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The 2009 Olympia Weekend On-Scene Report

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Gossip, Andrew Oye's Pro Muscle Report
By Andrew Oye | Sep 27, 2009


The Item:
Expanded Event Coverage/Contest Results

Sizzling Las Vegas was the scene of best-body battles as the top men and women of bodybuilding, fitness and figure competed at the "Super Bowl of Bodybuilding" during Olympia Weekend (September 24-27, 2009).

Along with the crowning of Iris Kyle as Ms. Olympia for the fifth time, Adele Garcia Ms. Fitness Olympia for a fourth time, and Nicole Wilkins as Ms. Figure Olympia, bodybuilding's big men engaged in their muscle melee. Who would emerge as the man at the pinnacle of the sport?

2009 could have been labeled the year of the "Open-Door Opportunity." Pre-show predictions shuffled the Top 6 placings in all sorts of combinations, suggesting that any of the major contenders could take the top spot. The top spot came with a new price tag, as the winner would receive a record-breaking $200,000 -- the Olympia's highest purse to date.

The lineup was stacked, including the added challenge from the presence of physiques that were absent from last year's roster of competitors. Lots of pre-contest posturing, trash-talking an showboating meant that, as always, there were many scores to be settled and massive amounts of exciting action.

At 5'9", 270 lbs., two-time champ USA's Jay Cutler was crowned 2009 Mr. Olympia, unseating 2008's winner, USA's Dexter Jackson. This victory marked a record-breaking, legend-making moment, because Cutler becomes the first Mr. Olympia to ever lose the title and return to reclaim it.

Cutler defeated a field of 22 other competitors. In a surprising turn of events USA's Branch Warren, 5'7", 245 lbs., placed 2nd in the big show. Mr. Olympia 2008 Dexter Jackson, 5'6", 235 lbs., finished in 3rd place.

Last year, I coined the phrase "Aesthetic Bodybuilders Club" (ABC) as a reference to those whose shape closely resembles the ideal bodybuilder physique (an "X" frame with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, flaring quads and overall symmetrical, balanced musculature).

Cutler returned to redeem is loss to Jackson in 2008. Seemingly, the huge and ripped Jay of 2001 was a memory fans would just have to cherish until Cutler reappeared onstage this year. Much improved from last year, the new version was massive, well conditioned, and somewhat reminiscent of the old one that challenged Ronnie Coleman. Although fans of ABC bodybuilders were upset by the result, many fans in the audience applauded the return of mass monster...albeit a tighter one.

While proponents of the ABC physique questioned whether his structure or shape would ever be Sandow-worthy, mass lovers who root for the likes of Warren cheered when he stepped on stage big and cut-up. Warren was superbly ripped, and perhaps the judges felt his crispy conditioning simply could not be denied. Over the years, the self-proclaimed underdog won over fans with his no-nonsense, nose-to-the-grind view on training and competing.  

Jackson had successfully invaded Mass Monster's Land in 2008, winning the title on his ninth attempt. the first Mr. Olympia in 23 years to weigh less than 250 pounds since Lee Haney. Some industry watchers and fans assumed or hoped the moment indicated a shift back toward rewarding the ABC physique. After a decade on the Olympia stage, Jackson was attempting to be a repeat champion like many of his recent predecessors Consistently sharp with one the most impressive Most Muscular poses, Jackson had thorough off-season to train specifically for this contest to improve his sculpted package. He looked great; hence, the thunder of boos in the arena in response to his placing.

The rest of the Top 6 included: A favored showman, USA's Kai Greene fared well for his Olympia debut (4th). A highly favored young lion with promise and an incredible physique, USA's Phil Heath took two controversial steps from last year's 3rd place finish (5th). A fan favorite, USA's Victor Martinez was given somewhat of a gift with his placing, considering his physique lacked the "pop" he displayed in 2007 and the shape of some who finished below him (6th).

The remaining Top 15 included: 7th Germany's Ronny Rockel, 8th USA's Toney Freeman, 9th Japan's Hidetada Yamagishi, 10th New Zealand's Moe Elmoussaoui, 11th Spain's Silvio Samuel, 12th USA's Melvin Anthony, 13th Venezuela's Gustavo Badell, 14th Germany's Dennis James 15th Germany's Markus Ruhl. The remaining competitors included: USA's T roy Alves, Trinidad & Tobago's Darrem Charles, Lebanon's Ahmad Haidar, Greece's Michael Kefalianos, Sweden's Martin Kjellstrom, USA's Joel Stubbs, USA's Bill Wilmore, Russia's Dennis Wolf.


Making its debut on the Olympia main stage, the 202 Showdown gained a nod of respect, moving the portions of the event (including the posedown and awards) from the Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The big battle between pro bodybuilding's smaller men topped the inaugural version of the event last year.  

If the winning Mr. Olympia physique in the Open Division perpetually leans toward mass, will the future of the 202 Mr. Olympia lean toward shape, symmetry and classic lines?

Last year's runner-up, USA's Kevin English was crowned 2009's 202 Mr. Olympia, defeating 2008's winner, USA's David Henry, who took 2nd place. Brazil's Eduardo Correa landed in 3rd place.

English's crowning did not sit well with those in attendance, because, despite possessing a tiny waist, English failed to pull in his abdomen, resulting in a "bloated" appearance that became more evident standing next to Henry's chiseled abs. In fact, a few watchers felt a shredded, shapely and balanced Correa, in his Olympia debut should  have placed ahead of both Henry and English, or, at the very least, finish second to Henry's ripped mass.

The rest of the Top 15 included: USA's Mark Dugdale (4th, UK's James "Flex" Lewis (5th), USA's Jose Raymond (6th), USA's Richard "Tricky" Jackson (7th), USA's Jason Arntz (8th), UK's Lee Powell (9th), UK's John Hodgson (10th), USA's Charles Dixon (11th), USA's Kris Dim (12th), Belgium's Clarence DeVis (13th), USA's Stan McQuay (14th), USA's Gee, Daryl (15th).

Once again the world converged on Las Vegas, amped with anticipation that Olympia Weekend 2009 would be an event to remember. International press and bodybuilding fans had traveled many miles to witness the battle between the sport's current elite.


Among the crowd at the Meet the Olympians meet-and-greet event, I bumped into 23-year-old IFBB Pro Dan Hill, who shared with me the challenges of landing a sponsor despite his unique story as the youngest pro. "It's hard because I'm in Europe. A lot of the companies already have a 'young guy' on their team, so they can't pick me up," says Hill. "But I've been sending out my resumes and video reel and I plan to move to Los Angeles in the spring of next year."

I caught up with my buddy IFBB Pro Jason Arntz, who had come to attack the 202 Showdown with a new prep coach -- former Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. "Working with Yates has helped me leaps and bounds from my last competition. A little different approach, but I think I made some huge strides. My conditioning is a lot better. I'm a lot fuller with detail I haven't seen in a long time. I'm sharper with a little more maturity. He coached me with everything from about 10-12 weeks out and right up to my last-minute prep, checking me out every couple of hours."

While the comparison judging round and posing routines for the 202 Showdown were still held at the Olympia Expo, the news was the moving of the 202 Awards and the Top 6 posedown to the main Olympia stage, "It's a good thing," Arntz remarked. "It's more recognition for the athletes. As an athlete, you want to be on the Olympia stage. They took a big step this year, by allowing us to have the finale at the Night Show. Hopefully next year the whole contest will be held there. We're taking baby steps."

I also chatted with some of the guys who had major stories in bodybuilding news this year.

IFBB Pro Daryl Gee was riding a meteoric rise to the Olympia stage. "It's been a crazy whirlwind of a ride for me. I took Overall at LA Championships on July 18th. It was my return. I hadn't competed since '05 Nationals. A week later, I went to the USA's with momentum from that show, where I won the Middleweight Class and earned my pro card  A week later, I made my pro debut at the Jacksonville Pro. I took 2nd and qualified for the Olympia. I went from NPC amateur to Olympia-qualified pro in 2 weeks. I think I may be the first bodybuilder to do that."

Regarding the 202 Showdown, Gee said, "I think moving parts on the competition to the Finals is a step in the right direction and shows the popularity of the 202 Division with the exposure they're giving to it. Now they just need to up the prize money. There's big difference between the Open and the 202 prizes. But I'm just happy to be here, driven by adrenaline and excitement. I couldn't dream this any better."

IFBB Pro Troy Alves, who turned 43 years old over the Olympia Weekend, won his first pro contest this year. "After years of placing Top 5 in shows, I felt like I finally got my just due," Alves said. "I see myself competing for 2-3 more years, and that will be the end for me, but I want to be at a high level on the way out. My goal is to have three nutrition stores in the Arizona area and just enjoy life out of the limelight. I'm excited about my new DVD, which comes out in November. It's got a lot of energy and in-depth look into my personality. When I look at clips from it, I’m ready to go workout."


At the Olympia Expo, autographed physique photos of fitness celebs and bodybuilding pros. Olympians, sports stars and promotional models posed for pictures and, passed out products and paraphernalia.

For another year, the Las Vegas Convention Center was the gathering place for an international pack of muscle-heads, fitness models, and bodybuilding fans for a bonanza of shameless self-promotion and product giveaways. A slew of fitness and strength events were staged for the crowd's enjoyment. The highlights included a powerlifting challenge, strongman challenge, and bikini model search

IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson has been called "The World's Strongest Bodybuilder" and verified this by setting a record-breaking lift at a powerlifting meet in June. IFBB Pro Ben White had a problem with Jackson's claiming of this title and challenged him in the first "Duel in the Desert: World's Strongest Bodybuilder Lift Off." Jackson emerged victorious.

In addition to the stars of the bodybuilding world, celebs from other segments of the sports-entertainment industry made appearances, including wrestlers Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.


In closing, many expected the 2009 Olympia Weekend to be an exciting show -- with the anticipation surrounding in the Open Division, and the opportunity to see the quality physiques populating the 202 Division. The event delivered with controversies and triumphs, but the questions remain. Will another former Mr. O. come back and reclaim the title in the future? When will the 202 get full respect with nearly equal prize money?

Every competitor brought something different to the stage...some for better, others for worse. But that is what lends Olympia Weekend its thrill for fans of the sport. Opportunities for the athletes to shock, persevere, fall, dazzle, learn a lesson or become a legend.

This is bodybuilding's upper echelon. Names written in the history books of the Muscle Stage. The champions were chosen. For that night and for the year that follows, they rule...until challengers meet again to test them and the strength of their holds on their respective crowns.


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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