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The Item: Career Updates, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: It was recently announced that retired IFBB Pro Gunter Schlierkamp is considering a return to the competitive bodybuilding stage. With a contest weight of 280 lbs. and an off-season weight of 300+ lbs., the 6'2" German beast competed for about 16 years. Schlierkamp, featured in my MUSCLE INK Magazine article on athletes-turned-actors, left the bodybuilding stage in 2006 for the Hollywood movie set (where he even perfected MMA fighting techniques for a role) and now wants to get back in the game. In a recent radio interview, 40-year-old Schlierkamp dismissed notions that age should hinder a comeback, saying: "I feel like I'm 30. I was down to 260, and I've already put back on about 25 pounds and things are starting to look pretty good."

The "So What?": In the past, the California resident and actor competed in the Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend Mr. Olympia contest nine times (during the dominant reign of 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman); in the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships four times; and at the Night of Champions (now known as the IFBB New Pro Bodybuilding Championships) four times. As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," Gunter Schlierkamp earned his IFBB Pro card and the "Mr Universe" title by winning the Heavyweight Division at the 1993 IFBB World Championships.

Schlierkamp's highest placing in a professional bodybuilding contest was his 1st place victory at the 2002 Show of Strength Pro Bodybuilding Championships in new Orleans, LA. Schlierkamp, who still does fitness-related guest appearances and seminars, says he hopes to hit the stage again by the end of 2010 and to receive an invitation to compete at the 2011 Arnold Classic. "If I didn't think that I could come back and look as good as I was or even better, then I wouldn't even think about it," he says.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: Nicknamed "The German Giant," Gunter Schlierkamp is a big man with a big movie-star grin and a big fan base, but it will be interesting to see how his refurbished physique fares against the new era's caliber of IFBB Pro League athletes that have ruled the sport since his absence. His days of battling the likes of IFBB Pro Dorian Yates, IFBB Pro Vince Taylor, IFBB Pro Shawn Ray, IFBB Pro Kevin Levrone, IFBB Pro Paul Dillet, IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell, IFBB Pro Markus Ruhl, IFBB Pro Mike Francois, IFBB Pro Melvin Anthony, IFBB Pro Chris Cormier, IFBB Pro Dennis James and Ron Coleman led to latter years when Schlierkamp started taking on IFBB Pro Toney Freeman, IFBB Pro Victor Martinez, IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, IFBB Pro Ronny Rockel and IFBB Pro Branch Warren. But the recent onslaught of physiques like IFBB Pro Phil Heath, IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf, IFBB Pro Roelly Winklaar, IFBB Pro Ed Nunn, IFBB Pro Evan Centopani, IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski, IFBB Pro Cedric McMillan and IFBB Pro Shawn Rhoden have created a different landscape the giant's footsteps have yet to tread upon.

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