By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
ALTHOUGH there was a big separation in between her performances, former Bahamian female teenage middle distance runner Kim Rolle-Valente is now making waves as a married mother as she flexes her physique on stage as a highly acclaimed British professional bodybuilder.
Rolle-Valente, a former employee of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, based in London, has been rising in the United Kingdom for the past 23 years, and started competing in bodybuilding 18 months ago.
As determined as she was when she competed in track and field as a teenager, Rolle-Valente excelled so fast in such a short period of time that she got her pro card late last year at the WNBF Super Naturals UK Championships.
“Winning my pro card was my proudest moment because this was achieved after only six months of competing in this sport,” she pointed out. “This gave me the confidence boost I needed to go further in this sport as a natural athlete.”
At the ICN World Bodybuilding Championships in Perugia, Italy, November 3-5, competing as part of the UK team, Rolle- Valente not only won the Sports Model World Champion title, but also placed second in the Classic Figure and Figure Open classes amongst a very competitive line-up of amazing athletes from around the world.
“Having won the ICN UK championships this past October and selected to represent the UK team in Italy at the ICN World Championships, was an honour,” Rolle-Valente stated.
“Not only did I walk away with a world championship title, but placed second in both the Classic Figure and Open Figure classes amongst a very competitive field of athletes from around the world.”
The 48-year-old, married to Riccardo Valente, an Italian national currently residing in the UK and the mother of Alessandro Valente, 18, and Sofia Valente, 9, said her goal in competing in the sport is primarily to provide an inspiration to other women who think it’s too late to pursue their goals and interests.
At the age of 18, Rolle- Valente left the Bahamas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management at Rust College in Holly Springs Mississippi.
While at Rust College, she applied for and won the Tambrands Tampax Marketing Internship Scholarship, worth USD $15,000, amongst a very competitive entry of over 40 young women from colleges/universities across the United States.
“I worked in the sales and marketing programme for Tambrands in New York, gaining hands on experience in the marketing, production, sales and distribution of their products,” she said.
“On completing my degree in 1994, I applied and was then awarded the Northern Ireland Methodist Scholarship Foundation award to further my studies at the University of Ulster, Coleraine Northern Ireland.
“While in Northern Ireland, I pursued courses in humanities. This led me to pursue my master’s degree at Trinity College, Dublin Ireland, where I graduated in 1999 with a masters of philosophy degree.”
In 1999, Rolle-Valente returned to The Bahamas and eight months later was offered a position with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism as marketing executive based in the UK office.
In 2005, after having her first child, she resigned to start her own travel business, Bahamas Flavour, but still worked closely with the Bahamas Tourist Office, London in promoting the Islands of The Bahamas.
After working in travel for 16 years, she decided to change career paths and qualified as a level 3 personal trainer and cognitive behavioural therapist and currently owns a fitness business - Squat2Fit, where she works 1-2-1 with clients.
“In 2017, I returned to athletics as a masters athlete and competed in many track events in the UK. In March 2020 I won the British Masters Indoor long jump and silver in the 60m sprints,” Rolle-Valente recalled.
“I was due to represent team GB at the European Championships in Portugal in March 2020. However, COVID-19 came and everything got cancelled. As a result, I wanted to focus my attention on a different sport and decided on bodybuilding. I found a coach initially to guide me through the training and nutrition process. However, I currently coach myself.”
Rolle-Valente competed in her first bodybuilding competition in May 2022 and after securing the victory, she then competed in several more competitions across the UK with over seven natural bodybuilding federations.
“I am happy to say that within my first year of competing, I won six championship titles, three overall titles, two pro cards and most recently ICN World Sports Model Championship title. This achievement meant so much to me because I coached myself through these championships.”
As she reflects on what has been a very competitive stint in the sport over the past two seasons, Rolle- Valente is currently in off season training and bulking up to bring a bigger and better package to the bodybuilding stage in 2024.
“I hope to compete in the World Championships and also UK championships with a few federations next year,” she summed up.
“However, it would be an absolute privilege and honour to compete in The Bahamas with the Bahamas Bodybuilding Federation.”
Rolle-Valente is the third child of four to the late Edwin Rolle Jr, from Mt Thompson, Exuma, who was an architect and business owner and Elizabeth Alexandra Turnquest-Rolle from Long Island.
She has two older brothers Oran and Edwin Rolle and one sister Nahkeisha Rolle-Williams.
She is a 1992 graduate of St. Anne’s High School where she participated in track and field in both the 400 and 800 metres and was a member of the CARIFTA team in the early 1990s.
At the age of 16, she won the Miss Bahamas Talented Teen Scholarship Pageant and represented The Bahamas at the Hal Jackson’s Talented Teens, New York City where she was a top 10 finalist and in 1993, she again represented the Bahamas at the Miss Black Teenage World Scholarship Achievement Programme in Greensborough North Carolina, where she won the title.