Erika Dankova

Growing up in Slovakia, Erika Danková thought muscle was cool. Her dad was a bodybuilding fan and at home they had magazines and posters and would watch Pumping Iron together. When she was 12 years old, her family moved to Sarasota, Florida, and she joined a gym. “I went straight to the Hammer Strength machines as opposed to the treadmills!” she says. She joined her high school’s powerlifting team and began lifting heavier. At the time, she struggled with eating disorders. But when she started eating more, she started to see changes in her body.

After Erika attended a show at the age of 16, she decided she wanted to compete in women’s physique. But at 5-foot-11, putting on enough size was always a challenge. “I needed time to fill out my frame,” she says. “It just takes so much longer.” After several years of working hard to add mass, especially in her upper body, she competed for the first time at the age of 21 in 2017. Over the next couple of years, she did two more shows as a women’s physique competitor. But after talking to Alina Popa, who told her she had enough size to compete in women’s bodybuilding, she decided to move up.

Erika planned to make her debut as a female bodybuilder in 2020, but the shows she planned to do were cancelled or postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Still only 25 years old and now living in Las Vegas, she plans to compete at the Wings Ms. International at the Chicago Pro in July, where she hopes to win her pro card. She got up to around 185 pounds during her offseason, but says she ultimately wants to be a lot bigger. “I’ve been wanting to hit 200 pounds since I was 17!” she says. She has a quote from Arnold tattooed on her left forearm: “The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else.”

Contest history:

2021 Chicago Pro – 16th place

2021 NPC Wings of Strength Ms International – 1st place heavyweight

2021 NPC Lenda Murray Classic – 2nd place
2019 Dexter Jackson Classic, physique class B – 1st place
2018 Naples Classic, physique class B – 1st place
2017 Southeastern USA, physique – 3rd place

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