mrs. Marvelous would come out with him to the ring in a robe, flexing and searching 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 am the most important tomboy – no hair, nails, footwear… Ugh, it is simply not me. However Ms. Marvelous must do all this girly stuff. However, I went with it anyway, as a result of my husband was having fun with it and having enjoyable. It went over so properly too. The followers liked us. Each time I got here out, Ms. Marvelous was at all times dripping in jewels. I might at all times take off a bracelet and provides it to one of many women within the viewers. It turned an enormous factor to get one in all my bracelets. On the 1,000th episode of OVW, Hany proposed to me after our match!

Aww… That is a reminiscence you are not more likely to overlook! What about now? Are you guys nonetheless wrestling?

I suppose you could possibly say I am semi-retired now, for a number of causes. First, we’re beat up. Folks assume wrestling is all pretend, however it’s not. It is undoubtedly choreographed, and we’re cautious, however the impacts are actual. It’s totally taxing bodily. And, in OVW, it is a grind. You actually do not receives a commission until you are hustling – on the street. We offered loads of merchandise and it was loads of work.

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

Nicely, that was one other situation. Throughout prep I’ve to be very regimented. Quite a lot of the locations we go do not cater to contest prep. It is an enormous trouble to pack the whole lot you want, deliver meals, and there wasn’t at all times 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 just isn’t selecting us up. They requested me, however not him. There is no method I’d try this. That is his factor. I am 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 harm and disrupting bodybuilding.”

Did wrestling contribute something constructive to bodybuilding?

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

Do you’ve a canine?

Sure!! Two bullies.

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

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

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

Hell no! I grew up one in all six children. My dad labored development. We lived in an outdated farmhouse with no indoor rest room. We had a “ringer washer” hooked up 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 rest room; we used an outhouse and we pulled water out of a properly. It was the worst 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 street so we may get to the bus to highschool. No telephone, no TV… We had been at all times outdoors. When it got here time for supper, mother would exit to the automobile and honk the horn a sure variety of occasions. One lengthy honk if it was an emergency.”

Seems like Waltons Mountain. Do 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 acquired a Mr. Good bar. 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 a firefighter and paramedic for 17 years. I noticed an excessive amount of, I suppose you could possibly say. I needed to depart due to PTSD. I fell again on private coaching and that stored constructing. I truly suffered from the consuming dysfunction bulimia – kicking that acquired 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 am presupposed to be. I really feel like I used to be put right here to assist individuals. If I can not do it as a primary responder, then I am going to assist individuals get match, shed pounds, get stronger… I like seeing individuals joyful and thriving. I take advantage of this platform now to succeed in individuals in any respect totally different levels 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 am quite simple.

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

It’s possible you’ll be, however the sport you’ve got chosen is not. Girls’s bodybuilding has taken some lumps. How do you see it recovering?

Girls’s bodybuilding is striving to make the game look good once more. We’re out to dispel the misunderstanding that girls with muscle mass are manly. I just like the look of lady muscle. Olympic sprinters who’re muscular do not 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 stunning 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 are 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 take care of the 8,000-pound pink elephant within the room?

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

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

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

Goodie baggage? Is not the phrase “goodie” one other time period for sabotage? You possibly can’t inform me there is not any chocolate in that bag.

Sure there’s chocolate! And totally 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 is throughout. Being a feminine on this sport just isn’t simple. If somebody brings me a present, it may put a smile on my face. Possibly my little goodie bag places a smile on one other lady’s face; it makes me joyful.

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

I come from an extended line of army members of the family. Deployed in all places. Even my son served, (he is out now). I’ve at all times been very lively in supporting vets. The massive factor I am concerned with now known as Lively Heroes – in Louisville (Shepardsville). It is a 148-acre ranch with attractive land and wide-open areas with log cabins, pavilions. It is a Retreat for Vets and their households, the place they will come and scale back the stressors of on a regular basis life. In the event that they’re having hassle, we attempt to serve them. Suicide is a large situation vets take care of. We lose about 22 a day. That is nearly one each hour. It is 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 function?

I used to be an occasion coordinator and handled loads 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 is obtainable. There are such a lot of charities that sound good, however you do not know the place the cash goes. With Lively Heroes, it is apparent the place the cash is. It is eight years later and I am nonetheless at it.

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