Is Lee Priest Back?
Lee Priest’s return to the IFBB will be decided on Olympia Weekend
by Allan Donnelly
For Lee Priest, the most important decision of the year will happen at the 2008 Olympia. For Priest, though, that decision won’t be a result of anything that happens on stage at the Orleans Arena – it will be a result of the vote that takes place off it, as IFBB officials have decided to vote on whether or not to allow Priest back into the IFBB during Olympia Weekend.
“The IFBB Pro League meets annually at the Olympia concerning anything that is going to effect the sport,” IFBB Professional League Chairman Jim Manion said. “In this case Lee Priest has reapplied, and we are going to consider letting him back in to the IFBB at that meeting. Last year [Priest's reinstatement] was voted upon and it was turned down.”
Manion said if approved, Priest’s reinstatement would be effective immediately following the 2008 Olympia, meaning he could choose to return at one of the European contests following the Olympia. As of now, the Holland Grand Prix is slated to follow the Olympia with one more European contest likely to be added.
“Lee wanted to try to come back sooner of course, but we decided we should address the issue with the whole committee present,” Manion said. “If he’s voted in, he would be automatically eligible to compete or guest pose.”
Priest has been suspended by the IFBB since 2006, after choosing to compete in another organization, the now defunct Pro Division Inc. Priest has since reapplied for reinstatement. As of today, IFBB officials have decided to put that application up for a vote on Olympia Weekend.
“We had put in for early reinstatement, but that was obviously denied,” IFBB Athlete’s Representative Bob Cicherillo said. “Lee’s motion will now be heard at the Pro League meeting during Olympia Weekend. I think the lesson has been learned and the punishment has been more than sufficient, and now it’s time to get Lee back on stage. Hopefully the committee sees it the same way I do.”
Before his suspension, the 5-foot-4, 225-pound Priest had carved a reputation for being able to stand toe-to-toe with the mass monsters and more than hold his own, as his competitive history demonstrates. During his 14-year professional career, Priest has placed in the top five of 23 different contests.