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ANDREW OYE'S IFBB PRO ATHLETES ROUNDUP: IFBB PRO LEAGUE BODYBUILDERS + MR. OLYMPIA CONTENDERS APPEAR ON ESPN2 'SPORTSNATION' TV SHOW

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

The Scoop: Recently Announced: Yesterday, IFBB Pro League athletes and Olympia contenders 2008 Mr. Olympia and 3-time Arnold Classic Champion IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, 2006 IFBB New York Pro Champion and 2008 Arnold Classic Runner-Up IFBB Pro Phil Heath, 2008 Olympia 4th place Runner-Up IFBB Pro Dennis Wolf, 2009 Olympia 4th place Runner-Up and 2-time Arnold Classic Champion IFBB Pro K. Greene, and 2010 IFBB New York Pro Runner-Up and 2001 JBBF Japan National Champion IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi were featured on the "SportsNation" TV show, which airs on the sports cable network ESPN2.

On the program, the IFBB Pro athletes promoted the "Super Bowl of Bodybuilding" -- the upcoming Mr. Olympia competition on September 25, 2010, in Las Vegas, where "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report" covers their battle against reigning 3-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Jay Cutler (who succeeded 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman in 2006. Coleman emerged as a champion after previous Mr. Olympia titleholders IFBB Pro Dorian Yates, IFBB Pro Lee Haney, IFBB Pro Samir Bannout, IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger, IFBB Pro Frank Zane, IFBB Pro Franco Columbu, IFBB Pro Sergio Oliva, IFBB Pro Larry Scott).

The "So What?": After 7-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized competitive physique sports through magazines, 8-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Lee Haney (who preceded 6-time Mr. Olympia IFBB Pro Dorian Yates) ushered bodybuilding through some TV coverage in the '80s. In the '90s, IFBB Pro Tom Terwilliger hosted "MuscleSport USA," a contest-coverage program, on FOX Sports Network, while ESPN aired profile series "ESPN American Muscle Magazine," bodybuilding-training series "FLEX Magazine Workout," and a slew of morning exercise-demo fitness shows like "BodyShaping" (with NPC Mr. Los Angeles Rick Valente and Kiana Tom), "Co-Ed Training" and "Fitness Beach." Yet, bodybuilding has not appeared on ESPN, or any other TV network, for several years. This week's televised appearance marks a rare spotlight on the sport of bodybuilding, making it visible to a broader audience of sports fans. "I'm very excited to represent the IFBB Pro League and its fans in something that hasn't been done in more than a decade," says Heath.

Andrew Oye's Verdict:
At the very least, perhaps TV coverage of the sport's most prestigious events like Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend and the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships is due, since both host expos featuring a multitude of sports from powerlifting and strongman to arm wrestling and MMA. As I reported in MUSCLE INK Magazine, the age-old debate of whether bodybuilding is a sport or a pageant resurfaces when it's a "big deal" that athletes appear on "The Worldwide Leader in Sports"...especially, in an age where sports networks regularly air poker tournaments and spelling bees.

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