Carla Dunlap is a professional American female bodybuilding champion. In 1979, Dunlap decided to enter the “Best in the World” bodybuilding contest at the suggestion of Steve Wennerstrom….as she had never trained for bodybuilding….but still placed fifth among 45 entrants. She started training seriously for bodybuilding and was soon competing successfully in top level amateur contests…..when she won the NPC Nationals in 1981 and 1982. Her most successful year of competition was 1983 when she won three pro shows….which included the Ms. Olympia contest….after she had lost the Ms. Olympia to Rachel McLish by two points in 1982. In addition to her individual accomplishments, Dunlap won the World Professional Mixed Pairs title in 1984 and 1988 with Tony Pearson.
Dunlap is the only female bodybuilder to have competed in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990s. In January 1999, Dunlap was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame. In June 2009, she was inducted in to the AOBS Hall Of Fame (Association of Oldetime Barbell and Strongmen)
Away from the contest stage, Dunlap appeared in the bodybuilding documentaries Women Of Iron in 1984….with fellow competitor Deborah Diana….and Pumping Iron II: The Women in 1985. She was selected by ABC to represent women’s bodybuilding in the women’s Superstars competition in 1984…. where she finished seventh in a field of eleven competitors. Dunlap was a regular on ESPN’s BodyShaping series from 1990 to 1995. She has also appeared as a color commentator on bodybuilding and fitness telecasts for NBC, USA and ESPN.