The United States Sports Academy mourns the loss of alumna Lynn Hadley Conkwright, a women’s bodybuilding pioneer, who passed away at age 63 on 14 June 2017.
Conkwright, of Virginia Beach, Va., earned her Master of Sports Science degree in fitness management from the Academy in 1988. Conkwright became the first Academy student to receive certification as a bodybuilding coach after the Academy began offering its Master of Sports Science degree in fitness management.
She became a well-known figure in bodybuilding after winning the 1981 International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) women’s and mixed pairs world titles. She competed in many of the early contests that were pivotal to the growth of women’s bodybuilding. She finished in the top 10 in the IFBB Ms. Olympia contest five times and won the title of NPC Miss Virginia Beach in 1980.
In 1984, she represented women’s bodybuilding in the ABC Network’s “Superstars” competition, where she first met tennis superstar Martina Navratilova. Soon after the meeting, Conkwright began working as Navratilova’s weight training coach.
In 2003, Conkwright was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame. She had previously worked for bodybuilding industry mogul Ben Weider, the co-founder – along with brother Joe Weider – of the IFBB. While working for Weider, Conkwright managed the company’s contracted athletes, including former Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno.