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2009 Olympia Weekend Pre-Game Analysis

Posted in: Gossip, Articles by ProSource, Andrew Oye's Pro Muscle Report
By Andrew Oye | Sep 10, 2009



The 2009 Olympia Weekend is quickly approaching. Driving this torpedo of competitive pro-bodybuilding is a strange excitement. Strange, because, for the first time in a long time, many fans and pundits are saying that the Big "O" could stand for more than just could stand for "Open-Door Opportunity."

Traditionally, when predictions for the "Super Bowl of Bodybuilding" begin to pepper conversations and online chat rooms, the incumbent champ's name automatically tops every prognosticator's similar rundown of the Top 6.  

In other words, in most people's minds, the dude who won last year will win again the following year. And, for the most part, the same dudes who placed in 2nd and 3rd place will finish close to those spots again. And so on and so on.  

This sort of "deja vu" pre-game analysis is largely due to the extended reigns of yesteryear's Mr. Olympia titleholders. The winning streak phenomenon kicked off with Arnold Schwarzenegger (1970 - 75 & 1980) and resumed with the reigns of Lee Haney (1984 - 1991), Dorian Yates (1992 - 1997), and Ronnie Coleman (1998-2005).

However, this year, the same automatic respect or pass (depending on how you look at it) is not being given to 2008 Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson. Jackson's victory was widely celebrated by fans and industry watchers, supposedly ushering in a new (old) era - a return to an era where the Aesthetic Athlete trumps the Mass Monster. Ironically, as the one to break the back-to-back winning pattern that 2-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler seemingly would continue, Jackson may have set a new trend that doesn't allow him to "benefit" from the previous one.

Also, where was the sport-shifting change that was supposed to accompany a brand new champ's reign? The worldwide acceptance of bodybuilding? The non-bodybuilding-related endorsements? The sit-down interviews on daytime and late-night talk shows? Or were those just our lofty wishes for the sport's highest-ranking spokesman? (Wishes that spring up with each new Mr. "O.")

At least for now, the crowning of a repeat champion no longer seems inevitable. So the dude who won last year is entering the Big "O" with folks shuffling the Top 6 placings like a deck of cars and "giving away" his spot to other dudes like a bus seat.   

The names being tossed no particular order...or, rather, in every possible order...include Dexter Jackson, Kai Greene, Victor Martinez, Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, Toney Freeman and Dennis Wolf. Predictions from various sources use the aforementioned names interchangeably, suggesting that the title is up for grabs based on a number of "If...Then..." scenarios.

If Jackson can wow the judges with a notable improvement on a consistent physique, then he might hold on to his crown. If 2009 Arnold Classic winner Greene shows up in similar condition, then he'll be tough to beat in his Olympia debut. If Martinez trades a little size for more packed density, as sources say he intends to do, then perhaps he can regain his footing near the top of the pack. If Heath doesn't allow his giant arms to overpower his torso, he might snag a title for the young generation. If Cutler can magically recreate his best condition, circa 2001, then he may be able to redeem himself and shut up naysayers. If Freeman or Wolf can show a tall filled-out X-frame that resembles a bodybuilding trophy, then maybe they'll get one.

Essentially, the Top lineup could be a tossup that is also impacted by question-mark factors, such as Jackson's thorough off-season to improve, Greene's avant garde persona versus the traditional Mr. O. mold, Martinez's quad issues and post-family-tragedy mind state, Heath's readiness, Cutler's shape and ability to rebound, Freeman's repaired pec tear, and Wolf's need for more back and leg muscle.

The other forecasted Top 10-15 contenders - confident Melvin Anthony, big Branch Warren, shapely Silvio Samuel, improved Moe El Moussawi, aesthetic Troy Alves, persistent Ronny Rockel, menacing Dennis James, and gigantic Markus Ruhl - should keep one eye aimed at some of the other eager eagles who have also qualified and might show up for the Big Show - Martin Kjellstrom, Hidetada Yamagishi, Fouad Abiad, Ben Pakulski, Joel Stubbs, Bill Wilmore and Evan Centopani.

Does the full-fledged incorporation of the separate Under 202 Division mean shape and symmetry are non-issues in the Open Division? A bastion for mass monsters irrespective of aesthetics?

If so, the more compact contenders in the 202 Showdown are grateful for their even playing field. For the first time, the Olympia 202 Showdown has been added to the main stage at Orleans Arena, an upgrade from its previous location at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2008 Olympia Expo.

The reigning Under 202 Mr. Olympia David Henry is favored, but he can expect a good fight from top contenders like Kevin English with his tiny waist and unfettered self-assurance. Tried-and-true Tricky Jackson with his stage presence and new size is one to watch, as is rookie pro Daryl Gee with his shape and current PR momentum for being an out-of-nowhere rising star.

Returning to the Olympia 202 Showdown, Jason Arntz, with Dorian Yates' prep advice, and Charles Dixon, with his super-thick mass, will be battling for placings, alongside first-timer Eduardo Correa with his newly added mass, nice-guy Mark Dugdale and back-on-the-scene Stan McQuay.

In closing, many expect the 2009 Olympia Weekend to be an exciting show - with the anticipation surrounding the "Open-Door Opportunity" in the Open Division, and the opportunity to see the quality physiques populating the 202 Division.

Every competitor is bringing something different to the stage. Some have history, hope or help on their sides. They have a past win, a prayer or a pro trainer. But anything can happen. When the dust settles, we'll see who takes advantage of the opportunity and walks out the door with a Sandow trophy.


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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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