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

The Scoop: Recently Reported: Retired IFBB Pro Gunter Schlierkamp held a fitness event at his newly opened fitness studio in Hermosa Beach, CA, covered by OK Magazine. The functional training facility is co-owned with his wife IFBB Fitness Pro Kim Lyons, a former trainer on NBC TV's "Biggest Loser" weight-loss challenge program and a contestant on "American Ninja Warrior" physical challenge. During a fun moment at the gym event, a group of fitness trainers attempted to hold back Schlierkamp with resistance bands -- sort of a reverse WSM World's Strongest Man "Truck Pull" -- only Schlierkamp was the truck in the tug-of-war.

The "So What?": In a recent podcast interview, Schlierkamp talked about his commercial and movie acting career, competitive bodybuilding days and fatherhood. The 6'2," nearly 300-pound 'German Giant' describes getting called in for a parent-teacher conference because his young son tells others his dad is a "superhero." About the awestruck reaction of Hulk-idolizing kids to his old bodybuilding pictures, Schlierkamp says, "I was huge. When I look at the images today, I can't believe how big I was, but...I had my time [in the bodybuilding spotlight], and it was time to move on."

As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," Gunter Schlierkamp retired at 36 years old, after filming his first comedic movie role (with retired IFBB Pro Ralf Moeller) and competing at the 2006 Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend. He spoke on his notoriety as the first bodybuilder to defeat legendary 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman in a post-Olympia contest at the 2002 Show of Strength Championships, following a 5th place finish at the 2002 Olympia, where he had to return to the stage to "calm the crowd down."

"The genetics he has, [Coleman] was dominating the sport for a long, long time, so that's why he was 8-time Mr. Olympia," Schlierkamp admits. "But if you run the 100-meter hurdles [race], if you run the fastest, you win. In bodybuilding -- it's almost like in boxing -- you have to knock [the champion] dead to win...Sometimes you feel the 'best' should win. If you can clearly see that somebody is not in his best condition and somebody else is, how can you deny that 7000 people are on their feet, screaming, yelling and booing so loud that you have to calm them down?...I was kind of tearing up a little. It was very emotional." He recalls being a fan favorite who always smiled even on the competitive stage, visualizing the final winning moment and feeling the overwhelming crowd reaction affirm that vision, concluding, "It's incredible. That's the moment you live for, and nobody can take that away."

Andrew Oye's Verdict: In 2010, I reported that Gunter Schlierkamp considered a pro bodybuilding comeback. In the recent interview, the 1993 Mr. Universe, who placed 4th at the Arnold Sports Festival's 2004 Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Championships, remembered how 7-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger came back stage to give him some encouragement after his 4th place finish at the 2005 Olympia, where Schlierkamp says he never got a chance to be compared with all of top-placing contenders (Coleman, IFBB Pro Jay Cutler, IFBB Pro Gustavo Badell). Among the IFBB Pro League athletes of his era, I would have guessed Schlierkamp had the best chance of following in the Hollywood footsteps of Schwarzenegger, who he praises as extremely smart. But that level of fame is a long shot. Schlierkamp has acquired a few roles, including one as an MMA fighter in a 2009 action film that starred UFC fighters Georges St-Pierre, B.J. Penn, Anderson Silva, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, and Heath Herring. Athletes in the current IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series circuit with acting ambitions could learn about charisma from both Schlierkamp and Schwarzenegger.

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