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

The Scoop: Recently Reported: IFBB Pro League athletes had career updates or made recent guest appearances at various sports, bodybuilding, physique and fitness events. The latest "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report" Pro Athletes Roundup includes a 2-time 2nd place Olympia Runner-up and a 202 Class contender.

The "So What?": IFBB Hal of Fame member and retired IFBB Pro Shawn Ray joins a new sports nutrition brand as a Chief Consultant and Strategist in the areas of marketing and promotions related to bodybuilding and its athletes, both professional and amateur, creating opportunities for charity events, as well as muscle camps, pro bodybuilding competition, and sponsorship opportunities. Ray says, "My time on the contest stage and behind the scenes in the sport of bodybuilding has prepared me for an opportunity such as this, where I can continue to help others grow..."

Over the weekend, it was overheard at the LA Bodybuilding Championships that retired IFBB Pro Chris Cormier might return to the competitive bodybuilding stage, with his sights set on the 2009 Ironman Pro Invitational in January. Cormier last competed at the 2007 IFBB Atlantic City Pro Bodybuilding Championships (won by IFBB Pro Johnnie Jackson) where he took 6th place. The 42-year-old, who overcame a severe back injury, is now training with pro trainer IFBB Pro Charles Glass at Gold's Gym in Venice and has supposedly secured a supplement-company sponsorship contract.

Speaking of dudes named Charles, 202 Division competitor IFBB Pro Charles Dixon recently signed a sport-nutrition endorsement deal. Dixon earned his IFBB Pro card by winning the in the Light-Heavyweight Class at the 2007 NPC National Bodybuilding Championships (where IFBB Pro Evan Centopani won the Overall title). As a pro, he now tears it up in the 202 & Under Division, which, as he told me when I interviewed him at the Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend last year, is more of a fair fight for competitive bodybuilders like him.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: Shawn Ray retired from competitive bodybuilding in 2001 after a storied 13-year career, including 12 consecutive years as a Top 5 finalist in the Mr. Olympia -- 2 of those were 2nd place finishes (behind IFBB Pro Dorian Yates). Chris Cormier had the goods to place higher than he sometimes did. In the face of age and injury, can he resurrect those goods? With a whopping six 2nd place finishes at the Arnold Sports Festival's IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, Cormier predicts that he will tie retired IFBB Pro Flex Wheeler's record of five Ironman Pro victories. If this news sounds familiar, it's because in May of last year, I reported about a similar "Cormier comeback claim" that, apparently, did not materialize.

As companies sign more 202 Division athletes, it will be interesting to see whether they start marketing products with messages aimed at customers who aspire to reach that size and not just those who long to be like the "super-massives" of the sport.

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