In the 1970s, bodybuilding had major publicity thanks to the appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger , Franco Columbu , Lou Ferrigno , and others in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron . By this time, the IFBB dominated the competitive bodybuilding landscape and the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) took a back seat. The National Physique Committee (NPC) was formed in 1981 by Jim Manion ,  who had just stepped down as chairman of the AAU Physique Committee. The NPC has gone on to become the most successful bodybuilding organization in America, and is the amateur division of the IFBB. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the decline of AAU-sponsored bodybuilding contests. In 1999, the AAU voted to discontinue its bodybuilding events.
The Best In the World contest of 1979 took place with a variety of champion female physique winners, strippers who had no idea what the contest was all about and a variety of women who appeared as though they had never picked up a barbell in their lives. Many of the contestants had no idea what the judges were looking for and just went on stage to be cute. April Nicotra, was perhaps the most widely respected of the contestants due to she having won several women's physique contests since the early 70s. She was in no way bulky, had a smooth 20% fat layer to her body and graceful toned legs. Although she just looked like a very firm and trim women by today's standards, she was usually one of the more muscular looking women in the contests she entered. April was aware that contestants were becoming more and more muscular and to prepare for Best in the World, she had worked out far differently than she had in the past. Judges were shocked at the definition and low body fat that she presented in 1979. Most of the male judges were disappointed to see her usually graceful poses morphed into he man style bicep poses that Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for. She had also done away with her heels and hit the stage bare foot.