Denise Richardson: Female Bodybuilder

Denise Richardson Denise Richardson started competing in women's bodybuilding in 1984 and she loved it so much that she left her teaching job in Brownsville, New York to move to California to pump iron and teach in South Central, Las Angeles.

Denise moved back to New York in 1988, but she kept up with her bodybuilding. It paid off when she won the 1997 and 1998 AAU Ms. America Championships.

"I've always been an athlete," said Richardson, who grew up playing basketball and running track. She has been a teacher ever since graduating from Brooklyn College.

Currently, she teaches young men between the ages of 16 to 18 at the Rikers Island Educational Facility.

"My calling is to work with youth at risk. I have a good rapport with them. I command their respect. I don't play with them, but I care about them. I love teaching," said Richardson.

"I'm dedicated to try to educate and elevate the guys at Rikers. I'm not just about working out, but helping others get their lives together and moving on."

Richardson, who takes pride in being a drug-free athlete, also won the 1997 AAU Ms. USA participates in only drug-tested events.

"I'm in shape, but I'm not trying to be overly muscled. Bodybuilding gives energy, increases longevity, firms and tones. Women admire me because I look like a woman, enhancing what I have," Richardson said.

"I'm a dedicated educator. Coming down to crunch time before a competition, I have to work, teach and train. There are almost not enough hours in the day."

Born in New Bern, North Carolina, Denise moved to Brooklyn and attended Erasmus Hall High School; holds a Bachelor's degree in physical education from Brooklyn College and a Master's in education administration and supervision from Baruch College.

"After a contest I eat pancakes and pizza but for the most part I always eat healthy low-fat foods."

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